Valve this week revealed the newest version of their upcoming ‘Knuckles’ VR controllers which have graduated from the ‘EV’ prototype distinction to ‘DV’ dev kits. While Valve has yet to offer any indication of launch timing, the latest refinements suggest the final version is near at hand.
Knuckles is Valve’s next-gen VR controller which is loaded with sensors that the company hopes will make VR more immersive by bringing more of user’s natural hand dexterity into the virtual world. In addition to being able to sense which buttons or sticks are being touched—similar to Oculus’ Touch controllers—the handle of Knuckles has capacitive and force sensors inside which allow the controller to detect full finger movement and even grip strength.
Having publicly shown off the Knuckles VR controllers for the first time all the way back in 2016, development of the device has seemed in the intervening time. That is until 2018 when the company became a little less secret and began showing off more significant progress with the EV, EV2, and EV3 Knuckles prototypes.
This week Valve revealed the latest version, Knuckles ‘DV’, which company is now referring to as a “dev kit” while calling the EV-series “prototypes.” Changes from EV3 to DV are largely refinements to the feel of the controller, along with tweaks which seem focused on bringing the fit and finish up to consumer-ready levels. Here’s the breakdown:
- Cap Sense
- Capacitive sensors have been rearranged to accommodate more hand sizes
- Firmware has been updated to take advantage of the new sensors
- Trigger spring strength increased
- Trigger click feel improved
- Increased durability of strap adjustment connector
- Strap adjust feel improved
- Fast charging improved
- Fixed pairing bugs
- Improved stability
- Thumbstick feel improved
- Force sensor variation reduced
- LED light leakage minimized
- Improved fit and finish
- Improved reliability
Developers can request one of the dev kits through the Steamworks Partner Site via the ‘request Beta Hardware’ link. Valve says it’s making Knuckles DV “available in quantity,” though still expects that developer demand will outstrip supply.
Valve previously said that it was sending out “hundreds” of EV2 prototypes, and it sounds like DV will be available even more widely. At this point we expect that the company is already doing small manufacturing runs of the controllers and refining their manufacturing process in tandem with the controller in anticipation of wider production.
With the latest improvements to the controller, 2019 is looking like an increasingly good bet for a release, though the company has been extremely tight-lipped about a release date. Whenever the release date does come, many are expecting that the controllers will launch alongside one of three VR games that Valve has confirmed are in development.