When the Oculus Rift was released in late March of this year, with the HTC Vive hot on its tail in early April, it had a couple of notable absences: controllers and room-scale support. It turns out that this didn’t need to be the case—it was a conscious decision.
Currently, with the Rift, physical movement isn’t necessary, only head movement. Whereas in the Vive, the player is encouraged to walk around their optimized room-scaled room, controllers in grasp, to directly interact with their virtual reality environment. Many said that the Rift shipping without these features was a misstep, but now with the Touch’s impending launch (alongside room-scale sensors), Oculus is looking to beat the Vive at its own game.
“We wanted to give the software some time”
And so here we are: the Touch’s impending release (now delayed to later this year with still no confirmed date) comes months after the hardware’s launch. “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,” explained Jason Rubin, Head of Content at Oculus, in an interview with Road to VR about the late launch. “So more than tweaking the hardware, we wanted to give the software some time.”
The Touch has changed a lot since the hardware was first shown off. Buttons have been altered and moved. Tracking and range have been greatly improved, to which it initially had issues. “[This is] pretty much the final iteration,” Rubin told Road to VR about the latest showcase of the controllers.
A solid game line-up is essential to any console or hardware launch. Unfortunately, many don’t have solid line-ups, most end up boasting shallow technical achievements with no real depth. The Vive luckily had the technicolored Fantastic Contraption to show off its controllers’ building capabilities, but didn’t have much else. But hey, neither did the Rift aside from the dizzying space exploration of ADR1FT. Both systems, the Rift and the Vive, are sort of floundering at the moment, figuring themselves out. If Oculus needs a bit more time to pad out its Touch-supported launch games, then that’s a-okay with me.
There’s probably going to be more news about the Touch at the Oculus Connect conference in early October.