Microsoft's unveils VR motion controllers for mixed reality headsets

Microsoft on Thursday announced a new set of motion controllers for its Windows mixed reality platform. Like the ones available for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, Microsoft's controllers offer six degrees of freedom, but without the need to install external cameras.

"The motion controllers offer precise and responsive tracking of movement in your field of view using the sensors in your headset," Microsoft's Terry Myerson stated in a blog post. "There is no need to install hardware on the walls around you. We created the controllers as a high-quality and comfortable input device with the same ease of setup and portability as our headsets."

Microsoft's motion controllers look similar to the ones available for the Vive and Rift. There is a ring on top with a spattering of LEDs tracking with the sensors on your face. Underneath the ring sits a panel with an analog stick, a round trackpad, and a menu button. There is also a Windows button and a side grip trigger.

According to Microsoft, its device partners will market and sell its motion controllers sometime this holiday season. That includes Acer, which is planning to bundle the controllers with a mixed reality headset for $399.

That's about $200 less than the Rift with touch controllers, and $400 less than HTC's solution. While that's nothing to sneeze yet, it remains to be seen how Microsoft's mixed reality experience will compare to the VR experiences that already exist.

For those who want to take a leap of faith, Acer says its bundle will be available to preorder from the Microsoft Store starting today.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).