Payday 2 developer unveils 5K headset StarVR at E3 2015
It’s safe to say that 2016 will be the year that virtual reality breaks through into the mainstream. Valve and HTC’s SteamVR headset Vive will arrive at the end of this year, with VR poster boy Oculus Rift landing at the beginning of next. But an unlikely competitor has thrown its hat into the ring at E3 2015, which kicks off today.
StarVR comes from Starbreeze Studios, the minds behind Payday 2 and the Chronicles of Riddick series, after its acquisition of VR manufacturer InfinitiEye. According to Starbreeze the acquisition means that “InfinitiEye’s hardware expertise and capabilities are combined with Starbreeze game and entertainment software development skills”. Starbreeze aims “to become one of the first VR publishers parallel to being the go-to catalyst for publishing titles on the Steam platform”.
While Starbreeze’s aims are humble, StarVR is anything but. If SteamVR was the Mercedes-Benz to Oculus’ Ford, then StarVR is a bright orange Lamborghini revving its engine. Star VR features a 5K display split across two 5.5in Quad HD panels – one for each eye – and a mammoth 210-degree horizontal and 130-degree vertical field of view (FOV). For comparison, Oculus Rift offers a horizontal FOV of 180 degrees on a 2,160 x 1,200 display. And StarVR’s angular looks aren’t there for style alone: Starbreeze claims the angled screens help to maximise lens performance and create full immersion.
StarVR features accurate position tracking thanks to gyroscopes, accelerometers and magnetometers paired with an undisclosed optical-tracking system. Interestingly, Starbreeze also claims that “additional objects can be tracked by adding markers to them,” suggesting that unique controllers or game-specific objects could be added in to create a deeper sense of immersion.
This jump aboard the VR bandwagon didn’t come from nowhere: InfinitiEye has been working on a HD VR headset since June 2011. It’s only now, with an acquisition by Starbreeze, that VR development has taken off.
“Our StarVR aims at bringing the next-generation entertainment experiences to reality”, said Bo Andersson Klint, CEO of Starbreeze in a statement on the StarVR website. “By immersing ourselves into the VR field, we aim to learn fast, position Starbreeze for the future and allow people to enter into new worlds.”
Starbreeze will be showing off StarVR at E3 2015 this week with a The Walking Dead VR experience, so expect to hear more about what the technology can actually do over the coming days. For now, though, you can add this beast of a VR headset to your ever-growing list of must-have tech.
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