While Gear VR is perfectly usable right out of the box, an optimal experience involves adding a decent Bluetooth controller to the mix. After all, the d-pad built into the Gear VR isn’t too bad for basic functions, but raising your hand up towards your head gets tiring fast. There are certainly tons of great Android controllers to choose from, but reportedly Samsung is getting ready to make an official control for use with its VR headset.
Given the recent announcement of Google’s new VR platform, Daydream, and the inclusion of a motion controller support, you’d be forgiven to assume Samsung might be taking a similar route here. At least if the report proves accurate, that’s not the case, and the new Gear VR controller is just a standard Samsung-made Bluetooth controller. This certainly isn’t the first time Samsung has ever made an Android-compatible gaming control, though it would be the first specifically aimed at the Gear VR.
As you can see in the image above, the configuration is pretty basic with a main joystick, 4 action buttons, and a center ‘home’ type button. Given the flat looking design, it doesn’t look like there would be room for shoulder buttons, but we could be wrong. So why buy this over a kickass Android controller like the Stratus XL? Good question.
Unless there’s some special trick under its sleeve, like special sensors that allow basic motion gaming (like PS3 controllers back in the day), there’s arguably little here that makes the Gear VR controller stand out. That said, if it started to be included in future iterations of the Gear VR, that would encourage more developers to ensure gamepad support, which would certainly be a win for the platform.
Before we get too carried away, keep in mind this is just an alleged device, meaning Samsung has yet to confirm the rumor. In other words, take this report with a grain of salt. What do you think, would you like to see an ‘official’ Gear VR controller from Samsung? If so, should some form of motion sensing also make its way in? Share your thoughts in the comments.