Microsoft Unveils VR Motion Controllers

Get an Acer headset and the new controllers for $400 later this year.

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Microsoft has shown off its VR headset tech through third-party partners such as Acer, but we had yet to see how it planned to handle motion controllers. The company finally unveiled the handsets, with word that a headset and controller package would be coming later this year for $400.

The odd-looking design (via Upload VR) boasts a full "six degrees of freedom" like it HTC Vive wand and Oculus Touch contemporaries, but the controllers will need to be in sight of the headset's cameras to be properly tracked.

While the headset and controller package looks much more affordable compared to the more expensive HTC Vive and Oculus Rift/Touch, the technology used is a bit different and could alter the user experience. The Microsoft unit uses what's called an inside-out technique in tracking similar to its HoloLens where tracking done by the headset. Oculus and Vive use outside-in tracking where tracking is done by external cameras (Rift) or laser-emitters (Vive), meaning an extra piece of equipment is needed. While the lack of the extra piece of hardware will make setup easier, outside-in tracking lets a unit track a wide field within a room. Depending on the field of view of Microsoft's unit, that could be hampered if the headset cannot track motion behind it. 

We won't know for sure, though, until we get some hands-on time, which Microsoft said would not be available this week at its Build Developer Conference. Hopefully we will get a chance to see more of this at E3, and whether any Microsoft partners will offer any games for testing out the new bundle.

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    May 11, 2017 9:50 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Microsoft Unveils VR Motion Controllers

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      May 11, 2017 10:02 AM

      Hmm interesting stuff. $400 is a big drop in price, doesn't seem that's really related to outside in equipment, wouldn't think so, makes me wonder where they're cheaping out. The screen seems the most obvious big ticket item.

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        May 11, 2017 10:29 AM

        yeah, these can't be selling for a loss if OEMs are doing it so the money has to be somewhere

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      May 11, 2017 10:09 AM

      $400 for headset and motion controllers is much more accessible. Especially without cameras to have to set up. It'll be interesting to see how well it works when it can only track your hands in front of you

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        May 11, 2017 10:20 AM

        I assume they still have accelerometers and will dead recon outside of camera view, just at lower precision and may accumulate error until it comes back into camera view. Sorta like a Wiimote has a general tracking then a precision mode?

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        May 12, 2017 2:39 AM

        Yes, I wonder how large the field of view on the cameras is. If you tilt your head up, for example, your hands might start wobbling around. I suppose you do normally look at your hands when you are doing something.

        Anyway, it's a clever solution to tracking.

    • Zek
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      May 11, 2017 10:20 AM

      Weird I always thought they would stay in bed with Oculus after the controller thing. This just seems like copying Sony to me.

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        May 11, 2017 10:27 AM

        But if it works on windows it will blow away any Sony numbers.

        • Zek
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          May 11, 2017 10:45 AM

          Sure but there's already strong competition on the PC. It doesn't seem like the VR market is big enough to support a ton of device options. At the minimum I hope they aren't dicks about hardware exclusivity on PC.

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      May 11, 2017 5:42 PM

      This is very exciting, new Xbox and this could be hot this Christmas

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      May 12, 2017 1:52 AM

      that means we will have 6 major VR platforms soon (PSVR, SteamVR, OculusVR, GearVR, Daydream, MSVR)

      I wonder how they will position themselves. In price they are closest to PSVR. The technology *could* be better than that and that price seems to be a good sweet spot.

      In secret I would hope they either pair with Oculus or Steam so one of those can become some kind of standard but I guess neither is important enough right now...

      I guess VR will need at least a second generation in 2018/19 or maybe a third like GPUs in 90s until it settles and something resembling standards can be established.