Oculus, the Facebook-owned virtual reality company, has recently come out with many gamer-centered updates to its VR platform and now the company’s Oculus Rift VR headset will get a gaming companion — the Touch Controllers. The controllers have been showcased at Oculus events in the past, but the public release date is scheduled for Dec. 6.
The controllers will cost $199 a pair. An additional camera sensor, costing $79 would make the controllers capable of working in HTC Vive style “Room Scale” VR, which lets players move around and play.
Here are five features of the soon-to-be-launched controllers:
1. 'Touch' capabilities
Touch controllers work by combining motion tracking with space tracking, just like PlayStation VR Move controllers. They can also work like a standard game controller, responding to feedback from the buttons. Their USP is that they only need one of the sensors to be positioned toward the headset, which means that no matter how you are holding them, you won't be blocking the access with your body and therefore, be able to play seamlessly if you are holding a controller in each hand.
Touch combines the form factor of traditional controllers with its own design. The controllers not only have analog stick and buttons, but can also sense finger proximity — a user can just raise and lower his/her finger to get a VR response in the game. The company also has apps made specifically for the controllers such as Virtual Western Shooters and painting software.
The controllers also provide vibrating feedback and work on a standard AAA battery, expected to last 20-30 hours on a single charge.
2. First Contact
Oculus First Contact is a feature that will be included in the Touch controllers when they go on sale. It creates a VR environment so that the user can use Touch in a virtual '80s sci-fi inspired Wi-Fi room. A robot resembling Nintendo’s R.O.B (Robotic Operating Buddy) will explain the device usage.
Other VR experiences such as summoning digital butterflies and firing toy guns are included in First Contact. The company has not yet confirmed if the feature will be free for all Touch users.
Oculus has announced a new concept called “Avatars” that will let players make virtual representations of themselves. The software development kit has been opened to developers but users will only be able to experience them if they have Touch controllers.
4. Asynchronous Spacewarp
The Touch controllers will come equipped with Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) — a technique that will predict the position of a gamer’s headset and create a synthetic image frame out of it. This technique will allow apps to run at 45 frames per second, so as to remove lags, even on lower specification devices.
5. Games Support
At launch, Oculus Touch will have support for several games, including:
- The Unspoken
- Dead & Buried
- Superhot VR
- VR Sports Challenge
- Dead Hungry
- I Expect You To Die
- The Climb
Support for other games such as Luna is expected to be rolled out soon.