Valve’s HTC Vive might be the most expensive of the current three VR headsets on the market right now, but it’s also the most accomplished. The room scale solution coupled with some truly outstanding motion controllers makes Valve’s VR environment a high benchmark to aim for, but they’re not resting on their hands. At the opening for Steam Dev Days yesterday, Valve revealed that they’re already iterating on the Vive, which includes some fancy new controllers.
If you’ve ever used the Vive, you’ll know about its biggest caveat. Using the controllers can sometimes be unnatural, with object grabbing mapped to a single trigger on the back of the device. It makes sense, but it’s still not the same as actively opening your palm and grabbing the object like you would in real life. It’s also the part of the Vive’s ecosystem that Valve is taking direct aim at, with their new controllers almost suspended on your hand.
— Shawn Whiting (@shawncwhiting) 12 October 2016
The straps allow you to freely move your hand without actually having to grasp the controller, which in turn allows you to use natural grabbing motions that the controller can then register. It also addresses the size of the Vive controllers, which seem excessive when compared to Oculus’ more refined Touch ones. It’s safe to assume that these new controllers will also contain the beacons needed to be tracked by the Lighthouse sensors the Vive uses, but there also seem to be some new LEDs on the controller itself for some unknown purpose.
There’s no word yet on when these could be out on the market, or if the final product will even resemble them. Valve likes to almost openly develop their hardware, gathering feedback from developers and public alike as they mould their products. It’s clear what their idea is here though, and I like it. If Valve manages to truly make a controller that feels like I’m picking up something, the Vive just became even more enticing.
Last Updated: October 13, 2016