Oculus Rift Will Not Have Oculus Touch Controllers At Launch
The much-awaited launch of the Oculus Rift will be early this year. However, the Oculus Touch controllers will have to wait a little bit more. An announcement made by Oculus VR says that the hand controls for its virtual reality headset will not come with the Rift at launch – it faces a delay which will affect the VR headset’s early-bird supporters.
In a blog post on the Oculus VR website, the Facebook-owned company announced that the Oculus Touch will be further delayed until later in 2016. According to the blog post, Oculus VR says: “On the path to perfecting Touch, we’ve decided that we need more time before release, and we’ll now be shipping Touch in the second half of 2016. Pre-orders will open a few months prior to launch… We’ve made significant advances in ergonomics, and we’re implementing many changes that make Touch even more comfortable, reliable, and natural. We’re also implementing changes that improve hand pose recognition.”
Oculus VR has no word on what those changes exactly mean, nor how it changes the affect the unique half-moon design of the controllers. The Oculus Touch controllers were revealed during a June event as two separate controllers to be held in each of the Rift user’s hands. Each has an analog thumbstick, two buttons, plus a trigger, and features haptic feedback. The Oculus Touch controllers are also capable of tracking finger placement on the controller in order to “recognize natural hand poses like pointing, waving, or giving a thumbs-up.”
Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey describes the Touch as “a pair of track controllers” that offer “hand presence, the sense of feeling as though your virtual hands are actually your real hands. This is critical to nailing the sense of overall presence. Once you have your hands involved, you really need tracking to be absolutely perfect, accurate, and low latency, or you’re going to feel like your hands are dead.”
Early adopters of the Rift will have no reason to worry that the VR headset initially won’t come with a handheld controller. This delay in the Oculus Touch has been covered with a partnership between Oculus VR and Microsoft, the latter providing a bundled Xbox One controller with the said VR headset. The Xbox One controller connects to a Windows PC either via USB or wirelessly.
The partnership is meant to give Microsoft a foothold in the VR space, as it does not have a VR device of its own. The two companies are working to ensure the Oculus Rift works “seamlessly” with Windows 10 and will also support streaming Xbox One gameplay from the console to a Windows 10 PC and then to the headset.
The delay does allow Oculus VR to get more pre-production runs of the controller into the hands of more developers. This will give the controllers a broader range of support even if it is months down the line. Oculus is already promising “a huge amount of ground-breaking new content launching alongside Touch.”