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Oculus and Samsung will add a touchpad controller to new Gear VR

More complex hand interactions will soon be the standard in mobile VR

The new Samsung's Gear VR headset will ship with a Bluetooth touchpad controller, bringing the mobile VR platform's features in line with Google's Daydream View.

The first iteration of Gear VR worked with a typical gamepad, but its traditional sticks-and-buttons configuration isn't ideal for VR immersive experiences. Both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have controllers that grant some degree of hand presence, and Google introduced that to mobile VR with Google Daydream View.

In a blog post published yesterday, Oculus unveiled its collaborative effort to do the same with Gear VR. The controller, which has been designed for single-hand use, features both a touchpad and a trigger, allowing for interactions like pointing, grabbing and more intuitive navigation. It also features home, volume and back buttons.

According to Cnet, which pressed Oculus for more information, the controller can be used for two hours a day across 40 days on a pair of AAA batteries. It will also be compatible with existing iterations of the Gear VR headset.

There are more than 70 apps in development for the new Gear VR controller, but Oculus has said that all "existing touchpad apps" will be compatible - "which means plenty of existing Gear VR apps will be ready from day one."

Samsung will reveal more details about the new Gear VR at an event on March 29, but Oculus has already opened applications for the controller SDK. You can submit a request here.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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