The company unveiled the hardware on Wednesday during its Steam Dev Days conference in Seattle but declined to share details.
Only developers assisted Dev Days, but some images of the second generation HTC Vive controllers leaked. Using the latest controller, users could strap the new controller to their open palms and use it with gestures and hand motions.
During the Steam Dev Days conference, Valve explained the benefits of the gear enable designers to make their game’s controllers feel more natural in comparison with the current Valve’s Wand Controller. The idea is that gamers feel they are using their hands to interact with the virtual environments.
Valve’s hand-like controllers
With a price tag of $799, the HTC Vive is one of the most expensive VR gears on the market. It was not the first one around, but it is the first gear to show hands while in VR.
The current controllers have a $130 price tag. They let users grab things, but they do not respond to movements of the hands, much less the fingers.
The biggest advantage of the prototype is they detect when the user opens and closes their hands allowing them to grab and drop virtual objects. Current gear has to handle actions like this with a trigger button.
VR developers that were present during Valve’s showcase suggest the new hardware will be a more intuitive form of input, free of confusing buttons, and assured it would let developers design natural interactions.
Other developers argue Valve’s experiment will be tough to implement and don’t expect many improvements in how hands feel versus regular VR controllers.
Valve is yet to share a release date or price of its new controller, but the rumor has it the they could debut in March 2017.
Steam adds support for Sony’s DualShock 4 controllers
Valve engineer Jeff Bellinghausen shared the good news during Steam Dev Days’ kick off. Bellinghausen explained the game store and Sony’s DualShock 4 controller would soon be compatible, so gamers will be able to use the highly regarded controller without the need of third-party gear.
DS 4 controller has both an internal touchpad and gyroscope. Both features are also available on Steam controllers, so these two gears had overlapping features and made it easy for Valve to integrate Sony’s hardware into their systems.
Additionally, Valve is working to offer similar support for other controllers in the future.