R-Handle - a new type of game controller for PCs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and VR.
Update (26/10/2018): In March 2017, we wanted to start a campaign on Indiegogo, we also submitted an application to the certification program from Arrow Electronics and were accepted. This program is valid only for Indiegogo campaigns that have started crowdfunding. But then we did not start a fundraising campaign, because, we realized that we must first complete the development and have a full set of technical documentation for the device.
The following text was written at the end of 2016, but has not lost its relevance:
We develop a game controller for all platforms (PCs, consoles, mobile devices, etc.). We have already received a patent for invention and we have made a working prototype.
We think that the game controller invented by us surpasses all modern game controllers, even produced by such companies as Sony (PlayStation), Microsoft (Xbox), Valve (Steam Controller) and all others.
We believe that precise control in computer games is one of the ingredients for success in the gaming industry and therefore we believe that we can revolutionize this field.
This was a brief answer, more details are described below.
A look at the problem and its solution from our point of view. The problem is considered in the example of the gaming console market, also applies to cloud gaming.
A number of large companies are present in the console market, the largest among them are Sony and Microsoft. Notably, the market share of Sony is twice as big as Microsoft’s.
Other companies are also present in the console market, but they sell a slightly different device type and so, currently, they are not our direct competitors. Besides, Atari recently announced its desire to return to the game console market. But this is just an announcement.
Sony and Microsoft sell almost similar consoles and gamepads that vary only in design. These two manufacturers are in severe competition with each other, but none of them is able to achieve a decisive superiority. To do so, they implement new technologies in their devices (for instance, 4k resolution support, VR support, etc.), but it does not provide a decisive superiority, since the other competitor has also access to the same technologies. Nevertheless, in spite of improvements made, the market of their game devices is steadily declining, giving place to mobile devices and PCs. Existing competition makes the two corporations sell their consoles almost at production cost to maintain the price level acceptable for consumers. They make main profit from their paid game services. Also, to attract consumers they make investments in development of exclusive game content. Special game versions are developed for consoles that are adapted for controlling by a gamepad; but nonetheless, such games as Dota 2 (10 million gamers), League of Legends (100 million gamers) and other MOBA genre games remain inaccessible because it is impossible to adapt them.
At the same time, the competitors are constantly trying to expand the game range for their consoles, for instance, of such multi-user games as: Counter-Strike, Battlefield series, Overwatch and other dynamic network shooters. These games fall within the most popular genre, FPS (First Person Shooter), but due to peculiarities of controlling a gamepad many gamers prefer a keyboard and a mouse. For this purpose, third-party manufacturers make devices allowing to connect a keyboard and a mouse to consoles, which is fundamentally contrary to the console philosophy of maximum comfort gaming, when a user does not have to sit at the table while gaming, as well as to upgrade PC components. This fact demonstrates that gamepads do not fully satisfy the users. Moreover, even manufacturers themselves have recently started to ensure support of keyboards and mice for their consoles.
This illustrates that Sony and Microsoft do not actually understand how to achieve an increase of the user audience. That’s why they even take the above mentioned measures to attract new users, which is also contrary to the console market concept. If this trend continues, then over time consoles will disappear having turned into PCs. It is obvious that due to lack of new ideas they destroy their console business themselves.
The device developed by us is called R-handle, it combines the properties of a computer mouse, keyboard and a gamepad. This input device is based on an absolutely new concept. It’s main part is the hybrid of a modified trackball and a mouse. That is, inside the optical computer mouse body there is a sphere that plays the role of a table surface. Thanks to this, high accuracy of cursor controlling is achieved. Unlike R-handle, which, like a mouse, is controlled by the whole hand, all gamepads are controlled by thumbs (analogue sticks and trackpads), which does not allow to achieve high accuracy of controlling. And high controlling accuracy is a decisive factor in most computer games. So, due to peculiarities of gamepads in the console market certain game genres are almost unavailable (for instance, strategies and MOBA).
In this regard, the example of Valve Corporation is telling. This company’s developers have absolutely correctly determined that gamepads are the weakest point of the console gaming. They tried to enter the console market with a project called ‘Steam Machine’. To do so, they took the right way by developing their own gamepad Steam Controller that has some properties of a computer mouse. But the main controlling elements of Steam Controller are trackpads, which, like analogue sticks, are also controlled by thumbs. This does not allow to achieve high accuracy of cursor controlling, since thumbs are not adapted to high accuracy.
As a result, after three years of development of its own game controller, Valve Corporation was not able to change the situation in the console market, because when developing Steam Controller they had used outdated concepts.
Update about Steam Controller (14/06/2020): We just learned this news and it looks like we were the very last to know it. It turns out that in the fall of 2019, Valve withdrew its device from sales. As explained by some analysts, the reason for this was the inconvenience of this gamepad when setting between different games. This is very strange, because this device was recognized by many as an undoubted step forward in the field of gaming. But we are sure that the main reason is not at all in this. We are sure that Steam Controller left the stage because, in fact, to control games, it turned out to be no better than competing gamepads from Sony and Microsoft, because Valve engineers were unable to get away from thumb control for aiming.
With regard to the VR market, in our opinion, it goes for sure to a dead end, since one of the main reasons of its failures is the absence of a suitable game controller. What is offered today to control the game process in VR, are devices that one needs to move in space waving hands, which will never provide high accuracy of controlling.
Here, it is appropriate to once again remember the Atari company and its project called Ataribox. Taking into account the problem described herein, which is the vulnerability of the whole console market, it is absolutely incomprehensible what they can count on, if they decide to enter the market with a gamepad based on outdated concepts.
Update: Atari campaigned for Indigogo and raised $ 3,000,000. In our opinion, this is a failure for such a well-known brand.
Analyzing the console market development, one can clearly see that both the companies producing game consoles and independent developers have been constantly searching for a replacement of a keyboard and a mouse, but nothing worked out for them. We think that they just did not have enough imagination.
Based on the foregoing, we think that our device, R-handle, will become an excellent replacement for a traditional gamepad and will have a positive impact on the capitalization of the console and VR markets.