Last night, we reported on Oculus dropping the price of their Rift + Touch being reduced to $399 USD ($549 CDN). In the comments of that story, mLocke, who is a regular in our IRC chat, mentioned that Razer’s HDK2 is also $399. Even better, if you are a developer or involved in an educational institution, you can also apply to receive an addition 20% discount, which would bring the cost down to about $319 USD. There is also something about a “2 for 1 promotion” for academics and researchers, but you need to email them for that.
That said, the OSVR HDK2 doesn’t come with a controller, unlike the Oculus Rift + Touch. Also, while OSVR is expected to form the basis of OpenXR, because Razer donated the API to the Khronos Group, it doesn’t support as much as Oculus or the HTC Vive. That said, if you’re a developer that only cares about your own content, it works with Unreal Engine 4 and Unity, and you can probably add support to other engines yourself. (Update @ 7:47pm: I just realized that this previous sentence doesn't mean what I intended it to. There's a lot of engines that already support OSVR, including Lumberyard and CryEngine. I meant that if you're working on your own, then the SDK is available as well. I didn't mean that Unity and Unreal Engine were the only ones with available plug-ins.)
So, for a consumer that is torn between both deals, I would probably point you to the Oculus one. If you’re a developer, educator, or researcher, then you might want to reach out to OSVR and see. It might be your best option.
Bear in mind that in terms of
Bear in mind that in terms of tracking and total system latency, the OSVR HDK2 is far, far behind the Rift CV1 and Vive. Think of it as a DK2 with a higher resolution panel swapped in and you;ll get a good impression of its practical performance. The OSVR SDK is quite far behind both OVR and SteamVR in performance and capability.
The Rift includes two cameras
The Rift includes two cameras and hand trackers. I’m not even sure HDK2 has support for more than one sensor (more than one is needed for solid room tracking) and it definitely doesn’t have any well supported hand trackers.
The Rift also has support for all engines (and IMHO their SDK for Unity is significantly better than Valve’s for SteamVR). It does lack support for Linux, but if you really need that get a Vive instead.
The only reason to get a HDK2 is if you want to tinker with making your own hardware add-ons. And even then I would STRONGLY urge you read the EULA properly before. When I read it at release it had some pretty nasty clauses in there granting Razer (yeah, not OSVR) access to all your patents and the right to sell your hardware modifications without compensation if they wanted to. They may have fixed that now, I haven’t looked at it lately.
Basically even when the Rift was at full price I’d consider it a much better deal than HDK2. Heck, even the Vive is arguably a better deal since VR without hand tracking is kind of lackluster compared to VR with it. And go read the OSVR Reddit a bit as well before buying, there used to be a lot of problems with getting any games to work before.