Oculus shows off new motion controls at pre-E3 show

Oculus VR’s big pre-E3 press event took place yesterday, where it told us a lot about upcoming developments with its VR technology. We learned about the hardware inside the consumer version (CV1) of the headset, we learned about the games that are going to be available for it, but most importantly, we learned about the new motion controllers. Originally called Half-Moon and now called Oculus Touch, the new hardware is impressive, likely expensive and not coming until probably after the CV1 headset is released.

This was bad news for those that were expecting an HTC Vive like motion controller system right out of the gate. Instead, all CV1 headsets will ship with an Xbox One wireless controller, which while great for certain games, doesn’t offer that same level of interaction that real hand controllers can.

That’s why Touch is exciting. It has dual hand tracking, thanks to the Rift CV1’s base station and has all the buttons and sticks necessary for movement and interaction in VR. However beyond that it also has triggers, letting gamers fire guns and use them for gripping objects in the virtual world.

Palmer channelled Balmber in his first showing of the new motion and gesture controls.

Palmer channelled Balmber in his first showing of the new motion and gesture controls.

On top of that, we learned that basic gesture controls are also registered, so gamers will be able to give each other a thumbs up, or point and wave at certain parts of the world to indicate different things.

In terms of comfort and functionality, Oculus designed the Touch to be a tool that can be picked up and put down with ease, letting it rest on its semi-circle undercarriage comfortably.

The questions that remain at this point mainly relate to pricing and availability. How much will these devices costs when released? How much will the development version cost (which was confirmed later) and will they bump the price of the Oculus Rift system to more than people are willing to spend? Hand controls and tracking is one of the biggest features outside of top notch visuals that people want in VR and if adding that costs a comparable amount to the headset itself, getting people to pay may not be easy.