Razer And Sixense Join Hands For Wii-Like Control On The PC

Razer has generally been known best for its hot gaming mice, and more recently, keyboards. But clearly the company has expansion in mind, and with the high-end peripheral market booming (Rock Band instruments, anyone?), there has never been a better time to dabble in the world of motion sensing. At CES 2010, Razer teamed with Sixense and Valve in order to showcase a new technology that's much like the Nintendo Wii Remote, but for the PC. Interested? You should be.

Detailed as a "true-to-life, next-generation motion sensing and gesture recognition controller for PC gaming," the controller system was shown with Left 4 Dead 2, and the results were said to be impressive. It's one of the first devices to really get PC gamers up out of their seats; for years, those gamers have relied on a mouse + keyboard combo, one that has yet to be replicated in flexibility on the console side. But it's hard to ignore the general allure of motion sensing, and the Wii has proven that consumers are into it.

The companies put their heads together in order to create ultra-precise one-to-one motion sensing controllers that use electromagnetic fields to track precise movements along all six axes for use in current and future generation PC games. We're told that the absolute controller position is tracked to within a mere millimeter for positioning and to a degree for orientation, so PC gamers worried over precision (snipers, we're talking to you!) shouldn't be concerned. Razer is also dumping $20m into a Razer-MDA IDM Lab for the research into next generation user interfaces for gaming, so we wouldn't be surprised if this is only the beginning. There's no set release date or price for this tech, but considering the press it drew, we would expect engineers to working around the clock in order to create a marketable product.

"We are really excited to be working with Razer to bring motion gaming to the PC world. This technology collaboration will allow PC gamers to experience true-to-life gaming in a different dimension," said Avi Arad, chairman and cofounder, Sixense. "This is a strong partnership that will not only enhance the entire gaming experience, but will truly revolutionize how games are played on the PC."

Working together with Valve, Razer and Sixense will be presenting a first glance into the future of PC Gaming with Left 4 Dead 2, a co-op team based tactical FPS game that is available on the Steam network, with a technology demonstration of what is slated as the first true one-to-one motion sensing and gesture recognition platform for the PC, which adds a totally new dimension to the Left 4 Dead 2 experience. Technology demonstrations with prototype motion sensing controllers will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall 4, Meeting Room #S215. Products utilizing the motion sensing technology showcased at CES will be launched later in 2010.

"With this controller, Razer and Sixense have created the most immersive way to play our games," said Chet Faliszek, team lead on Valve's recent best-seller Left 4 Dead 2. "For us and for our customers, this release represents motion-enabled gaming that's more integrated and visceral than any platform has so far achieved."

Via:  PR Newswire
Tags:  Gaming, Wii, PC, CES, Razer, Controller
mentaldisorder 4 years ago

Any clarification on how it is used?  I'm not seeing how you could walk and rotate your character with one wand...

gibbersome 4 years ago

@mentaldisorder Maybe it'll work better with point and shoot games. This could easily replace the mouse. But in order for it to catch on and succeed, the motion sensing system will have to come bundled with a game or two that uses the sensors. Kinda like Wii Sports.

mentaldisorder 4 years ago

How many games are point and shoot?  We don't really play duck hunt anymore,  The hunting games of now involve tracking the animals, we've come a long way in technology, so I hope we're not going back to point and shoot.

gibbersome 4 years ago

Lol, true duck hunt isn't there anymore, but there's a lot of potential here. If this technology really is as precise as they claim then you could do some really neat maneuvers like swordfighting, bow firing, shooting, grenade motions, etc. All the gesture based actions that we thought the Wii sensor would be able to handle.

There's a demo here that might give you a better idea of what I mean and how the product works:



The technology uses a magnetic field generated which detects the controllers in such a way as their absolute position and orientation can be determined instantaneously. From what I've read, there is a lag of about 40 milliseconds and the precision is about 1 mm for position and 1 degree for orientation. They indicate it's much better than the Wiimote because it involves absolute positioning.

mentaldisorder 4 years ago

Ok so what is misleading about the original news post is that you need to use both of those controllers.  I thought that was one controller for each person, hence my initial response.  I didn't actually think that both of those controllers were for one person.  After finally understanding it, I can say that it is pretty cool, especially because it retains two sticks for motion control, howerver i can see it problematic if you need to look up while swinging that sword.  Seems like there would be a steep learning curve to get used to movement through your thumbs, while swinging those controllers.

gibbersome 4 years ago

That's initially what I thought as well. This makes this tech a lot more appealing.

The logistics of where you're sitting with respect to the sensor will be important.

Yeah, I agree about the steep learning curve. I'm hoping that the tech will replace many key commands (such as reloading your gun, throwing a grenade, etc) with gestures. That way you'll be able to use some hybrid button/gesture system for controls. I'm hoping they do it so newbies can feel comfortable using them, but the hardcore gamers can fine tune the gestures to their liking. Something that's easy to learn and hard to master.

rapid1 4 years ago

I would say the Wii is a great place to expand your market to for Razer as well. It has been the most popular console overall for over a year or more now. I have played something on one on new years eve after the party at someones hotel room. SO my knowledge is very slim on a Wii however it was enjoyable with a bunch of people.

gibbersome 4 years ago

The Wii is a lot of fun at first, but the overwhelming trend is for people to discontinue playing it a few weeks after they get it. PS3's and Xbox's see a lot more use than the Wii does after the first year. I played it a lot initially at my gf's house but I wouldn't want to purchase one myself. For me, most Nintendo games are cutesy and lack the depth/immersion that I look for in computer games.

rapid1 4 years ago

Yeah as I said I played a couple games with a group of people after a new years party. I pretty much only play MMO's on PC, but theres nothing really good out right now that I don't have any time on. So basically not much up gaming wise for me anyway at the moment.

Soupstyle 4 years ago

People sit way closer when using the PC vs. their console games, I see a lot more broken monitors if people actually use it.

That being said, I don't know that it would get used much, I personally like my mouse and keyboard combo.

rjr222 4 years ago

I wonder how much running a magnet by this will interfere with the magnetic tracking.

caos420 4 years ago

looks way to gimmicky for me but i'd give it a try.

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