Oculus Makes Major Announcements
During a special Oculus conference, the company made many announcements about they're upcoming Virtual Reality console, the Rift. Founder Palmer Luckey took the stage to talk about a lot of features of the consumer version of the Rift. The VR System is supposed to be very "lightweight", fitting on your head like a "baseball cap". Thankfully for us glasses wearers, the consumer version will accommodate glasses better, which was a major problem with the prototype.
The headset comes equipped with custom display and optics options, along with removable headphones, allowing players to detach them and use their own. The other part of the Rift is a tracking sensor that sits on a stand, which players set up to allow their movements to go into the virtual reality.
After this part of the presentation, Microsoft's Phil Spencer took the stage to announce Microsoft's partnership with Oculus and that the Oculus Rift will ship with the Xbox One controller. Not only that, but the Rift will work natively with Windows 10 and will allow game streaming between the Xbox One and the PC.
After Spencer left the stage, Luckey returned to the stage to announce the Rift would also have it's own controller, the Oculus Touch, though it would not ship with the Rift, but become available a few months after the Rift. Oculus showed off a prototype of the Oculus Touch called the Half-Moon. The Half-Moon is interestingly designed, being two separate pieces, each with 2 buttons, 2 triggers, and an analog stick. The prototype could best be described as a controller's handles being split from the rest of the controller.
"One of the first things that a lot of people do [in VR] is they reach out into this virtual world," said Luckey. "We wanted to create an input device that actually lets people reach out, that lets those people interact with objects in the virtual world. We wanted to deliver hand presence and the sense of feeling, as though your virtual hands are actually your real hands."
"We have a matrix of sensors inside Oculus Touch that can actually get a sense of where your finger is," Oculus Vice President, Nate Mitchell clarified afterwards, "It's relatively basic in terms of—we're not talking about knowing exactly where all your fingers are—but for the basic gestures that Palmer talked about, whether we're talking about pointing, or the hand trigger that we have to like pick up things, and that sort of stuff... it enables a pretty cool set of hand poses that do make it really effortless to pick up stuff in the world, toss it, and do those kinds of actions that you can't do with a gamepad."
The Oculus Rift will ship alongside the Xbox One controller in the first quarter of 2016. The Oculus Touch did not get a full release date, but is expected in the first half of 2016. No prices were given on any product. More news will likely come at this years E3, so stay with us for more updates.