New VR developments from Oculus stoke anticipation for Touch controllers

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Oculus Avatars are a tool for more social, personalized VR game play

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Facebook-owned VR company Oculus seeks to stir up excitement ahead of the upcoming release of its new Touch controllers. Today, it announced an additional bundled title, a game-changing development in graphics rendering and developer tools that hint at a more social future for VR.

The new title Oculus First Contact will be bundled with Touch controllers. These hand-circling joysticks pair with Oculus Rift so you can use your hands in virtual reality. They may call for an adjustment period, so First Contact is an entertaining orientation to all the interactions made possible by Touch. It joins other Touch-bundled titles Dead and Buried, The Unspoken, and VR Sports Challenge.

Additionally, a technology called Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) is included in today's Oculus software update. ASW is a graphics rendering technique that is efficient enough to dramatically lower the minimum specs for gaming PCs that power the Rift experience. This should be welcome news to anyone interested in copping an Oculus Rift but has been turned off by the high cumulative price tag.

ASW works by mimicking a 90 frames per second rendering speed (the benchmark for realistic VR) using half the amount of frames. That means it's possible to get the same experience on a less powerful PC, which lowers the overall minimum cost of a Rift-ready setup. New graphics and processor minimum specifications for the Rift are Nvidia 960 or greater (down from Nvidia GTX 970/AMD 290 equivalent) and Intel i3-6100/AMD FX4350 or greater (down from Intel i5-4590).

Lastly, a new SDK for developers indicates that Rift users can expect an increasing amount of social game play in the future. Oculus Avatars, which launches alongside Touch on December 6, allows players to make a custom VR representation of themselves through which they can interact with others. The Avatars SDK is being released today, so more games start integrating avatars into the VR experience.

Oculus Touch is available for pre-order now and ships on December 6.

Source: Oculus

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