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OSVR releasing upgraded VR headset development kit in October

OSVR, the Razer-backed virtual reality software platform, will be shipping a new iteration of its "hacker development kit" headset next month. Today, the group announced HDK 1.3, which is supposed to upgrade the headset's optics and display. Preorders will start on October 1st, and orders will start shipping at some point later in the month.

The previous OSVR model currently sells for $299, with previous versions selling for $199. This is an incremental upgrade, so the price for HDK 1.3 is holding steady at $299. The OSVR development kit, which was first announced at CES in January, isn't competing with major high-end headsets like the Vive or the finished Oculus Rift. It's more equivalent to the Rift's earlier models, a relatively cheap system for enthusiasts to test games and peripherals. Initially, it shipped without important features like positional tracking, but that's since come to the system.

OSVR's standard is supposed to ensure better support across VR hardware and software, and over 200 partners have signed on; many are small indie game studios and VR peripheral makers, but the list also includes Ubisoft, Unity, and motion controller company Leap Motion, which previously announced a hand-tracking faceplate for OSVR's development kit (although it's still listed as "coming soon" on the OSVR store). The number of supporters has seemed mostly academic so far, but the group has also announced that it will start showcasing OSVR-compatible games and video on its site.

The HDK isn't a substitute for consumer-ready headsets, but it will still have a few months' lead time on them. The consumer Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus are both expected to ship in the first half of 2016, and while Valve and HTC's Vive headset is supposed to come out by the end of this year, it apparently won't see wide release until 2016 either.

Update September 4th, 8:00AM ET: Added pricing.