Virtual reality is about to change the way users interact with their computers, and we’re right on the cusp of seeing sales get underway for two of the industry’s most promising headsets: the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. But an immersive VR experience needs more than just a fancy visor, and for users to truly feel like they’re inside a virtual world, they’re going to need a way to interact with it. Back in June we saw the formal unveiling of the commercial Oculus Rift, in preparation for its Q1 2016 release, and also got a look at a prototype Oculus Touch – a pair of VR-ready hand-held controllers. The plan was to have Oculus Touch sales ready to go by the middle of next year, but now it looks like that target’s sliding back.
Instead of a mid-2016 release, we can now expect Oculus Touch shipments to begin a little further out, sometime in the second half of the year. Oculus VR isn’t getting much more specific than that, and instead talks about taking the time to do things right, performing extra pre-prodcution runs as it further refines the accessory’s design.
Granted, the Oculus Rift won’t arrive without any form of input at all – the plan all along was to ship the headset with an Xbox controller. And while that will certainly let users interact with software, it’s not going to do much to help them really feel like they’re part of the new virtual worlds they set out to explore.
We also have controller options from third-party accessory companies, but it still would have been nice for the Oculus Touch to arrive as soon as possible. We’ll just have to take heart in knowing that it’s still on its way – if a bit further down the road.