Health IS Technology Blog

Razer Unveils Stargazer, VR Webcam Changes Gaming Landscape

“The further you get into technology, the further you go into gaming. That’s the general rule” ~ Nick Johnson



Razer Pushes VR (Virtual Reality)

It’s no secret that the online gaming community is making noteworthy headlines this year, thanks in large part to companies like Razer (i.e. RΛZΞR) and their new Stargazer webcam for VR (i.e. virtual reality). For the uninitiated (e.g. newbs or new players), Razer is a relatively young gaming company that was created back in 2005 by Min-Liang Tan, Matthew Thompson and Robert Krakoff. Today, they’re dedicated to creating technological tools that both facilitate and support PC gaming, including laptops, tablets, keyboards, mice, webcams and accessories. Their slogan summarizes their mission perfectly, “For Gamers, By Gamers,” (Razer Zone, Mar. 2016).


Pros: Razer’s Stargazer, The VR Webcam



So, what’s so special about the Stargazer and how does it work? For starters, the Stargazer delivers HD video capture, automatic noise cancellation and processes images at 60 FPS (i.e. frames or images per second). For comparison, the human visual system processes separate, static images at a rate of “10 to 12 per second” (Restoration of Motion Picture Film, Feb. 2000) and maxes out at “60 FPS”. Beyond that rate, you’d begin to feel like Neo from The Matrix movies, as visual data would actually begin to take on a ‘slow-mo’ quality (New Yorker, June 2014). So, the Stargazer is literally delivering the best that it can deliver for the human eye. That said, if you’re a cyborg operating with a better frame rate, it may disappoint.

But there’s an even bigger feature that has gamers fully psyched for this webcam. The breakthrough news is that Razer partnered with Intel for this project to pull in their RealSense technology. As a result, the Stargazer comes with dynamic background removal, 3D scanning and gesture (e.g. facial and body movements) recognition. Dynamic background removal will be most useful for streamers who want to add live footage of themselves, as they commentate and play online games without the need for a green screen setup. Developers on the other hand will find the 3D scanning capabilities useful, as it will enable them to add any scanned objects directly into game engines like Unity for virtual editing, etc. Gamers can also use this to scan physical objects or even themselves into a game. Finally, gesture recognition in the Stargazer will allow users to do everything from unlock a computer and launch an application with a wave of a hand to engaging with VR games that incorporate gestures into play. These three features make Razer’s Stargazer webcam a huge addition to the consumer technology landscape and one which may change the face of gaming as we know it, somewhat literally.


Cons: Technology, Software Silos



So it should be pretty clear at this point, the Stargazer is amazing. However, there is one potentially significant down-point for this new tech. Gamers will only be able to use it if they download Windows 10 because that is the only OS (i.e. operating system) for which the webcam is designed to work. If you already own or are open to using 10, then this isn’t a problem and you will probably love your OS that much more with the Stargazer to add to your overall experience. In fact, it’s recommended. But if not, then this webcam is simply a no-go. So whether or not the Stargazer will be a success depends partially on the willingness of users to adopt Windows 10.

That said, this lack of OS support, opens the door for other companies such as, Apple and Google to begin developing similar products in the future. Time will be the judge for the success of the Stargazer.


Reviews of Razer’s Stargazer, VR Webcam

  • “If you want to see Twitch and YouTube’s influence on the game industry, look no further than this. At the center of Razer’s webcam ambitions is the company’s partnership with Intel, last year. And this year, that deal is bearing fruit on the product front,” (PC World, Jan. 2016).

  • “With virtual reality, immersive 3D and social experiences fast becoming the norm for high-end games and gamers, Razer is quite literally jumping into the frame with both feet. As a webcam, the Stargazer is setting a new bar for what gamers can have to record themselves in the middle of the action,” (Tech Crunch, Jan. 2016).

  • “Razer’s Stargazer webcam sees the world in 3D and uses your face to unlock your PC. Log into Windows with your face, launch apps with a wave of a hand and produce pro game streams with Razer’s webcam. It’s a webcam unlike any you’ve ever seen,” (CNET on YouTube, Jan. 2016).

Happy Computing!