It might not be the best day to announce anything Oculus-related, but Microsoft has revealed something pretty great for Gear VR and Minecraft fans.
The Xbox One controller will soon support Oculus and Samsung’s mobile headset, as confirmed on the official Xbox website. An exact date hasn’t been given, but the pad will first be integrated with Minecraft: Gear VR Edition in October and will be on display at this weekend’s Minecon event. Following that, other controller-enabled games like Omega Agent, End Space, and the Herobound games will add support “in the coming months”. Those are the only confirmed games right now, but hopefully support for other titles like the upcoming Gun Sight is also on the way.
Detailed instructions of how to connect your controller to Minecraft have already been released.
It’s a shame platform-wide support can’t be added in one go, but this is still far better than nothing. It comes as great news to many Gear VR owners that haven’t yet purchased a Bluetooth gamepad for their headset. Gear VR compatible gamepads can be expensive but many people are likely to already own an Xbox One controller either for their console or PC. That’s especially true of anyone that owns an Oculus Rift, as every unit sold since March of this year has included the gamepad along with the wireless adapter needed to connect it to a PC.
It should also mean good things for the Gear VR platform as a whole, as the vast majority of experiences are controlled using the on-board touchpad, which limits how much interactivity players can have with a world. By expanding the support for controllers on Gear VR, we’ll hopefully see more experiences that utilize a wider ranger of options.
The update will arrive just as we’re expecting to see a full reveal of Google’s first headset for its own mobile ecosystem, Daydream. Each Daydream headset will be supported by a motion controller, which users need in order to access content. Will this advanced form of control give Daydream a leg up over Gear VR? It’s certainly a possibility.