Samsung is adding a much-needed improvement to its Gear VR with the introduction of a new wireless touch and gesture Gear VR Controller developed in partnership with Oculus. The Controller will be included with the Gear VR headset as soon as it is launched, but will also be available as a separate purchase for those who already have a headset.
Samsung has to figure out how to gracefully store this thing with the headset.
Even though the Controller is small, its curved design is more ergonomic than the Daydream View's included controller and has a trigger on the front for selection and casual gaming. Aside from that it has the standard arrangement of a volume rocker, home and back buttons, with clear textural and size differences so they're easy to remember when you're immersed in your headset. The back cover pops off to let you replace two AAA batteries, which Samsung is claiming dozens of hours of use from.
The circular touch area is larger than the Daydream View's controller as well, with plenty of room to move around and also a multidirectional click pad underneath. My hand instantly took to the curves of the Controller, and I really liked the inclusion of the trigger in terms of the possibilities for casual games that don't necessarily require a full two-handed gaming controller. As soon as the Controller is available it will instantly alleviate the issues of trying to hold your hand up to the touch pad on the Gear VR headset (which is still included even on the latest version).
Oculus is aiming to have 70 Controller-ready apps and games available at launch.
The early pre-production version of the Gear VR Controller I was able to use didn't have any sort of mechanism for storage with or inside of the Gear VR headset, but Samsung said that it's in the works. Of course the Daydream View has this all thought out from the start with storage for its controller inside the visor, and Samsung would be smart to find a simple solution like that as well.
Samsung isn't yet revealing pricing for either the combination headset or standalone Controller, but there's a good chance we'll hear more near the end of March. The early announcement of the Controller is primarily for the benefit of Gear VR app and game developers, who will want ample time to get everything working for a seamless experience. Oculus says that it wants to have at least 70 titles available that properly integrate with the Controller when it launches.
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