HP are teasing a new SteamVR headset for Half-Life: Alyx
The Reverb G2 is coming.
HP have given us a sneak peak of their next-gen virtual reality headset in a new teaser video - just in time for the launch of Half-Life: Alyx. Called the Reverb G2, this new headset promises "no compromise" and aims to deliver "a more immersive, comfortable and compatible experience" than HP's 1st-gen Reverb headset. HP are also calling it "the new standard in VR", suggesting it might even be looking to take on the Valve Index as the new king of VR gaming headsets. Have a watch of their teaser video below.
As you can see from HP's short teaser trailer, there's really not a lot to go on at the moment in terms of what it looks like, or what its specs will be, as the 15 second clip only shows us the teeniest glimpse of the headset's vague shape and outline. However, the additional blurb over on HP's website, where you can currently sign up for more notifications about the headset, does give us some interesting clues about what we might be able to expect.
You may recall that the original HP Reverb was a Windows Mixed Reality headset. It had quite a high spec compared to other WMR headsets out there - and, indeed, compared to other 1st-gen VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Its display had a sharp 2160x2160 per-eye resolution, a wide 114 degree field of view, integrated spatial audio headphones, and dual microphones, putting right at the upper end of its WMR rivals.
The Reverb G2, on the other hand, is going to be fully compatible with SteamVR, implying that it won't be a WMR headset, but rather a proper contender to other high-end PC-based VR headsets you can buy today such as the HTC Vive Cosmos and Oculus Rift S. Indeed, while you can technically run SteamVR games on the old Reverb with the help of Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR app, Valve's involvement in the making of this headset makes it sounds like you won't need to go through Microsoft's Windows Store to get the Reverb G2 working with your SteamVR library - especially given HP's teaser text on their website emphasises that it's going to provide a "more compatible" experience than its predecessor.
However, given the current HP Reverb costs £599 / $599 at time of writing, the Reverb G2 could end up being quite expensive compared to its Vive and Rift rivals. As I said, it's currently unknown what the Reverb G2's specs are going to be, but if HP are saying it's going to be even "more immersive and comfortable" than their old headset, then you can probably assume it would have even better specs than the current one. This could result in quite the price bump over the current Reverb, putting it more in Vive Cosmos Elite or Valve Index territory than, say, the £399 / $399 Rift S.
Still, more competition in the VR headset arena can only be a good thing in the long run, and I'll be intrigued to see how it compares with its PC rivals once HP reveal more information about it. In the mean time, you can find out everything about Half-Life: Alyx's PC requirements to get your PC ready for Valve's excellent new VR game (so says Graham in his Half-Life: Alyx review), and while you're here, why not have a browse of my Half-Life: Alyx VR performance article to see what kind of experience you can expect by playing on the game's minimum PC spec? Or, if you'd rather see the game for yourself, RPS Vid Bud Matthew played the first two hours of it yesterday which you can view below, with additional commentary from yours truly. Enjoy!