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Leap Motion Controller Ships Pre-Orders May 13, Hits Best Buy Store Shelves May 19 For $79.99

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Leap Motion today announced that its innovative motion controller for PCs will start shipping to pre-order buyers beginning May 13, and will launch in the U.S. at Best Buy locations on May 19. Full retail price for the Leap Motion Controller will be $79.99, the company announced, $10 more than the pre-order asking price.

If you’re looking for an earlier release date than the official retail launch, Leap Motion continues to accept pre-orders for the controller through its own website, for both international and U.S. customers, and American buyers can now also pre-order Best Buy as of today. Pre-orders direct from Leap will be shipped out to customers based on their spot in line. So far, Leap Motion has had pre-orders in the “hundreds of thousands,” the company tells me, though it isn’t releasing more specific numbers.

Leap’s controller ships with built-in support for Windows 7 and 8, as well as Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8. It is bundled with Airspace, Leap Motion’s dedicated app store, where it will offer partner titles that incorporate Leap Motion controls, including games, utilities, art apps and more. Leap is also finally revealing some of those partners, including Autodesk, Corel Painter, Disney games and Double Fine’s music title Dischord. The Weather Channel will also field a Leap Motion compatible app, and ZeptoLabs has made Cut The Rope ready to work with the 3D input device.

product_how-it-works-960497533154791541bf7d004119723d“We’ve talked about our app store as a key way to distribute software that our developers are creating,” Leap Motion VP of Marketing Michael Zagorsek explained in an interview. “We’re not going into it too much right now, because we didn’t want to overshadow the launch date news, but we realize that we really need to shift the narrative of the company more and more to the apps that we’re working to create.”

The app store is a crucial one for Leap Motion to tell. It has managed to secure immense pre-launch consumer and tech industry attention thanks to some very impressive demos of Minority Report-style interaction with the computers we already know and love, but sustaining the momentum it has built will depend on making sure early adopters feel there’s a strong reason to keep using the Leap Motion Controller, rather than forgetting it in a closet. The Airspace software marketplace, which will be both a standalone downloadable app itself, as well as a web-based storefront, will be a big part of achieving that goal.

I should be very early in the Leap Motion Controller pre-order queue, and can’t wait to get my hands on (or floating in the air above, as the case may be) this device. For now, this demo of Realmac Software’s Clear for Mac to-do list being controlled by a Leap Motion Controller will have to suffice.