People have been writing and talking about virtual reality headsets since 2012. However, the subject of virtual reality headsets had always been qualified by phrases such as pre-release version, prototype, and developer kit. That was until early 2016 when the Oculus Rift launched their first virtual reality system – about four years since the company made people start believing in virtual reality headsets.
When the Oculus Rift first launched, it had no legitimate competition, which is why it seemed incapable of doing wrong. Founded via a kick-starter campaign, the company was supposed to lead the virtual reality revolution. But then, came the HTC Vive — and its connections to the established and popular Steam store — and suddenly things didn’t look too good for the Oculus Rift.
In addition to that, the Oculus Rift couldn’t handle room scaling and didn’t have motion controls which made it very difficult to recommend over its pricier rival. Since then, a lot has changed in the VR market, for instance, the arrival of the PlayStation VR – doesn’t quite stand up to the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift specs-wise, but it’s less expensive and works with any PlayStation 4 console. But the Oculus Rift is back, and this time around, it seems determined to reclaim the VR throne which many once saw as its birthright.
New Touch Controllers
When the Oculus Rift first launched in March 2016, it was just an Xbox controller and a headset. Unlike the PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, it didn’t come with real Virtual Reality hand controls. It was not possible to move anywhere – all you could do was sit down and play games. It had promised exciting things but the reality didn’t meet expectations.
The new Oculus Rift boasts of new, excellent touch controllers which you can combine with the strategic pivots for the ultimate VR experience. It’s fun to use, comfortable, and has the most ergonomic motion control VR setup. The Oculus Touch comes with excellent palm-hugging ergonomics which is something none of its competitors — including HTC Vive — offers.
The Oculus Touch comes with wireless controllers. These controllers double up as the tools you get to use as your hands in virtual spaces. The Oculus Touch wireless controllers are like split-apart gamepads that you can hold with two hands. They have the regular analog sticks and regular buttons, but the most remarkable thing about the Touch controllers is their motion sensing capabilities.
The PlayStation VR and HTC Vive also come with handheld controllers, but they are short of some controller button functions and look a lot like wands. You can play VR-enabled games as well as regular games with the Touch. The motion sensing capabilities of the Oculus Touch and its wireless controllers can make you feel like you are somewhere else.
The Oculus Touch’s palm-hugging capability isn’t the only thing that sets the Touch apart from its competitors. Its motion sensing capabilities play a critical role towards making sure that you get the best VR gaming experience. It’s the little details, for instance, being able to raise your thumb and give a virtual thumbs-up or lift your index finger to point at something in virtual reality.
Neither the Vive nor the PlayStation VR offers such capabilities — this is what many refer to as pseudo finger tracking feature. The controllers know when you lift these digits because the Oculus Touch has placed capacitive touch sensors on the surfaces of the controllers. Those fingers aren’t actually being tracked with external sensors as some would have you believe, we are not there yet. That would be the true level of ‘finger presence.’
360 Degrees Tracking
In addition to the sensor that ships with the Oculus Touch VR setup, the controllers include a second sensor in the packaging. There are a few caveats when it comes to tracking — which is admittedly pinpoint accurate. For instance, the games that the Oculus Touch launched in late 2016 only allow you to face forward or sideways as they were designed to track in 180 degrees.
What this means is that turning back and blocking the sightlines between the sensors and your hands is practically impossible. You will run into some blind spots where tracking with your hands can get really wonky if you turn away from your standard 2-sensor set up. You will have to get a solution for that, and in this case, another sensor would be ideal.
Luckily for you, the Oculus Touch comes with an option that allows you to order a third sensor. The third sensor kit also includes a long extension cord which goes for a little less than $60. The third sensor allows 360 degrees tracking by sitting behind you. The 360 degrees tracking eliminates the blind spots that you will come across with the standard 2-sensor setup.
Oculus Touch Setup
The Oculus touch has done a great job at giving users the best gaming experience with its hardware and software as well as its fit and finish. Technology is a core part of Oculus’s DNA, and it easily draws comparison with giants such as Microsoft and Apple. Everything about owning the Oculus Touch as well as the gaming experience is intentional, and the setup is not much different.
Setting up the Touch isn’t much different from the Rift. The Oculus Touch wizard directs the users with both text and images and bit by bit; the software will smartly confirm the connections. It’s a fairly easy process. Besides setting up the sensors, the wizard lets you know if you forget to plug in one of the components. This feature provides a sense of confidence in case something goes awry.
This may seem like a trivial feature, but that’s one less thing you will have to worry about in the event that after completing the setup, your Oculus VR headset doesn’t seem to be working. But as far as we can tell, everything on the setup works perfectly. It’s after setting up and the screen appears that you may encounter some issues.