Just months ago, Oculus VR faced 2 pressing questions. The first was simply asking after the release date for the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD). The second was concerned with input and what the company was doing to solve what is the biggest challenge that the technology currently faces. Its solution turned out to be Oculus Touch, a pair of controllers featuring buttons, triggers and even analogue sticks that are also capable of motion tracking and gesture recognition. But why did Oculus VR wait so long to reveal its device and, more importantly, what makes Oculus Touch better than PlayStation Move and the SteamVR controllers?
That’s something that CEO Brendan Iribe recently explained in an interview with Wired. “The important thing is hands, being able to look and see your own hands looking natural is something we’ve really focussed on,” Iribe said of Oculus Touch. “We’ve waited to reveal it and we wanted other people to reveal their own stuff first, so no-one was adopting our stuff and doing their own ways first. We went with a lot of ways but our Touch device is the path for the future.”
According to the CEO, studios will start moving to work with Oculus Touch once they realise the benefits it offers over other control ‘sticks’. “I think you’re going to see a lot of developers changing path to go our way, because holding a stick in your hand isn’t going to work in the world. You really want to see your hands. The Rift brings a visual presence, Touch brings hand presence and that amplifies the entire experience to just reach out and pick things up,” he said.
Oculus Touch won’t actually be launching with the Oculus Rift itself next year. The HMD is scheduled to arrive in Q1 2016 with the controller arriving in H1 2016. In the meantime the Oculus Rift will be bundled with an Xbox One controller. VRFocus will continue to follow the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch closely, reporting back with the latest updates on their progress.