Sony's gaming division has unveiled a new add-on for its PlayStation 4-powered PlayStation VR (PSVR) virtual reality headset: A rudder-style motion controller, activated by the feet, for seated virtual reality gaming.

Having sold 4.2 million units as of March this year, Sony's PlayStation VR - launched alongside the PlayStation 4 Plus, which includes more powerful graphics hardware to better support the demands of virtual reality gaming - has been a standout success for the company. Sony, however, believes the experience of using the device in seated VR mode could be better - and it has an upcoming add-on it hopes will improve things accordingly.

An officially-licensed accessory, originally designed by an architect who was sick of having to use his hands for rotating and zooming 3D models, the 3dRudder accessory is a circular balance board onto which the player places their feet while sat in a chair. Shifting their balance on the board moves the character in-game, without having to switch to a standing VR mode.

'Shifting motion controls to your feet frees up both your hands for action, giving you the possibility to move and act simultaneously,' explains 3dRudder's social media director Cecile Valery. 'Imagine yourself playing a first-person shooter with a PS Move motion controller in each hand. You come under fire. Thanks to the 3dRudder you can use your feet to dodge incoming attacks and leave your hands to concentrate on firing back, while glancing round for additional enemies. It’s simply a more immersive experience.

'It allows for life-like motion. You can walk straight, sprint while taking a corner or stop exactly where you want to, in a smooth, seamless way. No sticks, no buttons. Inside the device are IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) and pressure sensors which track your movements and translate them to in-game motion. We’ve demoed the 3dRudder at numerous shows and events, and everyone who has tried it has commended the seamlessness of the experience. To use the 3dRudder, you just need to plug it in to your PS4 console via USB. No additional setup is necessary and the device is compatible (and combinable) with PlayStation Move motion controllers, the PS VR Aim controller, and Dualshock 4.'

3dRudder has confirmed that 25 games will support the device at launch, including upcoming title Sairento VR, while the hardware itself launches on June 17th for £119 (inc. VAT). More information is available on the PlayStation blog.


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