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Oculus has announced that they are delaying the Oculus Touch, the companion controllers for the Rift. They are delaying the launch of the Oculus Touch wireless controllers into the second half of 2016, so they will miss the first quarter launch window that the Oculus Rift will have when it finally becomes available on the consumer market.
Game Informer spotted a quick blog update that was made over on the Oculus website, where the team revealed that the highly praised wireless controller(s) are being pushed back further into 2016.
The reason for the delay comes in the form of the Oculus team making changes to the ergonomics of the controller... they state that they're “significance advances”. They're also making some changes to make the devices more reliable and “natural”. And despite some hands-on previews claiming that the controllers already have fairly good movement-to-recognition precision, the team behind the devices feel as if the hand-pose recognition could be improved.
While the Oculus Rift itself will launch sometime in the first half of 2016 – tentatively targeting the first quarter of 2016 – the Oculus Touch controllers will be made available to consumers sometime in the latter half of the year. Hopefully it's no later than E3, otherwise they'll lose a lot of mind share due to all the other big devices and games being unveiled during that time.
They do note on the blog that pre-orders for the Oculus Touch will be made available a few months prior to launch, so whenever the pre-orders open up you can expect the Touch to be made available shortly thereafter.
According to a lot of hands-on impressions from around the web, the devices are a lot more intuitive than the original Wii-mote and Nunchuk were. The devices have built-in infrared sensors that sync up with the infrared readers within the Oculus Rift headset. This allows the Rift itself to read movements from the Touch and relay that information back into the software, creating a 1:1 feedback loop of whatever it is you're doing in real life to display within the virtual world itself.
The Touch controllers are wireless and have no physical connectivity between each other. Both controller devices are identical in design and are made to fit into the left and right hand. The top of the controllers feature two face buttons and an analog stick. There are two more buttons beneath the face – one is a trigger for the middle finger and the other is a button on the back of the elliptical core.
The design is quite intuitive, and the Touch looks very comfortable just based on the screenshots alone. My only worry is that it may not have enough buttons for games and software not exclusively designed for it. The four face buttons and four trigger buttons would only make up for around half the buttons available on the DS4 and Xbox One controller.
Then again, maybe that's what the delay is for...they're making sure that you can use the controllers with more than just VR exclusive software made for the Rift? I guess we'll find out later into 2016.