Oculus VR has been developing motion controllers for use with its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, according to a report by GameSpot sister site CNET.
These controllers would allow users to interact with Rift content by moving their hands and body, not unlike what's possible with the Wii remote or PlayStation Move. The goal would be to increase the level of immersion--the ultimate goal of doing anything in virtual reality, after all--in Rift-supported games and applications. Oculus has, to date, given no indication it would release its own controllers for Rift, though it's traditionally the case that hardware manufacturers offer their own controllers.
As such, this looks like a natural move--don't forget, Oculus acquired the company responsible for the design of the Xbox 360 controller and Kinect in June. However, CNET raises the point that this could be bad news for third-party companies that have begun developing their own controller solutions for use with the Rift. This is because an official motion controller from Oculus could be viewed by many consumers as the only viable option, thereby greatly reducing the market available to third-party accessory makers.
Regardless, motion controls are regarded as a key aspect of the VR experience. "Everyone knows that hand tracking is a component that needs to be there," Denny Unger, president of VR game maker CloudHead Games, told CNET. "It just has to be there."
It's unclear how or when Oculus will unveil its motion controllers, but we've contacted it to learn more. The lack of a date shouldn't come as a surprise given the Rift itself is still without a release date. Oculus has already been selling a development kit of the Rift (the second iteration of which begins shipping this month) since 2012, but that's a device intended for use by developers, rather than consumers.
Oculus is not the only company pursuing virtual reality. Sony revealed its own VR platform, Project Morpheus, earlier this year, and we've seen it demonstrated using a pair of PlayStation Moves as a manner of simulating your hands in the VR world.
Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion back in March. Since then, Oculus employees have attempted to reassure gamers that this doesn't mean the Rift is losing its focus on games. The company has continued to amass talent from throughout the games industry in recent months, and is in the midst of a lawsuit with Bethesda and id Software parent company ZeniMax Media. Oculus and its CTO, John Carmack (a former id Software employee), are accused of using ZeniMax technology in the Rift, a claim which Oculus denies.
Would you like to see Oculus release its own motion controller, or would it be best to leave that up to third parties? Let us know your thoughts--as well as what you'd like to see from motion controllers designed for VR--in the comments.
|Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX|
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