Oculus Touch, the motion-based controller designed to accompany the Oculus Rift headset, will not ship until “the second half of 2016,” the manufacturer announced Thursday. In a post on the Oculus blog, the company revealed the delay will allow the development team to continue refining many aspects of the Touch’s design and performance.
“On Touch hardware,” the blog post said, “we’ve made significant advances in ergonomics, and we’re implementing many changes that make Touch even more comfortable, reliable, and natural. We’re also implementing changes that improve hand pose recognition.”
The company also said it has ordered a larger number number of Touch pre-release development kits, so it can “can get a lot more Touch hardware in the hands of developers who need it.”
The announcement follows multiple timed previews in recent months unveiling new games designed specifically for the Oculus Rift, including Rock Band VR, and The Climb, a rock-climbing simulator from Crysis developer Crytek. Though the Rift is a general-purpose virtual reality device, its core fanbase stems from the video game community, which embraced the Rift after Doom creator (and current Oculus CTO) John Carmack endorsed the device.
While that might make the delay seem like a crippling setback, it technically does not affect how users will interact with the Rift on day one. Palmer Luckey initially said the Touch would ship shortly after the release of the Rift in the second quarter of 2016 when he first unveiled the device in June 2015. Prior to the announcement, Oculus announced that the Rift will not only be compatible with Microsoft’s Xbox One controller, but would ship with one in the box.
Oculus assured the public that the Oculus Rift headset will still ship in “Q1” 2016 and that the company would begin pre-orders for the headset will begin “very soon.” Meanwhile, the HTC Vive headset is currently expected to ship in April 2016.
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