Facebook finally moves past gamepad-only VR, as Oculus Touch pops up for pre-order
If you threw down a wad of early-adopter cash for an Oculus Rift and expensive gaming PC, your money still only got you slightly half-baked VR – with its gamepad-only nature. That changes soon, with Facebook's Oculus Touch controllers going up for pre-order today.
We've been playing with Touch at Oculus events for well over a year, and on an ergonomic level, these are the best motion controls in virtual reality: The Vive's controllers do the same thing, but they're a bit thicker and more phallic in hand vs. Touch's smaller nunchuk-y feel.
Touch includes two games: wizard dueling title The Unspoken (we found all the spells to be a bit tedious and too-hard-to-remember in our half-hour demo) along with VR Sports Challenge (fun enough, but expect over-the-top, arcade-y stuff, a la NBA Jam).
Your controller purchase also includes a second positional sensor, to give your standing VR better accuracy. And while Oculus only made quick mention of this at last week's developer conference, the Rift/Touch will also support room-scale (free-roaming) VR if you buy a third ($79) sensor. But we didn't get any demos of this or the Guardian boundary system, which prevents you from smacking into walls, pets or befuddled family members, at OC3. Given that, we suspect true room-scale won't be the norm at launch.
Still, it's one less thing the HTC Vive can hold over the Rift – assuming all works as advertised.
If you own a Rift and have $200 to spare, you're going to want to order Oculus Touch. And if you pre-ordered the Rift early this year (and checked the box to save your place in line for Touch) you'll be at the front of the queue, provided you place your order with the same email by October 27.
They start shipping on December 6, missing Black Friday and squeezing in ahead of the holiday cut-off about as closely as you'll see with big consumer tech releases.