Oculus Rift Dev Working on Motion Controllers, Which Could Upset Third Parties - Report

Third-party accessory makers could find themselves in an undesirable position if Oculus offers its own official motion controller.

Sony's PlayStation Move, which is used with its Project Morpheus VR headset

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.

The soon-to-be-released Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2

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
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Twitter/Xbox Live/PSN/Nintendo Network: TheSmokingManX

Discussion

72 comments
ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

I would have loved to see motion controlls coming with the OR; it is a natural fit, can't wait

veryDERPY
veryDERPY

a just starting concept offering it's own controls for an already small audience...not the most...logical decision

Raditz5
Raditz5

Funny, I don't recall any console systems not designing controllers for the good of third party sales. Why is this different. Third party will have to make an appealing variant of the motion devices, possibly at a cheaper rate, or maybe with some special functionality that the standard ones do not have.

Why is this even being talked about? I missed something.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

Yeah, it's called competition and apparently it's good for everyone. Except if OR doesn't allow third party tech, that would suck.

Garm31
Garm31

"Which Could Upset Third Parties"  

F.U.C.K THEM!

ggregd
ggregd

Are they going to make a different version for each console and PC, or are they going to put the control unit for the motion controller in the headset?

Jarten
Jarten

I would be fine with motion controls as long as they are optional and not required. One thing that I would be interested in is if they could take a look at the technology that uses brainwaves to interact with the computer. While it's not perfect and still needs a lot of work, I think that if done right it might be a possible avenue.

amaneuvering
amaneuvering

Well if they're going to do this I really hope they do it right. The headset looks right and I hope the controllers can live up to that standard too.

qtmew
qtmew

I dislike motion controllers, I like to set while I game and not move around. I just want the O.R and use my mouse and keyboard.

blackothh
blackothh

Multiple people working on the same market item is only good for consumers, because that breeds compitition, also giving customers options of price vs quality

supremedrop
supremedrop

For all Oculus and FPS fans out there: "Battlefield 4 won’t feature motion controls, because developer DICE believes they are a gimmick. This comes from DICE’s Patrick Bach, who said that while the studio is “extremely open to innovation”, it has no time for gimmicks."

C-THREE
C-THREE

I still have my eye on sixense stem system.

Stiler
Stiler

The best motion controller (IMO) need to be GLOVES, not a traditional "stick" type of controller like the Wii or PS move controllers. 


In order to "interact" in VR players need to be able to interact naturally, how they'd interact in real life, this is the next big "Barrier" standing int eh way of VR after the headset. 


How hard can it be to have a glove that you place on your hand and have the ability to mimic in game complete freedom of movement and interaction with each finger, etc?


Surely they can come up with a way to do this in this day and age, have small sensors at the joints and tips of the gloves and when you move them it moves them in the game, hav ea camera that tracks the movement of your arm amd things (like Track IR headsets). 



aeluron1989
aeluron1989

Enough with the motion control. It's way too advanced Tech IMO to be used at this stage. Perfect it first then use it. Until that day which isn't today, use a regular controller with something else. I don't hate this VR stuff but motion Control is laden with issues. Not a lot but enough to be problematic.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

"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."


The only consumers I see being confused by this are the people who just buy stuff because they can afford it, not because they are actually interested in it.

saturatedbutter
saturatedbutter

"it's traditionally the case that hardware manufacturers offer their own controllers."

It's a peripheral though. It plugs into your PC. You can't just use it on its own like a stand-alone gaming console. The Rift itself is a "third-party accessory" for PC.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Why cant we u a standard controller.. does it have to be a motion controller?

btroof
btroof

I see a bad azz Zombie game like Zombi U working with Oculus Rift and motion controls 

evarin
evarin

BLAAAH. My poor Virtuix Omni and PrioVR....

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

It'd be stupid for them not to come up with their own solution.  Relying solely on 3rd party support is a pretty good way to guarantee no one will use it.

jhpiv4
jhpiv4

This is great news for FPS players. A motion controller means gun controls — we won't be stuck using our heads to aim and shoot at the middle of the screen. This is exactly what the Oculus needs to take it to the next level (pardon the enthusiasm).

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

I'm not a believer in motion controls period, let alone motion controls with the Rift.  I just don't see it going over very well... I mean do you really expect people to wave pieces of plastic around with what's essentially a blindfold on?  You can't see anything around you for Pete's sake.  That's a serious accident waiting to happen.  People have had a hard enough time trying not to break TVs or smack each other with Wii Remotes while being able to see... now we're going to take sight away from the equation?

DrKill09
DrKill09

Motion controls are dead.  It was a fad.

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

Why would it be bad news? It's great news for the industry, because everybody would need to step their game up. Oculus isn't a standalone platform, so people will already be comfortable using other third party hardware with it. Fanboys will always be fanboys, but most people will just go with what's best for whatever price they can afford. If Oculus is the best, I will be buying their controller. If anything I think third parties would be more concerned about pricing. I think Oculus does an awesome job keeping things at a relatively low price. If it wasn't for Oculus, VR wouldn't be something we look at as affordable. Third parties would've/could've easily charged over $600+ and early adopters would still bite. 



WingChopMasta
WingChopMasta

Good. I am sick of seeing all of these Kickstarters for unproven hardware that requires developer support. Having Oculus build a first party controller that taps into their SDK will help Developers astronomically. It is going to be hard enough to create a full gaming experience in VR like the devs need to be worrying about what extra peripherals they need to add support for as well.


I laugh at anyone who funded any VR tech that is in development other than the Rift right now. The majority of those are going to be damn expensive paper weights.

johnny_kopy
johnny_kopy

As long as motion controls remain optional, I'll be happy. I like as many options as possible.

NikoKun
NikoKun

@veryDERPY offering their own controller is very logical, and somewhat necessary.

VR doesn't have any standardized input designed for it yet, just keyboard/mouse and traditional controllers, and those aren't really good enough for VR..

If developers are going to support VR, they'll need a controller capable of properly utilizing VR's strengths, and it has to be a controller they can be sure that most, if not all, of their consumers have both the HMD and that right controller. If everyone who has a Rift, also has this controller, that makes things a heck of a lot simpler for VR devs.

No dev wants to have to create a control system in their game for every possible experimental VR controller out there, because everyone ends up using something different.

If Oculus doesn't stand up and set a standard, it might cause unnecessary confusion when things hit consumers..

gregglle
gregglle

@ggregd oculus VR is now a company for VR present and future.  They aren't just going to be making headsets.  They will be making storefronts, AAA games, experiences, motion controllers, input/output systems, etc.....  As far as I know, the oculus rift will only work with PC's.  The motion control unit will work with the rift.  As far as whether or not the control will be able to work with non-oculus rift equipment, we still have yet to find out. 

qtmew
qtmew

Plus, my disorder wouldn't allow to me move while gaming, and it would just exhaust me. To me, the ultimate immersion is the O.R itself, that's it. I'll buy it later.

NikoKun
NikoKun

@supremedrop Motion controls could sometimes be called "gimmicks" when they're used on traditional 2D square TV screens.. But when used with VR, when you feel presence in fully immersive 360 3D environments, having motion controls vs button controllers, is like the difference between being able to actually interact with the world vs just being an observing ghost.

Maybe motion controls were simply ahead of their time.. cause VR and motion controls seem like a match made in heaven. Now that we finally have working consumer VR, motion controls will evolve from their gimmicky start, to become an essential control method.

B0NES96
B0NES96

@supremedrop With all of the issues they had at launch, you really think they had the time and resources to work on motion controls? Lol. Also, pretty much anyone who buys BF4 gets it for the multiplayer, which motion controls aren't good for that.

pelvist
pelvist

@supremedrop It wont matter on the PC since control inputs can be emulator across other control methods. Any game on PC can potentially work with the Rift, Morpheus or any controller you want.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@Stiler I get what you're saying, but there might be a bit of a problem too. Example, movement in a confined place. you can't physically walk through a solid wall. If you only have much room to move, you may have problems when you need more. 


If you need an example, think of a touch pad. you can only move the cursor so far with the limited amount of space you are given. Unlike the touch pad, I don't think VR will just let you move to another space to keep moving forward. I could be wrong on that, but it is something to think about.

NikoKun
NikoKun

@saturatedbutter A couple hardware generations down the line, Oculus might switch to a more stand-alone design. They've talked about using something like Android, and mobile gaming processors, to make a VR headset without any wires. Although they also mentioned that they'd still have the ports to connect it to PC, for the sake of the extra power.. Still they'll need a controller which can wirelessly work with that future stand-alone design, if they go that route. So in that respect, it certainly makes sense.

hystavito
hystavito

@saturatedbutter Well we don't know it's going to be just a peripheral down the road.  I like to always refer to the quote where Bleszinski expressed the need for the Rift to be more of a platform, with an ecosystem, an appstore, rather than "just a peripheral, ugh" :)


The big money is definitely not in making it just a PC peripheral.  That potential market is ridiculously tiny, especially PC gaming, for a company like Facebook.

mshidden
mshidden

@SIDEFX1 You can, but it is awkward in a VR environment.  what everyone is trying to do is not to destroy the sense of presence. Which is the feeling of being there.  If you have to use something that is not 'there,' then it pulls you out of the environment, it can also contribute to motion sickness. 

Attitude2000
Attitude2000

Create a standard and license it. Might be more profitable on the long run.

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

@jhpiv4 I keep forgetting what VR + motion controls will bring to FPS games. The ability to do behind the back or around corner shooting(blindfire), true dual wielding, or even just the simple ability to just lower your arms without the use of a button. I can even imagine looting someone while you have your gun drawn and ready. It will really add to the experience. I can't help with the enthusiasm either. There are just too many possibilities and it's still so early. 

NikoKun
NikoKun

@fredyellowone Really? ..Cause so far it's been a huge positive benefit for Oculus.. They're making a better product, faster and cheaper than they ever could before. :p

brakish33
brakish33

@fredyellowone Facebook = money. I'm sure Facebook will want to add some farming simulator that you have to pay to play for longer than 5 minutes but don't get all worked up about this.

NikoKun
NikoKun

@DrKill09 Maybe on 2D screens.. But Motion Controls will be essential in VR, and VR is finally here to stay! ;D

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

@DrKill09 It was, but that's because it had no real purpose other than a few sports games. Those games NEVER worked before, but motion controls came along and made video game bowling with your friends/family pretty fun. 


The Wii came and went, and motion controls are still here and still being improved upon. Definitely not a fad, or we wouldn't be talking about it almost a decade later. 

WautraetsM
WautraetsM

@gamehawkcoo You mean like (the superior) Steam ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? QUESTIONMARK ABUNDANCE

Saidrex
Saidrex

@gamehawkcoo Useless app that no one needs or wants. Want to start successful business - create something actually useful.

mohoc2000
mohoc2000

@NikoKun @veryDERPY 

Not only that, but direct integration in the camera tracking system already being used should reduce system overhead by plugging into an already existing API.

joshuagot
joshuagot

@Jinzo_111887 @Stiler There is a set of gloves on kickstarter that are pretty interesting. If you look up ControlVR you'll find it. As far as the walking part, I think something like the book "Ready Player One's" take on it would work. Have certain hand gestures take care of this. Not fully immersive I know, but it can be done in a limited space. Once they get the motion tracking down, then having something like an exoskeleton on the gloves to simulate actually picking things up would be awesome.

saturatedbutter
saturatedbutter

@hystavito 

So what, we should strap a whole PC to your head now? Or have it run off smartphone hardware?