Valve teased a new design for Vive controllers at their Steam Dev Days conference in Seattle this week. While it seems Valve is collecting more data on the prototype and finalizing the product before they go completely public with the new designs, people attending the event were allowed to test out a prototype and take photos. Cognitive VR Director of Product Rober Merki was one such attendee.
— Robert Merki (@robmerki) October 12, 2016
The new controllers are much smaller than the originals, being about the size of the palm of your hand, while the first controllers were each quite the handful. While the old controllers have a wrist strap, making it easier to not accidentally throw them, the new prototypes are strapped to the palm of your hand.
The new design could make many Vive games easier to play, as these cannot be dropped, then clumsily grabbed back while your other hand is full. It would allow for a full range of motion and free up a player’s hands without effecting game play. If the hand opening movement was properly tracked, it could add extra functionality to games, including properly picking up, maneuvering, and dropping items in the 3D space. The original controllers cost $130 each, and are used in pairs, so hopefully the smaller design has lower production costs.
This prototyping comes in the first year of the Vive’s release, and a bit after the announcement of a wireless version of the headset, possibly meaning HTC and Valve are taking player feedback into account as they move forward with the virtual reality system.