Hands-on with Razer's CES 2015 lineup

Razer is diving into VR and microconsoles with this year's CES lineup. Shacknews got to check some of it out during this week's show.

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Razer brought a number of new toys to this year's International Consumer Electronics Show. While some of the products focused on Razer's wheelhouse of desktop and laptop gaming, the company also brought along a few surprises. Shacknews walked through the Razer booth at this year's CES and took a look at some of the notable new items.

The OSVR Hacker Dev Kit

Yes, Razer is throwing its hat into the virtual reality ring by helping design a whole new headset. Like the Oculus Rift, the OSVR is expected to deliver an immersive VR experience. However, the OSVR is also expected to be completely open source, making it an attractive prospect for developers.

I tried out an early version of the headset for myself on the show floor. Unfortunately, I found myself a little disappointed, especially given the advancements that Oculus has made with Crescent Bay. The OSVR is able to dip you into a virtual reality world and tracks full 360 degree movement. However, the imagery placed in front of me wasn't totally clear and there were also several instances of lag when tracking my hand motions. The OSVR headset has potential, but in terms of quality, it appears to be significantly behind its Oculus competitor.

Of course, if these kinks can get worked out, there may be something worthwhile here. The headset is set to include a number of device plug-ins to make it a friendly option for developers, with Unity and Unreal Engine support set to come soon. They already have the backing of several big-name developers, including Sixense and Gearbox, with others set to join them soon. The OSVR dev kit is set to release in June at a $199.99 price point.

But even if the headset itself doesn't strike a chord, the OSVR source code itself looks to be a pretty big deal. For more, check out the trailer above.

Forge TV and Serval

Set-top boxes and microconsoles are beginning to crowd the market and now Razer is the latest to enter the arena. Their Forge TV also a similarly affordable Android-powered microconsole at a $99 price point. Because it's built on the Android interface, it'll have full access to the Google marketplace, as well as the ability to stream media through Google Cast. And on top of everything, it'll be able to stream games from your PC library.

Forge TV can be navigated through an Android-powered smartphone, but it will also support the new Serval controller. The Bluetooth wireless controller is designed similarly to an Xbox 360 controller and feels about as comfortable. The Forge TV will support four of these controllers for local multiplayer games, as well as games streamed remotely from your PC through Razer Cortex: Stream. Games will stream to your television, similarly to the Nvidia Shield, and will adjust the game's resolution depending on your internet connection.

The Forge TV is small enough to store anywhere, coming in at about the size of an Apple TV. It's also a powerful piece of hardware, packing in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset, a Quad-core Krait CPU 450, 2GM RAM, and 16GB of storage. Even after factoring in the $39 for the Razer Cortex: Stream software, Forget TV still works as a fairly cost-effective way to get PC gaming into the living room.

Razer Turret

One more piece of the Forge TV puzzle is a keyboard and mouse, so Razer also unveiled the Razer Turret. This is a keyboard and mouse that stacks together vertical for easy living room access.

The keyboard includes a magnetic mat to accompany your mouse. The mouse is a competitive piece of work with a 3500 DPI sensor, while the keyboard has full anti-ghosting for up to ten simultaneous keystrokes, as well as dedicated Android buttons and a button to activate the Razer Cortex: Stream feature. The Razer Turret contains some passable entry-level peripherals for those looking to complete their living room PC gaming setup. However, more dedicated PC users may opt to stick with their more advanced peripherals.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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