PlayStation VR is a capable headset, but it does have one glaring weakness: the PlayStation Move controllers.
Sony’s positiontally tracked wands bring your hands into VR with relative accuracy, but they pale in comparison to the HTC Vive’s wands or Oculus Touch controllers. A lot of that has to do with occlusion, as turning away from the PlayStation Camera tracking your position will instantly lose tracking, but there’s also a noticeable lack of a dedicated navigation feature on the device such as a control stick or touch pad. That makes movement in the few first-person games that do use two controllers stiff and awkward, as seen in titles like Loading Human [UploadVR review: 4/10].
Winnipeg-based Playhouse Studio may have accidentally stumbled upon an ingenious solution to this problem five years ago, though.
Take a look at the video above for a system called DualPlay, which was published in November 2012. It shows a peripheral that links the Move to its companion device, the Navigation Controller, that launched alongside the main unit in 2010. In theory it’s a pretty simple add-on for the kit, but here’s the important bit: each Navigation Controller has a DualShock-style analogue stick fitted to it.
What it doesn’t have is its own light for the camera to positionally track, but by tethering the two together you get a workaround that gives you the best of both worlds. As seen in the video, the player can move through the world with the intuitive controls they’ve come to master over the past two decades of gaming while still accessing the full range of tracking featured in Move.
It’s not an ideal locomotion solution; artificial movement with sticks has been known to cause simulation sickness for some VR users, but it certainly gives PS VR owners some much-requested new options.
The video was shot long before PlayStation VR would be revealed, though its creators have gone back to make mention of the headset in the title. It features gameplay elements that have become commonplace in today’s VR industry.
Of course as a third-party experiment and not an official Sony peripheral, it’s not likely that DualPLAY would gather a lot of software support on PSVR in this day and age. But it’s definitely something Sony itself could consider as an inexpensive way for players to further enhance their VR gaming experience without having to release an entirely new controller.