Things have been shaping up nicely lately to heighten the presence of virtual reality to make it a universal phenomenon. There have been quite a few encouraging developments in this field and now the computer and game peripheral maker Razer has joined hands with VR firm Sensics to develop and promote “the Open-Source Virtual Reality ecosystems” or OSVR ecosystems.
Still, in the development stage, Razer will release its OSVR Hacker Dev Kit in June this year with a $200 price tag. Razer will offer both the software and hardware open-source so that the gamers or programmers can download schematics and build their own VR ecosystem.
OSVR will support Unity 3D, Unreal Engine and device plug-ins from the leading hardware makers – Bosch, Sixense, and LeapMotion respectively. Moreover, this has been designed to even work with rival VR devices such as Oculus Rift dev kit and Vrvana’s Totem. This newly launched Razer Forge TV microconsole will also provide a platform to play Android games and stream PC games for $99.99.
There are a few micro-consoles present in the market already, which are based on Android OS and this new console from Razer is expected to get stiff competition from them. With the help of Razer Forge TV, users would be able to play Android games downloaded from the Google Play store on a TV. The interesting thing is that up to three players can play the games simultaneously and there would be streaming options, which can be used to move PC titles via Razer Cortex game-launching software. The streaming functionality, which will be available with the beta version, will also work with other games that will be made by using Direct X9.
These developments should look exciting from a gamer’s point of view now, but there’s still a long way to go! While there have been various kinds of gaming tablets and high-end smartphones already on the market – in addition to Android based gaming consoles -but all this stuff has not been able to collect much attention of gamers. Thus, it would be interesting to see how this new micro-console will fare. If this trend really takes off, it would open up new avenues for mobile and casual gamers, as they might shift to joystick controllers. It would be possible for them to leave behind touch-screen controls if more of such controls (primarily based around joystick) would be developed in the future.
In practicality, both joystick-based and touch screen-based controls have become a necessity. As a gamer, you would need a joystick to enjoy and play games like Street Fighter thoroughly; while games like Angry Birds are the more suited to a touch screen. One obvious fact there is that gameplay on Android and iOS based game titles are quite different as compared to modern day console games and PC based MMOGs.
To ensure a rewarding transition from touch controls to the traditional joystick, developers will have to rely on extensive testing of the micro-consoles on games, based on different genres. Ultimately, the aim of testers and developers would be to provide easy control for the gamers.
With existing Amazon Fire TV, upcoming Android TV, the market gets one more name, Forge TV (Smart TV) which will be launched in the quarter of this year and expected to come with a $100 price tag. It would cost $150, bundled with Razer’s Serval controller. A gamer will have to spend $80 each to buy additional Servals.
Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd