Oculus says they could have shipped Touch alongside the launch of the Rift back in April, but explains why they’ve been biding their time.
Despite delaying their Touch VR motion controller to the latter half of 2016, Oculus says the hardware could have gone out the door on day one.
“It was possible for us to launch the first Touch device when we showed it, and everyone said ‘this is awesome,’ we could have shipped it,” said Jason Rubin, Head of Content at Oculus, speaking with Road to VR at Gamescom 2016 earlier this month.
Although a strong hardware foundation was there, the company didn’t want to put the hardware out before they felt there was an equally strong software base to support it, Rubin explains.
“[If we launched Touch with the Rift] there would have been a bunch of demos and a few good titles (like Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption) […] we wanted to give our developers enough time to really create a launch line up, a good slate of titles that would last hours as opposed to minutes of enjoyment, and we think that that takes time. So more than tweaking the hardware, we wanted to give the software some time.”
Given that decision, Oculus opted to continue tweaking the Touch design to improve both ergonomics and performance as developers continued to toil away on the software side.
“Developers are really happy with what they’ve got, and we didn’t want to release it until we were happy with the ergonomics, every button was in the right place, everything was perfect,” Rubin said.
Indeed, we’d seen several iterations of Touch now, with varying button placements. Rubin also said that the very latest iteration was “pretty much the final iteration” and that it had improved tracking performance and range.
Although Oculus said they wouldn’t openly sell a Touch development kit available (as they had done with the Rift), they committed to sending out a substantial 5,000+ dev kits to select developers prior to the launch. While the company still hasn’t announced a price or release date more specific than ‘Q4 of 2016,’ we’re expecting to hear much more about the controllers at the forthcoming Oculus Connect developer conference on October.
Additional reporting by Scott Hayden