Razer, Sixense and Valve Bringing Motion Controls and Gesture Recognition Hardware to PC Games

By Jeff Mattas, Jan 07, 2010 4:10pm PST Gaming hardware developer Razer has announced a new multi-year partnership with Sixense Entertainment and Valve Software to deliver a, "...revolutionary true-to-life, next-generation motion sensing and gesture recognition controller for PC gaming."

Razer, Valve, and Sixense, along with a selection of PC OEM partners, are aiming to produce, "...ultra-precise one-to-one motion sensing controllers that use electromagnetic fields to track precise movements along all six axes." Each controller will reportedly track its orientation within a single degree, and detect positioning within one millimeter. Thankfully, the device will be compatible with both current and future generation PC games.

The new technology is being demonstrated at CES this week using Valve's Left 4 Dead 2 and a controller prototype, with the software development kit currently available on Steam, Valve's PC digital distribution service. Left 4 Dead 2 team lead Chet Faliszek threw a gauntlet at the feet of other motion-control efforts, stating that he believes, "...this release represents motion-enabled gaming that's more integrated and visceral than any platform has so far achieved."

Avi Arad, chairman and co-founder of Sixense commented that the unnamed device, "...will not only enhance the entire gaming experience, but will truly revolutionize how games are played on the PC." On an interesting side-note, Arad also owns the movie rights to Mass Effect and is currently assigned as a producer on the Uncharted and Lost Planet films, in addition to having worked as a producer on several Marvel comic book movies.

Valve is no stranger to interesting controller technology, as evidenced by their fairly recent support of the Novint Falcon Controller. Considering the players involved in their latest partnership (and Faliszek's fighting words), this new doodad might be one to keep an eye on leading up to its release sometime in 2010.

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  • Intuitive 6DOF control of objects could make for some actually interesting physical object interaction, instead of the simplistic stuff in games like Portal and HL2. Like... accurately dropping a hand grenade through a hatch on a tank or making it roll on the floor... or a puzzle where you have to construct some kind of a simple machine from physics-driven components.

    Also, think about handling a real firearm or a bow. There is no way a 2D interface such as the mouse can properly emulate having to align the sights etc. You could even shoot around a corner or over an obstacle without exposing your body if the gun was physically there in the game world and you could manipulate it in 6DOF with ease :)