In the VR market, the Oculus Rift has so far been the only headset available without any form of hand or gesture controls. The Vive shipped with two wand controllers and room scale sensors in its launch bundle and Playstation VR, coming out next week, is compatible with previously defunct Playstation Move controllers, allowing players to simulate touch within their VR experiences. The Rift has so far relied on its included Xbox One controller to allow players to interact with in-game environments, with the promise of motion enabled hand controllers to come.
Those controllers were revealed to be the Oculus Touch, and yesterday Oculus announced they will launch on December 6 for US$199.
The Oculus Touch bundle includes the two hand controllers, two games (VR Sports Challenge and The Unspoken), along with an extra sensor to bring 360 degree tracking to the Rift. Extra sensors will also be made available to further enhance tracking, for US$79. Polygon also reports that some Rift games may require the usage of the Touch controllers, potentially fragmenting the headset’s player base if they’re not widely adopted.
Australian pricing for the Touch and tracking sensors are yet to be confirmed but will most likely be slightly higher given the Rift jumps from US$599 to US$649 (before shipping) once Australia is selected as a region. But assuming it’s not by much, at the current exchange rate and factoring in the previous US$132 for shipping, the complete Oculus Rift package in Australia will set you back US$980 or just shy of AU$1300. This brings it pretty close the current cost of the HTC Vive, which comes in at US$817.27 plus US$201.73 shipping, totalling to around AU$1343.
The VR market is about to get very interesting, as the Oculus closes the gap between itself and the Vive, along with Playstation VR making a play for the average consumer’s living room this coming Thursday. Will this technology remain a niche, tech enthusiasts’ thing or will it take off? We won’t really know for a good year or so, but this is potentially where it all starts. I’ve been pretty sceptical in the past of VR’s place in our everyday gaming lives, but I’ll happily be proven wrong.