Oculus Rift Consumer Headset, Touch Controller Revealed

The Oculus press conference in LA ahead of E3 has come to a close (though you can watch the rebroadcast here), and we now know what the consumer version of the Rift VR headset will look like, that it will come with an XBox One controller, and that Oculus have developed their own motion controller called the Oculus Touch. Step below for a brief round-up of the most important news from the conference, a trailer showing the headset, and mention of a couple of the new games that were shown at the event.

Here’s a trailer that introduces the look of the consumer headset:

It’s now apparently much lighter than before, has built-in headphones, adjustable lense-positions, and has been designed to be comfortable when worn over glasses.

The conference talked through some of the software that will ship with the Rift, including a platform for distributing games, CCP’s long-teased EVE Valkyrie (which showed the same trailer they released at GDC), and the first footage of Edge of Nowhere, a new, third-person, VR-specific game called by Insomniac Games, creators of Ratchet & Clank and Sunset Overdrive.

Most interesting was the announcement of the Oculus Touch, a pair of wireless motion controllers designed to be used in tandem and to simulate your hands inside virtual worlds. They each have a small, palm-gripped handle with a perpendicular ring at the top. It’s functionally similar to Vive’s motion prototype. They’re designed to be lightweight, have an analogue thumbstick, two buttons and four analogue trigger buttons, its movement is tracked in the same way as the Oculus Rift headset and it offers haptic feedback.

What’s different from the Vive’s prototype is that the Oculus Touch can apparently track your finger positions, recognising when you’re pointing or giving the thumbs up. That makes it sound like it’s doing something similar to the Leap Motion, but it’s unclear how precise that functionality is. No price for the Touch was announced, but presumably, given the inclusion XBox One controller, it costs extra and won’t be bundled by default with the Rift headset.

No price was offered for the Rift headset either, though Oculus committed again to a release date sometime in the first quarter of 2016.

I watched the conference and found it pretty underwhelming, especially in light of what I saw of the Vive at GDC. What did you think?

61 Comments

  1. Clavus says:

    The bundled Xbox Controller at first was a bit of a downer, but you have to be realistic. Vast majority of VR games out there are being made for common game controllers. Xbox controller is supported by default in Windows. It’s a bit of a no-brainer if they wanted to make this system accessible.

    Just happy to see they’re also working on more experimental hand-tracked (and apparently also finger tracking) controllers.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      Yeah, in addition to all the existing compatibilitiy, I also just see it as not delaying the release even further while they perfect their controller.

      Plus, it’s better to take VR-isation one step at a time than risk it all with a giant leap, a full set of hardware that’s full of sticking points — where a game developer’s objection to one part of your integrated solution might prevent them from using any of it.

      • EhexT says:

        The whole idea that they need a controller for the Oculus is ridiculous. “They had to use the Xbone controller because they couldn’t spend money developing their own” is a false premise. People already have a way to control the games they play on their Oculus. It’s called Mouse on Keyboard. It’s plugged into every PC that Oculus will be plugged into.

        Not to mention that “they didn’t have money to develop their own controller” is clearly false too, since they DID develop their own controller. They just also happened to be able to get a LOT of money from Microsoft to include their controller (the worse one of the current generation, just like last generation) in the base package (driving the price up for the consumer, but hey who cares about those guys).

        • Marr says:

          No, expecting first gen VR customers to use WASD as default would be commercial suicide. Headsets like that need a controller that you pick up and hold, or you’re forever squinting down past your nose awkwardly repositioning your hands. They’ve learned the lesson of every console generation since forever: all the hardware has to arrive in the same box, after market peripherals never get mainstream support.

          • EhexT says:

            Yes, of course, first generation VR adopters, to a man hardcore PC enthusiasts can’t be trusted to used a Keyboard. No sir, clearly the cutting edge PC peripheral is going to be best served with a gamepad from an unrelated console.

            Makes sense.

          • Marr says:

            Seriously, dude. You can’t use a keyboard you can’t *see*.

          • Premium User Badge

            particlese says:

            Actually, you totally can use a keyboard in VR, unless you don’t have arms or something. If you use it enough in real life to mostly know where the keys are, it’s no problem at all. If you’ve lost F9 or something, you can feel around for it or — at least if you have a big nose — tilt your head up and look down through the bottom of the Rift. You can totally walk around with a wireless mouse and mouse on your leg or press buttons with it in the air, too. I do all those at times, and Oculus have said many times that they’re going for a seated experience for now, anyway.

            So, I non-trivially object to your categorical statement, but yeah, controllers are soooooo much better if you want to stand up or not have your torso movement restricted for any other reason. I would like to see an option for the headset without that controller for people who already have one or something similar enough (at their own risk), but that would kill the guarantee that all Rift owners also have one specific and fully-functional controller (barring defects), which is an annoying time sink for devs, especially those low on resources. Same thing goes for the headphones.

            Overall, I have vigorously mixed feelings about Oculus these days.

        • TheTingler says:

          You can’t see the damn keyboard!!

          • Premium User Badge

            particlese says:

            If you know your keyboard, visibility is rarely an issue, and the same and opposite goes for controllers. I think I’m reasonably swift with most input devices, but still need to look at a 360 controller to figure out where the lousy A/green button is. Microsoft is a massive knob for trying to avoid a lawsuit from Nintendo, or whatever their reasoning was.

            That said, controllers (in the not-completely-generic sense, of course) are way better for VR for most gamers, who are a significant chunk of the Rift’s target audience. And if you don’t need more than a stick and a button or two, you might even get away with calling them noob-friendly!

          • Grey_Ghost says:

            Lol, I play in a dark room on a black keyboard without a backlight. The only time I even feel compelled to look at it is for typing in chat, which I wouldn’t do on a controller anyway.

            Ya’ll act as if people on PC somehow play their games while constantly staring at their keyboard.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      The vast majority of games out there aren’t designed for VR anyway, and anyone who wants to play with a gamepad can get one. This seems like a deal with Microsoft the amount of times they mentioned their products on stage. I kept skipping through the presentation and they kept mentioning them within seconds. I stopped watching because it was getting ridiculous.

    • Cinek says:

      I really think they’ll offer standalone O.R., without any controller.

  2. ResonanceCascade says:

    The touch is far and away the best hand tracking solution I’ve seen so far. Seems to at least broadly solve a lot of the problems with motion controls without being too cumbersome.

    Very “meh” on the Xbone controller thing. I get why they are doing it, but I hope there’s a SKU where I can just skip it and save some money.

    • Blaaaaaaag says:

      Many times this. I just won’t buy one as long as I know I’m paying extra for a controller I essentially already have, but requires me to switch to Windows 10 if I want to use it.

      I can get over the headphones; if they’re half as decent as Oculus insisted they are on the Crescent Bay prototype, then the improvement in physical comfort might be worth setting my PC350’s aside.

  3. TillEulenspiegel says:

    built-in headphones

    Hm. They don’t look particularly impressive, and decent headphones would probably bump the price of the product by at least $50. If I were actually willing to give Facebook money, I’d hope that they’re removeable.

    • Ethaor says:

      You can clip they off/on quite easily according to the presentation. But I don’t know if the Rift can be bought without one. Doubt it.

      • xyzzy frobozz says:

        That’s a relief.

        I can’t imagine immersing myself in amazing visuals, only to have the immersion broken by poxy headphones.

    • snowgim says:

      Having played Elite with a DK2 and headphones, I can tell you that you will probably want the headphones attached, or at least some elaborate form of robust DIY strapping to keep your regular headphones on.
      Just the simple head movements require to keep an eye on targets in Elite is enough to dislodge most good, large headphones.

      I am also worried about the sound quality, but I think actually keeping the headphones on your ears is the priority here.

      • Cinek says:

        Just the simple head movements require to keep an eye on targets in Elite is enough to dislodge most good, large headphones.” – then get a headphones that fit your size.

        • snowgim says:

          I realise this is a few days late, but I can’t leave a snarky comment without posting an equally snarky retort! It’s a weakness I have, so…

          1. The phrase”size doesn’t matter” is what people with cheap headphones say to make themselves feel better.

          2. My headphones DO fit… shyudap!

          3. They don’t make headphones in different sizes.

          4. Somewhere in 6-12 months, future-you is muttering to himself ‘huh, I guess that guy was right’ as he sheepishly clips his standard issue rift headphones back onto his consumer rift.

          And if I wanted to be extra snarky…
          5. If you’re not worried about your headphones moving when using a rift, then I doubt you have much reason to worry about the sound quality of the rift headphones. :P

          :D

  4. vorador says:

    Finally what i wanted to hear. Lame that it isn’t bundled with the Rift, but at least there’s an official motion tracking controller in the works.

  5. rcguitarist says:

    Oculus just lost my money, Valve is going to get it now. I don’t want to pay extra for crap I don’t need. I have Xbox controllers, I don’t need another. I have $100 audiophile level headphone, I don’t need those cheap junk ones that are built in. Don’t include those and let me buy it for $50 cheaper. What a disappointment.

    • metric day says:

      I can assure you that $100 headphones are NOT audiophile level. Betcha what they have included will be comparable quality-wise.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        Seriously, you think those dinky little things can measure up to, say, the MDR-7506? If we’re talking about the $100 class of headphones.

        You can go a *lot* higher in price for different/better audio quality, but those remain my favorite headphones, despite owning an AKG pair at about 3x the price.

      • Premium User Badge

        gotno says:

        i’m just logging in to +1 the mdr-7506s. best quality/price-point combination ever. there’s a reason why you see them in the vast majority of pictures or video of professional musicians in studios. the reason is they sound fantastic and even a professional musician can afford them :)

      • Boothie says:

        Not in any way an audiophile but i refuse to believe that the bundled solution on the rift could measure up to some headphones worth even 50$ much less double that

        • Hedgeclipper says:

          Facebook is subsidising the headphones so they can use their new sub-aural advertising system which is why when you’re playing you’ll get sudden urges to drink a mass market carbonated beverage, help a Nigerian prince and extend your penis (frequently all at once).

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            You made me want a coke :(

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            That sounds expensive, luckily I’m a Syrian duke and if you help me wire my fortune to your bank account so I can escape ISIS I’ll give you 15%!

          • Unclepauly says:

            But I’m already doing those things.

          • Marr says:

            Remember, we were never promised flying cars, we were promised a brutalist cyberpunk dystopia.

          • Applecrow says:

            And you guys laughed in my face when I sent in my proposal for Cherry Spam Viagra Sprite….

    • Stardog says:

      So you’ll buy inferior hardware you’ve barely seen just because it’s Valve?

      Fanboy logic there.

      • Nibblet says:

        Seeing as how the specs on the vive are superior the only fanboy logic here appears to be yours.

        • Asurmen says:

          Speces were the same from what I remember.

          • Asurmen says:

            Nope my memory is failing me. Still, I’d like to point out that specs aren’t everything. We’ll see what produces the better more accurate representation, rather than just instantly going vive because of a few small issues.

    • xyzzy frobozz says:

      Heh!

      $100 audiophile headphones….

  6. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    I wonder if Facebook users get a discount.

    • Cinek says:

      It seems like Facebook users will be able to use their account in that new Steam-wannabe store. An non-facebook users will be forced to make an account and join that BS if they want to use store.

  7. Ethaor says:

    Highly underwhelming and disapointing presentation. We’re just being fed the same PR elements we’ve had for a long time.

    No specifics whatsoever, they haven’t even talked about screen resolution… that’s like one of, if not the most critical thing. What about its weight, how about some pricing? Nope. “Hey look at our new hardware, it’s great! you’ll want one! Revolution! It’ll even have games!”

    A proprietary game plateform? Everyone wants a peice of Steam I realize that. But no gamer in its right mind wants yet another gaming store plateform, Origin, Steam, Uplay. Hopefully we’ll be able to use the Rift without it.

    All in all I really think the Vive will easily win the gamer’s heart, pending pricings.

  8. metric day says:

    They really dropped the ball. Touch was supposed to be Palmer’s pet project, that it isn’t included with the Rift in favor of an Xbox controller says it all.

  9. tonallyoff says:

    YOU TOOK TOO LONG, sit back down

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Sadly true. I was without doubt a superfan of Oculus a while back, but watching their community tear itself to pieces and endless massive over-promises fail to materialise, it was like the Vive just came along effortlessly and wiped all that away. Reading the Oculus forums or reddit just gives me a massive stomach ache and sense of futility nowadays. The tech remains awesome but the egos and self promotion assembled around it is embarrassing. People thought because they bought a DK2 they were about to get a personal email from Palmer Luckey to come and give their ideas on the future of VR to the Oculus board. It was just weird and became massively wearing. I love the tech but it will take a seriously impressive set of games releases on the vive to get me back to the level of enthusiasm I had before.

      • MrUnimport says:

        I’m completely baffled by this comment. A bunch of meganerds dreaming wildly on the internet has no bearing or relation to the quality of the actual product.

  10. Pliqu3011 says:

    The partnership with Microsoft worries me a bit.
    IIRC a while ago they said they’d “pause” the development of the Oculus SDK for OSX and Linux, and I wonder if this has something to do with it. I really, really hope completely cancelling development for other OSs was not part of the deal to bundle the Xbox controller.

    • Cinek says:

      Both of these are too small markets to bother – if I were them I would do the same: Scrap it and perhaps come back to the topic after Rift goes retail on a PC, but still wouldn’t urge it. PC gaming is on Windows, whatever penguin and apple teams want it or not.

      • Janichsan says:

        Both of these are too small markets to bother…

        A bunch of developers/publishers would disagree with that. You might have heard of them: 2K, Blizzard, CD Project Red, Valve, Epic… you know, no one important…

        • Asurmen says:

          You mean a bunch of developers that also develop for PC and the majority of their customers are on Windows?

          • Janichsan says:

            And now read the posts before yours again and think about how you missed the point here…. ;p

          • Asurmen says:

            I have. Point still stands. Those markets are too small to develop for. That a few developers throw the tiny gaming populations a bone as a way of thank you doesn’t change that. That’s why support in those two markets is coming later, because it simply isn’t worth the effort doing it now.

    • Applecrow says:

      More and more I feel like MS’s promise to make PC gaming a priority for Win10 was a smokescreen for ‘combining’ PC gaming and Xbox gaming, with a heavy preference for only one of those.

      So I don’t see this so much as OR coming bundled with a console controller; more like OR coming bundled with Xbox Live dependent feature-requirements.

      Its this simple: PC gamers wanted a piece of hardware, and what we got is more console ecosystem exclusivity ‘features’.

  11. horrorgasm says:

    Oh hey good news though, you will be able to stream Xbox One games to the Oculus via Windows 10 now (though if your PC can handle an Oculus you probably have no need for this function anyway) except…they won’t be in 3d, they’ll be shown on a virtual 2d tv in a virtual living room environment? what. the. fuck.

  12. Sic says:

    I want to give Palmer money because he was the guy that started this whole craze. He deserves something. Maybe not money, but my praise is trading at an discount, I really am quite sure he doesn’t want it.

    That being said, I’m leaning heavily towards Valve right now. I’m not interested in any sort of MS hardware. I’m buying the Valve controller. Period. I’m also interested in just the actual hardware I need. My gaming computer is sitting in my studio. My cheapest DAC costs more than your VR headset, Palmer. I just want the best VR hardware, no more, no less.

    • neondertal says:

      Just to clarify. Palmer already got a lot of money Sic, from Facebook, when they bought Oculus off. Buying the Rift would mean giving money to Facebook, not Palmer.

      That said, the whole “VR Revolution” gets less and less exciting with every day.

      • Cinek says:

        With so many delays – no wonder. IMHO the winner will be whoever releases it first. Specs, 3rd party support, bugs, etc. nothing will matter. People will jump on whatever gets out first.

        • Ethaor says:

          They didn’t even mention resolution except for one phrase “probably not as high as you guys want it yet”. Given how they seemed to oversell everything that they could on that presentation it’s safe to say that if the OR had a good resolution they’d have bragged about it like a mother and her newborn.

          Everyone agrees that 1080p is far from sufficient in the DK2, a higher resolution is mandatory. But if they had managed to reach 4K half the presentation would have been on that. Which leaves us to an underwhelmingly reasonable 1440p for cv1.

          • Ethaor says:

            Woops *not even 1440p sorry. Just 2160×1200.

          • Cinek says:

            IMHO resolution of VRs will be a problem through the entire 1st generation, no matter the manufacturer. 20% difference isn’t such a huge deal. An ideal solution would be a VR based on variable density display going around 12k equivalent in a center, but that won’t happen any time soon.

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            The relationship between resolution and quality is very different with VR than it is with a regular monitor. Higher resolution displays often have worse screen door effect.

            The much more important questions people should be asking: which display handles black better, has less motion blur, has better color, and has less obvious screen door effect? You would think that higher resolution = better pixel density = less SDE, but in reality? Nope.

            Resolution will work itself out over the coming years as manufacturers get better at making VR panels, but right now there are other artifacts in the displays that need to be fixed before the extra clarity you get from a higher resolution will even matter.

            My money is on the Vive and Rift being pretty damn close in overall subjective quality.

        • MrUnimport says:

          First-gen smartphones and cars didn’t “win” the market forever and ever for their respective companies. I don’t see why the Vive will be the be-all and end-all if other companies push their own VR, especially budget vs premium models.

  13. Tekrunner says:

    the Oculus Touch can apparently track your finger positions, recognising when you’re pointing or giving the thumbs up.

    Hey look, it’s Facebook’s contribution to the project!

    Sorry, couldn’t help.