Starbreeze, Acer and the StarVR team are celebrating a milestone this week as the very first headsets, sporting a unique 210 degree field of view, have rolled off the production line and are winging their way to IMAX, who’ll be using them to wow customers with new immersive content to be shown at IMAX venues.
We wrote recently about Starbreeze’s plans to supply their high-spec, high-FOV virtual reality headset the StarVR, to IMAX – a company reknowned for premium movie watching experiences – as part of a new on-premise entertainment collaboration.
Now, the company have announced that the headset which began life as bedroom enthusiast project InfinitEye, has finally reached mass production as StarVR and begun shipping to IMAX.
“With this shipment to as important a player in the entertainment industry as IMAX, we are absolutely thrilled that we are well on our way in bringing the virtual reality experience to the next level and to the world” said Jason Chen, President and CEO at Acer. “The realization of the most premium VR experience ever offered isn’t just our dream, but one of an entire ecosystem that encompasses hardware makers, videogame developers, theater companies, filmmakers and many others.”
Starbreeze announced their partnership with Acer, who invested $9 Million to help manufacture the new headset. Speaking to Road to VR’s Ben Lang recently, Starbreeze CTO Emmanuel Marquez, who told us a little more about the firms tracking plans for the StarVR headset going forward – including the possibility of Roomscale Tracking, Eye-tracking and more – although it’s not clear which solution made it into units on these first manufactured units.
The StarVR headset has a monstrous combined resolution of 5120×1440 formed from dual 2160×1200 resolution displays in a canted arrangement, in front of which sit 2 sizeable, custom Fresnel lenses. Starbreeze claim the custom optics allow a “great image quality across the eye’s natural vision”.
All of this allows the StarVR to deliver an impressive 210 degree horizontal field of view. For reference the consumer editions of the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are closer to 100 degrees. In theory, this means the headsets much more closely match the human eye’s natural FOV. Of course, these impressive raw specs don’t automatically equal more or better immersion, but having tried the StarVR at E3 last year, the headset’s panoramic is a sight to behold.
As for IMAX’s planned use for the headset, the device will play host to a new suite of immersive entertainment developed by them and in conjunction with Starbreeze. John Wick VR will grace the platform as will a collection of new, immersive 360 VR films – presumably filmed on IMAX’s recently announced Google Jump compliant custom camera rig.
Just don’t hold your breath for a consumer StarVR any time soon. When asked about the possibility of bringing StarVR into the homes of enthusiasts, Starbreeze Emmanuel Marquez said “for the moment we play pretty firmly in the location-based and enterprise market,” adding that the company has no plans at this time to make StarVR into a consumer headset.