Virtual reality is still a burgeoning technology. The dream of putting on a headset and transporting to another world is the appeal, but it’s a feature that many headsets still struggle with. While HTC, Oculus, and Sony have made significant strides to increase immersion, there’s still a disconnect when it comes to how you move in a virtual world.
VR sickness, vertigo, and loss of immersion are some of the biggest problems users face, and it’s tech companies are scrambling to solve it. 3drudder’s foot motion controller for the PSVR aims to be a solution, promising free and seamless movement, as well as full motion control. We had a chance to try it out at CES Unveiled.
A great option, but not a substitute
At a glance, the 3drudder foot motion controller doesn’t look like much. It’s a circular disc that sort of resembles a frisbee with PlayStation- blue accents on the sides, and a logo in the center. Players sit down and place their feet on either side of the device, and it teeters in the direction where you place the most force. You can also turn by pivoting your feet left or right in a circular motion.
The obvious benefit of the controller is that movement is mostly hands-free. During our demo, we played an unreleased game called The Wizards, due out on PlayStation VR sometime in February, and movement was mostly handled using the 3rudder foot motion controller. Jumps and long-distance leaps, though, were completed with teleportation, a mechanic frequently seen in many VR games. The two complimented each other well.
For plenty of people acquainted with VR, the most glaring issue with the controller is that it’s used while sitting down, which breaks the immersion. When I asked 3drudder’s CEO, Stanislas Chesnais, why they chose a seated experience over standing, he explained. “For many VR games that require players to explore large virtual territories, being seated makes more sense. It’s more relaxing and more secure. And your brain will trick you into believing you’re standing.”
While the 3drudder’s foot motion controller isn’t designed to simulate realistic movement, it’s a approachable way to navigate in VR that doesn’t cause motion sickness or vertigo. I didn’t experience any problems, and the controller brings a welcomed change to typical VR traversal. It reduces excessive use of clunky teleportation controls or unnatural movement that will have you trying to keep your lunch down.
While not a perfect substitute for walking, running, or moving in a virtual world, the 3drudder’s foot motion controller for the PlayStation VR is welcomed and sizeable option. With some iterations it could easily become a staple to mainstream consumer VR, and at an affordable pricepoint of $119, you won’t have to break the bank — or your living room coffee table — when it comes out later this year in April.
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