These controllers look familiar.
Microsoft brought their latest mixed reality efforts front and center Thursday at its Build conference in Seattle. On top of partner device and price announcements that challenge the likes of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, Microsoft also unveiled new controllers as part of mixed reality headset bundles.
The new controllers are part of Microsoft’s new computing platform that they refer to as “mixed reality” because of its combination of augmented and virtual reality. With a design that at first glance looks like a mashup of a HTC Vive and Oculus Touch controller, the device will likely be bundled with headsets from partners Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo.
What we do know for sure is that the controllers will be bundled with the Acer VR headset for $400 and will be available for sale this holiday season. The motion controllers are wireless, feature a thumbstick, touchpad, trigger, and do not require external sensors because of built in inside-out tracking with compatible headsets.
Like Microsoft’s mixed reality HoloLens device, inside-out tracking helps establish the headset’s position without the need for external sensors seen in competing headsets like the Vive and Rift. The challenge is that the HoloLens costs $3,000 for the developer edition, making a $400 Acer bundled headset more accessible to the average consumer.
Microsoft is clearly working to gain early ground in the headset battle against HTC and Oculus with lower pricing. And as it becomes more clear that Microsoft may in fact never sell their HoloLens as a consumer device, bundled partnerships with motion controllers is just what Microsoft needs to fill the gap.