GDC 2018: Oculus’ Hardware Reports Reveal Less Than Half Of Gear Owners Use Motion Controller

by Jamie Feltham • March 23rd, 2018

This week, Oculus launched a brand new Hardware Reports system, intended to give Rift and Gear developers an insight into what types of CPUs, smartphones and operating systems VR users are utilizing. The reports are open to anyone and everyone, though, and they reveal a somewhat surprising statistic about Gear VR and its compatible motion controller.

The report, which is updated daily with information gathered over the past 28 days, reveals that less than half of Gear VR owners are currently using the headset’s remote-like controller, which was introduced last year. Today’s reading states that 59.1% of users do not have a controller.

The statistic isn’t hugely shocking given that the controller was only introduced last year and Gear has been on sale since late 2014. It’s now bundled in with every Gear VR sold while existing owners can pick one up for around $30, so that figure will surely grow as time moves on. Still, with a vast number of games on Gear now utilizing the device’s three degrees of freedom (3DOF) motion controls, we’d hoped to see wider usage of the kit one year on from its reveal.

That doesn’t mean Gear VR owners without the controller are helpless, though. The device has an on-board touchpad that can be used for basic interactions and many of its apps can be controlled with gaze-based interactivity, too. You can even pair up a gamepad to play some titles.

Either way, Oculus’ Go headset, which is essentially a standalone version of Gear VR without the need for a mobile phone for $199, will come bundled with a very similar motion controller, so everyone on that platform will be using it.

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  • Another Opinion

    I wish there was more differentiation between tracking VR headsets and headsets like GearVR. The latter are doing damage to the general perception of VR when grouped under the same umbrella.

    • Rothgarr

      It’s possible, but for me even using Google Cardboard was the gateway for me. After seeing the potential from cardboard, I went out and got a PSVR some time afterwards.

  • gothicvillas

    Because the 3dof controller is rubbish

    • mirak

      It’s fine to navigate menus.

  • Rothgarr

    I couldn’t find anywhere in the report where it say how many Gear VR units are in use. I was under the (incorrect?) impression that most people don’t go out and buy these mobile VR units, but instead get them for free as part of some bundle when upgrading their phone contracts.

    • Shawn MacDonell

      Most of the Gear VRs out in the wild were given as part of by S6/S6 edge/S7/S7 edge bundles for pre-orders and purchases (last official number was around 5 million Gear VR units IIRC), these offers did not include the Gear VR Controller as it was before it was introduced probably explains why there’s a lack of controller users.

  • Courtney A Jeff

    The gear vr controller has brought new life to a headtracking only device.It surprisingly brings a motion controller into the game and compensates for headtracking only and a lack of positional tracking.The flight games with this controller feel like your using a virtual flight stick and war thunder uses only controller support or wired flight sticks.I also have a cv1 and really like this invention for gear vr.Praise Jesus my Lord and Savior.

  • polysix

    and this is news how?

  • Xen Alkalistone

    Um… Perhaps that hand is busy…