Oculus Touch Controllers Delayed Till Later In 2016

The Oculus Touch has been delayed. Originally planned for release in ‘Q2’ of 2016, the VR motion controllers are now due to arrive in the back of the year according to an update on the Oculus site. The Rift headset remains on course for release in the first quarter of the year, with pre-orders “launching very soon”.

The header image represents my feelings.

Oculus Touch is a set of two motion controllers, with one meant to be held in each hand. They’re then tracked in 3D space, allowing you to see representations of your hands in virtual reality, and to reach out and pick up and move objects in a manner similar to your actual hands. Motion control has been a thing for a long time now, but it’s especially important for games where your eyes are entirely covered by screens, and where you’d be unable to see the buttons of a 360 controller or similar.

That means it was a shame when Oculus announced last September that the Touch wouldn’t arrive at the same time as the Rift, and an even bigger shame that it’s arriving even later now.

The reason for the delay is simply that Oculus say they need more time. “On Touch hardware, we’ve made significant advances in ergonomics, and we’re implementing many changes that make Touch even more comfortable, reliable, and natural,” says the blog post. “We’re also implementing changes that improve hand pose recognition.”

Delays happen and developing new hardware takes a long time. Does this put you off buying the Rift though, perhaps in favour of the HTC Vive and its similar motion controllers?

30 Comments

  1. Clavus says:

    The first wave of Oculus games use a gamepad anyway, so I’m still ordering a Rift ASAP (which is any day now). It’s going to be an interesting year for sure. I’ll probably get a Vive too once Valve properly unveils what VR content they’re bringing themselves, because right now its line-up is lacking somewhat.

  2. Replikant says:

    I’ve been pretty hyped for VR ever since trying out the Rift DK1. Still, I’d rather have them get it right than fail miserably with a rushed launch, thereby delaying then VR breakthrough by another decade or so.
    Of course, I am also waiting for some new hardware to become available (most notably the graphic cards die size shrink, my GTX460 is showing its age), so I don’t really mind if the HMDs launch in Q3/Q4.

  3. SpinalJack says:

    Having tried both hand controllers (and developing for one) I don’t see the point of having a headset without them as they are a game changer. Gamepads aren’t even a stop gap. Just hold out before buying.

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      SuddenSight says:

      Could explain this to those of us who haven’t tried VR gear at all? I don’t normally look at the gamepad when I’m playing, so the idea of using a gamepad blind doesn’t sound like a big deal to me. However, the only motion controls I’m familiar with are the iPhone accelerometer and the Wii controller, both of which require careful alignment all the time. Honestly, the idea of using motion controls blind sounds more difficult to me.

      • Luringen says:

        You’ll see a representation of your hands/controllers in-game, so you’re not using them blind.

        • Asurmen says:

          That’s only relevant for games built around that sort of representation though.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      This seems a fairly consistent sentiment for VR developers and others who have used the new controllers. Yet, despite this, I regularly see people who dismiss the new controllers and are only interested in traditional controls (or worse, where they think it’s some sort of toggle in traditional games). So many miscalibrated expectations with VR.

  4. theodacourt says:

    I still can’t decide between any of the VR options, regardless of control method. So I guess I’d be waiting it out with this delay or not. The Press I’ve read so far has just said “this device is wonderful” about everything, so there’s really no differentiation between them for someone who hasn’t tried them all first hand. Not many people are so lucky.

    • Cinek says:

      Well, for me it’s simple – Oculus got most VR titles, including all of the VR games that I care about, so… not much to think about, really. It’ll likely become de facto standard for VR gaming on a PCs (which has it’s disadvantages – I’d love to see more open standard – but I don’t care enough to skip it because of that).

    • ButteringSundays says:

      If you can’t choose between either then the obvious choice seems to be the one that doesn’t further enrich Facebook (financially and otherwise).

      I’m a bit disappointed more people aren’t saying the same thing to be honest – it put me right off the Rift.

      • Asurmen says:

        That’s only if you’re, you know, Anti-Facebook.

      • Erayos says:

        Like you, I’d rather buy the Vive and forget about the Oculus Rift (Facebook being one reason).

        I think the biggest problem is the “fog” we’re in (or at least the one I’m in, I’m probably not informed enough), concerning how open VR is. I mean, if not buying the Oculus Rift makes me miss half of the games I’m interested in, not buying it is definitely not worth it.

        That being said, I’m not going to lie, if I need both VR options to play all VR games, I’ll probably buy them both…

        • Thurgret says:

          I’m so doubt-ridden about Valve hardware in general that I’d lean quite heavily towards the Rift myself, despite Facebook.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Yep, exactly. I have no idea if this is going to turn into a VHS vs Betamax situation where it’s 2 completely different platforms or if stuff will be made for “VR” and work with both without the developers needing to do too much work.
          Certainly if it’s the former there is no way all these different VR options will be able to exist for long. It will be 2 at the most and even then one will most likely become dominant with all the others becoming expensive door stops within a couple of years.

      • Rindan says:

        Meh, the fact that Facebook owns the company doesn’t cause me any lost sleep. I won’t care until Facebook actually does something sketchy with it. Right now, as far as we know Facebook is just shoveling money at the problem and making no effort to exert any real control.

        Honestly, I’ll buy which over one is first unless they both hit at nearly the same time; in which case I’ll buy the one with the best reviews and the most compatibility. I have an original Kickstarter Rift and I fucking love that thing, even in its awful state. I am as solid on VR as a human can possibly be. I just want the damn thing yesterday.

  5. Cyroch says:

    I’ll just wait and see how the VCR vs. BetaMax war turns out. If there is a winner. I still see a good chance for the entire VR craze going the way of the Dodo pretty soon after its inception

    • caff says:

      Laser discs are the future, actually.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      VR will definitely survive in my opinion, whether it’s for gaming though remains to be seen in my eyes. Stuff like watching movies in a virtual cinema on a virtual 100 foot screen grabs my interest more than a lot of the games stuff I’ve seen so far.

      • Cyroch says:

        Granted, outside of gaming I see some use for them. Virtual stadium tickets or access to live concerts for example I could see happening.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Exactly. I think this will help a lot though. People don’t necessarily need to buy this one with the sole use being a handful of games and hoping there are going to be more made. This should hopefully mean a big enough install base for companies to see the worth in sinking decent amounts of money into VR games.
          It should help avoid the “chicken and the egg” scenario at the start.

  6. Cinek says:

    Well, that is disappointing, but I still have few other options… mouse&keyboard (yes, I can play with M&K and Oculus), HOTAS, HOSAS (aka twin-stick), HOMAS (mouse&stick – best setup for Star Citizen), wheel for racing games, and a controller for whichever games don’t support neither of the previous options.

    I hoped to buy Oculus Touch as soon as it gets released, cause it seems to be an outstanding replacement for the controller (which really feels like a crippled option with a VR), but I guess I can wait… I could stand all that waiting for Oculus, so I guess I’ll stand waiting for O.T. >_>.

  7. waltC says:

    I predict VR will be one of the shortest-lived fads to hit the tech sectors…the big news for the next couple of years will be the drive towards very affordable 4k gaming, both with single GPUs & ~28″ & up monitors.

    • Clavus says:

      So easy to pick out the folks that haven’t tried VR. It’s the most revolutionary gaming tech in decades, that doesn’t revolve around increasing the number of pixels or the amount of shader passes you can fit on one screen.

  8. waltC says:

    Keep forgetting I can’t edit anymore…! VR was a 90’s pipe-dream spawned in the CRT era when 20″ monitors weighed 60lbs & up. Today, it’s too little, too late, imo.

    • Asurmen says:

      And 20 year old VR has absolutely nothing to do with current VR so I can’t see where you’re coming from.

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    Harlander says:

    One thing that this new wave of VR is really going to need is some kind of standard API so that games can easily work on rival devices. Graphics card manufacturers realised this eventually. Hopefully headset makers can learn it the easy way.

    • Slackar says:

      There is one. It’s called OpenVR (from Valve). It was designed to be adaptable to other headsets but I am unaware as to how well it actually performs that task.

      • Clavus says:

        They’re still working on it. It has support for several headsets, but with Oculus for example they’re running behind on the latest features. That’s one of the big reasons why there are Oculus-exclusive titles coming up, companies don’t want to change their pace to Valve-time.

  10. Chaz says:

    Well I’m up for which ever one is best. From all the hands on previews I’ve read so far of from people at shows etc, that appears to be the Vive.

    So I shall eagerly wait and see. It’ll depend on how good the tech is and the price of course. I shall certainly be buying one of them though, but right now my money’s on the Vive.

  11. monkey_mischief says:

    Say what you want. I’m excited for VR 3D naughty stuff.