A Guide to HTC Vive’s Wand Controllers

What you need to know about the standard HTC Vive controllers.

Unlike the Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR, the HTC Vive comes bundled with its tracked motion controllers as standard and has done since launch. This was one of the factors that led some early adopters to choose the HTC Vive over the Oculus Rift.

How to Use HTC Vive Controllers

In order to make use of the wand controllers, it is first necessary to set up the Lighthouse base station units that come bundled with the HTC Vive, this is due to the Vive controllers utilising tracked motion control from the Lighthouse stations. For ideal use, the set-up area should be a minimum of 1.5m by 2m. Once the controllers are turned on for the first time, they will automatically be paired with the headset, a status light will blink blue while the pairing is taking place and will turn solid green once pairing is complete.

HTC Vive controllers have a track-pad, trigger, a grip buttons, menu button, system button, status light and several tracking sensors that are located on the outer ring of the controller. It is important that these sensors are not covered or obstructed. Further information can be found in the diagram below.

Apps and Games Compatible With Vive Controllers

Since the tracked motion controllers come bundled with the HTC Vive, the vast majority of HTC Vive titles use the motion controllers by default. There are some exceptions, usually for titles that have been ported from other platforms. Steam, of course, shows the controller set-up for every title, so users can check if the title they are considering uses the Vive controllers or not.

Long-Term Application of Vive Controllers

The motion controllers currently serve as the default control option for HTC Vive users. Since they come bundles with all HTC Vive purchases, its easy to see that continuing for some time. However, the upgrade is on its way in the form of the Knuckles Vive controllers, which boast accurate finger-tracking in addition to the current Vive controller’s capabilities. However, the Knuckles controllers are not yet commercially available and it will take some time before there is a large install base even after release. The Vive controllers are easy to use, ergonomic and ubiquitous among Vive users. Expect the standard Vive controllers to dominate for some time to come.

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