The Oculus Rift Virtual-reality headset earlier this year to much fanfare, but it was missing something that would have made playing around in the digital world even better: the ability to move your hands independently.
Oculus has released a pair of new controllers, called Touch, which give you a controller to use with each hand. It’s hard for me to overstate how much of a difference this makes in terms of immersion.
Everything feels different when your arm and hand activities are reflected into the digital world. Pointing at objects, getting for handholds and even pulling a trigger are much better with dual controllers. It’s much easier to lose yourself in a world when you’re using your own limbs.
Looking beyond games- something that is vital to the future of virtual reality- the addition of individual controllers for each hand is a big step some of the most forceful Touch experience are not traditional games.
Overall, I still think that the $200 Oculus Touch Controllers are not as good the HTC Vive’s, which come with that headset.
As a matter of personal partiality, I found that the HTC Vive’s controllers tracked with my hands more effectively than the touch. It wasn’t a huge difference, but it was noticeable.
This also doesn’t change my suggestion that the top virtual-reality headset to fit most people’s needs will be the PlayStation VR, if only because the people most likely to want a gaming headset are likely to have a PlayStation already.
And While the Touch is far advanced to the PlayStation Move controllers used for the same purpose on PlayStation, the Rift requires a high-end computer and more space than every person can manage.
Still, there’s no denying the addition of Touch makes the Rift more attractive to those looking for a more in depth virtual reality experience.
The games that Oculus has gathered to work with Touch also suggests that there will be no shortage of developers who want to get on board- at least laying the foundation for virtual reality to avoid the same fate as the once-hot but somewhat disappointing motion gaming fad.
And if you already have an Oculus Rift-or if one is hiding on a high Shelf in your house to be someone’s gift-you should absolutely consider getting these controllers to complete the package.
While the Touch is technically an optional accessory for games, it really isn’t. While you can get a lot of use out of the headset without the controllers, they go a long way to help you encourage yourself that you’re fully in the digital world.
Oculus Touch controllers go on sale Dec 6; Oculus has provided the Washington post with a VR- compatible PC, Rift headset and pair of Touch controllers for reviews.