Oculus Rift is set to launch in the first quarter of 2016, but the Oculus Touch controllers will have to wait. Facebook-owned Oculus VR announced on Thursday that the hand controls for its virtual reality headset have been hit with a hefty delay for early adopters.
In a blog post on the Oculus website, the company announced the Oculus Touch controllers have been delayed until later in 2016.
“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,” the company wrote.
“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 did not specify exactly what those changes entail 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 Oculus 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.”
As quoted by GameSpot, 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.”
The delay of the Oculus Touch controllers doesn’t mean the Oculus Rift headset will go completely without a controller at launch. As previously covered by Inquisitr, Oculus VR partnered with Microsoft to bundle in the Xbox One controller with the virtual reality headset. The controller can connect with a Windows PC using a USB cable or wireless adapter.
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.”
For now, the focus will be on the launch of the Oculus Rift headset in the first quarter of 2016. Pre-orders will open very soon. A announcement will likely come at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 in Las Vegas. In addition to the Xbox One controller, it will come with two games – the multiplayer space dog-fighting game, Eve: Valkyrie, and the colorful platformer, Lucky’s Tale. The former was announced as part of the bundle earlier in December, while the latter was announced on the Oculus Blog just prior to the end of 2015.
This gives the Oculus Rift headset two notably different virtual reality experiences out of the box at launch. The question of price is still present, however. A price is expected when pre-orders launch and Luckey has previously stated it will be well above $350.
[Image via Oculus VR]