If you would like to delve into breathtaking VR worlds that your eyes literally cannot tell apart from reality, the Varjo VR-1 isn’t for you; it’s strictly a business device, and you’ll need a business or academic establishment tax ID to purchase one. That’s not to say that there aren’t other ways that this headset is clearly aimed at the enterprise market.
For starters, the princely €5,995 for the headset isn’t all you’ll pay if you want to buy one. There’s a mandatory “customer success license”, which costs €995 and includes support, licenses for tech used in the headset, a warranty and more. The Varjo VR-1 is going to be hitting 34 countries throughout North America and Europe, as well as Hong Kong. Sales are set to begin immediately.
The Varjo VR-1’s incredible resolution, an eye-popping 60 pixels per degree in all directions. To put that in perspective, it’s about five times the resolution of the first-gen consumer HTC VIVE. Naturally, eye tracking tech is on board. In this case, the eye tracking is accurate enough to work on a scale smaller than a single degree. The Varjo VR-1 is fully compatible with SteamVR, so you can use it with any SteamVR-compatible base stations and controllers.
That SteamVR compatibility is going to save companies that buy the headset a lot of money, because the massively expensive package doesn’t include room-scale base stations or controllers. You get the headset, a link box, a power supply, 3 power cables, standard and large face masks, a cleaning cloth, and some requisite cables.
Specifically, you’ll receive a USB Type-C cable, two DisplayPort cables, and a USB Type-A cable. HDMI is notably absent, and rightly so – Thunderbolt 3, driven through USB Type-C, is a much faster standard commonly used for all sorts of data transmission applications, including running desktop graphics cards on laptops.
Beyond the physical goods, the customer success license included with your purchase will net you a one-year limited warranty for the device, a commercial license for the proprietary eye tracking software on board, free return and replacement services, and finally, a guaranteed turnaround time of one business day or less for all service requests.
An optional €1,995 purchase on top of all of that will add an on-site tech support and training day with one of Varjo’s specialists, wherein they will come to your business and set everything up, then show you how to use it all. That includes physical setup, getting it working with whatever software your company uses, and showing onsite users how it all works.
The Varjo VR-1 is compatible with a vast range of professional-grade software, since it’s made primarily for design, planning, and running training simulations. Autodesk, Unreal Engine, Unity, VRED, ZeroLight, and more. Naturally, since it’s compatible with SteamVR, you can also map controller functions to in-app functions for just about any app you may use, and you can of course use the headset to both develop and test VR content like games and experiences.
VR enthusiasts and gamers who have been reading this with downcast eyes and wishing for a non-business version are bound to get their wish soon. The fact that Varjo managed to develop a headset with human-eye resolution and sub-degree eye tracking means that it’s not only feasible with current technology, a precedent has been set. While many of Varjo’s methods and technologies are proprietary, it’s only a matter of time until somebody figures out how to do the same thing, or at least something functionally similar, in a consumer-facing device.
First place we publicly show #Varjo VR-1 after the launch is naturally at @GSMA Mobile World Congress #MWC19. Come and see the product that redefines the professional #VR market at the @BusinessFinland booth and learn more from https://t.co/zKkz82CRNU pic.twitter.com/GDzjUKEei9
— Jussi Mäkinen (@luovanto) February 22, 2019