Oculus revealed Touch, their VR motion controllers, all the way back in June of 2015, but didn’t commit to shipping the controllers until the second half of 2016. Since the announcement, the controller has seen several design permutations, but Oculus says the controller is nearly complete, and better than ever.
At Gamescom 2016 this week in Germany, Jason Rubin, Oculus Head of Content, told us that the company’s much anticipated Touch VR controllers have improved over time and are nearly complete. He confirmed that the version we saw at E3 was the near-final iteration.
“…at E3 we shipped a new version of Touch that has better tracking, greater distance from the sensors,” he said. “It’s pretty much the final iteration. We’re doing little tweaks always, but we’re pretty much there.”
Exactly how much the controller has improved since the first ever ‘Half Moon’ prototype was revealed back in 2015 is unclear, but Oculus has insisted from the beginning that the controllers are capable of ‘room-scale’ tracking like that of the HTC Vive, even if the company isn’t focusing on that type of usage out of the gate.
As for the release date of Touch (which we know will be coming before the end of the year) and price, Rubin is still quiet, but teased, “Oculus Connect 3… that would be a great place to make some sort of announcement.” (Don’t worry, we’ll be there to find out).
When we tried the latest version of Oculus Touch at E3 2016, we found subtle changes to the controller’s button placements and design. The controller’s ergonomics, slightly refined from earlier prototypes, are still impressive and class-leading by most accounts. This seems to be due not only to the shape of the controller, but also it’s size and close center of gravity.
Earlier this year, Oculus confirmed that Touch would be bundled with Medium—the company’s virtual sculpting tool—and see more than 30 games at launch, with “hundreds of additional Touch titles in development…”
Additional reporting by Scott Hayden.