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.

See Also: Hands-on – The New and Improved StarVR Prototype Will Give You Field-of-View Envy

“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.

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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.

starvr-headset-e3-2016-starbreeze-5-caption

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.

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  • Hexx

    “The StarVR headset has a monstrous combined resolution of 5120×1440 formed from dual 2160×1200 resolution displays in a canted arrangement”

    These numbers don’t add up

    • Actually, it does. The first number given is always the width when talking about computer graphics and the second is the height. They are two screens placed side by side, not stacked. If you set two boxes next to each other, the area of both boxes isn’t higher than it was before, it’s just wider. Therefore, the width is doubled, not the height.

      • realtrisk

        He’s referring to the fact that two screens with 1200 pixel vertical resolution don’t add up to a combined 1440 pixel vertical resolution.

      • Rob H

        2160 * 2 = 4320 and 1200 != 1440 so exactly which number ‘actually does’? Maybe try basic addition next time before defending something that’s clearly wrong.

        • Why so aggressive? If it had been clear to me i would not have said anything.

          • Rob H

            Guess I just got wound up by idiots that try to correct something that isn’t wrong because they can’t do basic mathematics. Not only was your post wrong, you obviously don’t have a clue what you’re even on about so why bother?

          • Or maybe I misread the op, was having an off day or what have you. The insulting tone is unnecessary.

          • Rob H

            Unnecessary? So is trying to correct something that isn’t wrong

    • brandon9271

      Definitely a math error but even if they did add up the only resolution anybody cares about is the per eye res so telling us the total is completely pointless when your brain merges the two images together. I’m pretty sure he meant two 2560 x 1440 (WQHD) screens.

  • JustNiz

    Disappointing that they aren’t going to make a consumer/prosumer verison.

    • Scal

      I can’t imagine the montrous GPU you’d need to run that thing @75+ fps

      • The cards will be probably be released next year under the codenames: Brokenow and F*ckmywallet by AMD and Nvidia respectively.

      • kontis

        There are several solutions:

        1. They did great research in high resolution rendering that makes even Xbox One almost 2x more efficient. Google: 4K Rendering Breakthrough: The Filtered and Culled Visibility Buffer

        2. With such a large FOV half of it cannot be directly seen by the fovea (sharp vision) region of the eye, because eyeballs cannot rotate that far. It’s possible to extensively use fixed foveated rendering (no eye tracking needed) that for example Source 2 already supports. The outer parts could be blurred pretty heavily all the time and the user should not be aware of that. They will probably render 4 views (2 per eye).

        3. Nvidia has some great improvements in Maxwell and even better in Pascal for multi resolution and multi projection.

        4. Good eye tracking on top of these methods would probably make it playable even with mid range GPUs.

        • brandon9271

          ^Exactly! A lot has happened with realtime rendering in preparation of this type thing. The multi-projection thing is a very big deal combine that with foveated rendering and like you said, such high resolutions wont be an issue. Exciting times ahead for VR and real-time graphics :)

  • I do wonder though, how these are going to be presented to moviegoers. I pay an extra $2 when i walk into the theater for a cheap pair of throw-away glasses. How much extra would i pay for a VR headset of that caliber? They wouldn’t want people to take them home (considering they don’t want people to take the cheap ones as it is), so are they going to become part of the seating itself?

    • Demongo

      I think a bigger issue is if you are going to sit on a seat in a cinema with a fully immersive VR headset on… What’s the point of being in a cinema at all?

      It’s also gonna kill drink, popcorn, sweets and hotdog sales, which I thought were pretty much the only things cinemas made money on anyway.

  • WhiteSkyMage

    If it is not for consumers, then HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?! Im probably gonna run it if i get 2 GTX 1080s.

  • sfmike

    Fresnel Lens are a deal breaker for me. No god rays PLEASE.