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Valve follows Oculus' lead with new Vive controller prototype

Emphasis on hand presence would eradicate a key difference between the two leading platforms in high-end VR

Valve has offered Steam Dev Days attendees a first look at the future direction of the Vive controller, and it's somewhat reminiscent of that taken by Oculus with Touch.

The developer focused event started in Seattle yesterday, and images of impressions of the new Vive controller started flooding out almost as soon as attendees had the opportunity to try them. At present, Vive's wand-shaped controller needs to be gripped at all times, with finer movements like gripping objects controlled by trigger presses - an odd design choice in a medium where breaking immersion is regarded as sacrosanct. However, Valve's new designs seem to be targeted at addressing this flaw.

"This new controller isn't just another toy - it's a new form of input that is the most intuitive I have encountered"

While the hardware shown at Dev Days is a prototype, it suggests that Valve will be shifting emphasis toward hand presence. The new Vive controller is strapped to the hand, allowing it to rest in the user's palm. An array of sensors on the back of the hand allow more detailed simulation of movement, specifically the user opening and closing their hand.

Developers speaking to UploadVR offered some insight on the impact of the new design on user experience. One of those developers, Eva Hoerth, stressed that it was no longer necessary to, "think about input."

"All I had to do to grab an object was reach out and grip, no buttons required," she said. "If I wanted to throw, all I had to do was pull back and release, as I would in the real world. I was still scared that I would accidentally chuck the controller in someone's face, but that thankfully didn't happen.

"This new controller isn't just another toy - it's a new form of input that is the most intuitive I have encountered."

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Latest comments (1)

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago
The hand strap not only looks cool and power glove-y, but looks more secure than the Oculus. Now I haven't used either, but from the pictures, this is the one I'd pick up and try first.

Still not sure why they haven't learned no one wants their touch discs.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeff Kleist on 13th October 2016 7:28pm

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