HP today announced it is building a new VR headset, called Reverb G2, in collaboration with Valve and Microsoft.
There’s very little to go on, as the only thing available right now is a single teaser video. Here it is, in all its ambiguous glory:
HP also left us with this statement, which may give us at least one clue as to what we’re seeing here:
“Through this collaboration, Valve, Microsoft and HP are bringing a more immersive, comfortable and compatible VR experience,” an HP spokesperson told Road to VR.
Healthy speculation: by the looks of it, the Reverb G2 may make use of Microsoft’s Windows MR optical inside-out tracking, which is available on a host of Windows MR headsets dating back to the first generation of devices in 2017, including the original HP Reverb.
Launched just last summer and aimed at enterprise users, the HP Reverb was an impressive piece of kit despite the compromises on its generally tepid Windows tracking quality and aging WMR controllers. It includes 2,160 × 2,160 per-display resolution, which is a big step up over the next highest resolution headsets in the same class—the Valve Index, showcasing a resolution of 1,440 × 1,600 per display, and HTC Vive Pro’s dual 1,440 × 1,600 AMOLEDs, making the OG Reverb an impressively pixel-dense headset.
The “more compatible” part of the statement however might just point to the inclusion of SteamVR tracking as a secondary standard, embedded within the headset’s exterior. Windows MR headsets are already compatible with SteamVR by default, and their controllers have a standard input layout, so making it “more compatible” from a software perspective seems like a moot point.
Here’s a better look, brightened for clarity.
If it includes SteamVR tracking, where are the dimples then? Although HTC Vive and more recently Vive Cosmos Elite contain characteristically dimpled faceplates for SteamVR tracking, Valve’s Index has them invisibly embedded, so there’s no telling what lurks underneath that front portion of the headset.
Another bit of speculation: the headset’s integrated audio looks strikingly similar to Valve Index’s, which might suggest an off-ear headphone design. Should that be the case, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they’ve also borrowed some of Valve’s optics as well.
What definitely isn’t clear is whether Reverb G2 will come with the aging Windows MR controllers, or whether that reveal will come later with a prospective Windows MR/SteamVR tracking combo. We’ll have our eyes peeled for more info on Reverb G2, which symbolizes Valve’s first headset collab outside of the original HTC Vive from 2016.
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Is HP pushing out another enterprise headset, or heading HTC off at the pass with an impressively speced headset which could potentially trump the Vive Cosmos’ modularity? We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled in the coming weeks for more info on Reverb G2, so make sure to check back soon.