The Story Behind the PS VR Aim Controller

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The Story Behind the PS VR Aim Controller

How the latest PlayStation peripheral enhances FPS in virtual reality.

May 16 marks the launch of our big-budget PlayStation VR shooter Farpoint, and from what I’ve played it’s set to be one of the medium’s defining games.

But the date will also see the release of the PlayStation VR Aim Controller, a sleek device that seeks to become the standard-bearer for VR first-person controllers. It’ll be available in launch bundles for Farpoint, and separately in limited supply.

I wanted to carve out some space to further investigate how this fascinating controller came to be, and also get a look ahead at future games that will support it.

To kick things off, our hardware design team in Tokyo shares some insight on what it was like to actually design the controller.

Designing the Aim Controller

With Takeshi Igarashi, VP of Peripheral Design Dept., Hardware Design Division, Hardware Engineering and Operation (Hardware Director), and Taichi Nokuo, UX Platform Design, Corporate Design Center (Product Designer).

Evolution of the Controller
Takeshi Igarashi: We first began working on the Aim Controller when we got the idea that using a weapon-type controller to play a PS VR shooting game will make it a much more immersive experience. Initially, we attached a DualShock 4 to the PS3 Sharpshooter to explore what sort of form factor, weight balance, and button arrangements work best to make it more intuitive.

Taichi Nokuo: I tried to make the design of the Aim Controller as simple as possible. It was important that the player can use it safely and comfortably with the PS VR headset on, and that the controller can be used as any type or form of weapon inside the game.

I made the intentional decision for the controller to not resemble an actual weapon, so that anybody, from children to adults, feel comfortable playing with it.

Button Placement
Igarashi: We prioritized the position of the trigger button and analog sticks, which are imperative in a shooting game. We placed the face buttons around the analog sticks, so that players can move their thumbs around intuitively without having to ungrasp.

Shape and Form
Nokuo: The smooth pipe form factor allows the player to play safely and precisely even with the PS VR headset on, which blocks the view of the outside world. I think this is ideal for a controller.

The buttons are not scattered around the controller, but are simply and strategically placed where players naturally place their hands. The design is minimalistic but also original, which makes it unique.

Nokuo: I hope players are able to experience a whole new level of immersion that they may not expect from a controller with such a simple and minimalistic design.

Igarashi: Please enjoy an intuitive gaming experience that is achieved through camera tracking and the controller’s button layout, delivering smooth and natural controls.

Farpoint is one of several upcoming PS VR games that will support the Aim Controller. Some of our developers below describe how it is integrated into their game, and how it helps enhance immersion:


Seth Luisi, Impulse Gear

From the very beginning of development on Farpoint, we wanted to have a way to physically connect the player to the game and bring them that much deeper into the world we were creating. That would turn out to be the PS VR Aim Controller. With it, we’ve been able to make shooting and aiming more natural and intuitive — once you have the controller in your hands you know instinctively where the buttons and triggers are. The 1:1 tracking also makes for a more skill-based game because the precision removes any need for aim assist.

ROM: Extraction

Adam Orth, First Contact Entertainment

ROM: Extraction was originally developed with a unique game mechanic of Throw, Slow, and Shoot. By having a motion controller in each hand you could spawn and throw Orbs with one hand, slow down time, and then strategically shoot them with the Sentinel pistol using your other hand for maximum effect. It was a mechanic that could be easily learned, and was a helluva lot of fun.

When the opportunity came to bringing ROM onto the PlayStation VR platform we wanted to preserve the fun in that mechanic but add a new twist by using the new Aim Controller. We felt that if we did it right we would be able to open up a whole new and equally exciting way to experience ROM.

After some iterations with the PlayStation Aim we always came back to an Orb Launcher attachment of some type. In the end we attached a grenade launcher to our EOS-15 Rifle model as well as matched it to how the Aim controller felt in both of your hands; in effect we achieved a 1:1 representation of what you are holding. It was an instant hit. We modified our motto to Launch, Slow, and Shoot.

With the PlayStation Aim, we are able to achieve a deeper sense of physicality than with standard motion controllers.

For the rifle-style weapons we wanted to bring to ROM, holding the Aim two-handed gives additional precision and stability to the in-game weapons, in addition to adding a stronger sense of connection between the real world and the virtual.

The controls themselves are comfortable and intuitive. As we look towards expanding ROM, the Aim offers us a number of features that line up nicely with various mechanics that we are considering for the future.

The Brookhaven Experiment

Phosphor Games

It was always our dream as little kids to be able to take the arcade shoot ’em up into our living room. We could have never imagined that more than two decades later, not only would we be able to play these types of games at home, but we’d be playing in a completely immersive VR environment.

When we set out to make The Brookhaven Experiment, our goal was to recreate that kind of visceral feeling from the arcades. But we wanted to ratchet up the stakes with 50 foot tall monsters and creatures coming at you from all angles with all the different weapons you could hope for, just waiting to be chosen. Something was missing, though… we didn’t just want to see the rifle anymore, we wanted to feel it, too.

That experience from the arcades was tied to that experience of holding something real in your hands. So, consider ourselves lucky when Sony announced that they were releasing the Aim Controller for PS VR. Without a moment passing by, we wanted to be the first game to support it. And, as we worked to integrate it, that feeling came back. Not only was our vision immersed… the feeling of holding the weapon in our hands changed how the game affects us mentally, too.

It’s an exciting time to be a developer and PlayStation has created a playground for us to create the kind of memorable experiences that we hope will inspire future game devs more than two decades from now. That’s what we strive towards and we’re so excited to see people immerse themselves one step further on Wednesday, June 26 when The Brookhaven Experiment adds Sony Aim Controller support.

Comments are closed.


  • Will the first sharp shooter work with this game???

  • I really wish you made it look like a gun. Especially a gun from farpoint. The move sharpshooter will always be my favorite gun controller and you should have supported it from the start on PS4.

  • bigmansavagedan

    Can’t wait to try this out. Got my farpoint bundle pre-ordered when it was first announced;) awesome to see other developers integrate it into their games. Doesn’t really matter what it looks like as long as it feels right;) the vr will make it look the way it suppose to look in the game;)

  • Can you explain more on button functions/analogs to what the game uses it for. I’m familiar with the sharpshooter through killzone and resistance and using the move to turn based on screen positioning and using the navigate analog to move. Is the rear analog for turning your view?

    • I played Farpoint at PSX Experience last December. It was awesome. You don’t use the analog sticks to move your view, that would be silly because you have a trackable headset on. Your view moves when you look somewhere to move it. The analog is for walking. Just picture holding a gun in real life. That’s how it works. If you want to ADS, you physically lift the rifle to look down the sight. Seriously, this was awesome you guys. The buttons are used for reloading and other stuff I don’t remember, sorry. To change your weapon you physically bring your arm up to your shoulder as if you’re grabbing a shotgun on your back. You’re going to want to pick up this game.

    • Victoryismine52

      You can change a lot of that in the settings I personally went with the back stick doing small turns like RE7


  • Socom REMASTER please!

  • Thank you for “The Story Behind the PSVR Aim Controller”.

    Now, I’m ready to hear “The Story Behind Where You Can Get A PSVR Aim Controller Bundle That Contains the DIGITAL Version of the Game”.


    • Unfortunately the answer is NOWHERE – for some reason Sony expects you to buy it twice if you want it digitally.

  • I’m really excited for this but I need to know how long of playtime we get when its fully charged. How exactly will Brookhaven work with this? Brookhaven uses 1 move for the gun/throwables and the other move for flashlight!knife, how will it transfer that combo into the aim?

  • I am so excited this. Please don’t disappoint.
    Amazon will deliver

  • Definitely picking one up just hope game store gives me credit for the game ( as I am getting Farpoint digitally )

  • Always glad to see a well thought-out controller that seems to make gaming better (for certain kinds of games). I bet someone could make a really great VR cross-bow game that uses it too :-)

  • We need sega house of the dead and virtua cop series remastered to psvr, plus namco time crisis and point blank games.

  • What, they can’t recycle the ps move for this one?

  • well am glad only the fanatics well get suckered in this gimick. I wil LMAO when they announce a rip off price for an accesoory. :D

  • BEST GAME EVER. I pre-order in best buy a few weeks ago, but last week, i went to walmart and i saw it, ask if i can buy it and they said YES…. Big mistake. after that i notice the rest of the farpoint games in the store were taken by an employee to the back of the store.

  • A butt stock is needed. Maybe a removable accessory, but your arms will thank me if you add one.

  • My question is who is going be the first developer to let you use both the aim and the move at the same time? Auto rifle and a handgun anybody?

  • What about people living in 2017 that don’t want physical media? Surely I can buy the controller by itself, and purchase the game digitally, right? Or a bundle of gun and digital code? No? Oh, I see, I’ll just go f**k myself, shall I?

  • Victoryismine52

    After playing farpoint with the aim I really want RE7 to add support for this!

  • Well that kills it for me. Not paying a huge price for another gun controller. I have the old gun controller an I hoped it would work like how the ps3 sticks work with the vr already. Thought it might be the same. I’ll wait for it to come down. That an since it’s only about 4 hrs of play… I’m not hurting for stuff to play.

  • I hate holding rifles without a shoulder stock, so I already know I’m gonna be ****ed at this thing all the time.

  • I would love to see a Socom VR. Blizzard needs to get together with the original Socom designers and come out with a remake of Socom 1 VR or a SOCOM Trilogy VR with Aim support. Yes Yes & Yes! I have the last Socom with sharp shooter support on PS3. A lot of people didn’t like it but I liked it. I’m still using my same move controllers on my PSVR. LOL

  • I *love* the controller, and Farpoint is really fun! Activision needs to take note because a Call of Duty that supported this and PS VR would be an automatic purchase for me.

  • What about real games like bloodborne, lords of the fallen and shdow of war for using it?

  • Something very importand!does it plays without vr?like moving the controller and show the target on the tv.

  • The Farpoint Bundle is SOLD OUT! everywhere in the tri-state area.
    whats going on with the shipments SONY?!

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