Yesterday we spent some time at the Oculus Connect event, where we were able to try out the new Samsung Gear VR, as well as get some hands-on time with the Oculus Rift. We already gave our reactions to the Gear VR, but now we want to focus on Oculus Touch as well. While the Rift is a PC-centric VR solution, and not based on Android, it is really cool. As for the Oculus Touch? Basically, this is a unique VR-optimized controller for the Rift, which is designed to take your VR experience to the next level.
One of the things we really liked about the HTC Vive when we saw it at MWC was the VR platform’s touch-centric experience that also let you physically walk around the VR environment. With the Oculus Touch, you get a somewhat similar style of interaction. Most of the earlier experiences we had with the Oculus Rift were with a traditional controller, and with us simply sitting down and playing, so it was cool to see that it is possible to set-up a real-world room for VR interaction with using the Rift and the Rift Touch controller.
With the Touch in play, you can physically walk around just like with the VR, but the inputs here are more geared towards the gaming aspect with controllers that wrap around the hand, and then the circular areas where the contacts are communicate with the computer and sensors to give you 1-to-1 access to where your hands are. The actual shape of the controller is pretty much in the shape of a gun, which was fitting, considering the two demos I played with were of gun-slinging variety.
The first demo was a shooting gallery of sorts, were I had two pistols, and it felt a bit like an old western-style shooter. Focusing on the controllers, on the bottom portion where your middle finger you’ll find a grabbing button that allows you to better interact with your world, hold up your gun, etc.
The second demo was really cool, which was called Bullet Train. You start on a train and can teleport around the world by holding the A button (one of the space buttons on the top), so you can teleport forward. Once the train stopped, I was in a train station where all these soldiers were after me. What was really great about this one was that you could teleport to your enemies to disarm them, to escape, and so forth.
Combining the Oculus Touch controllers with the Rift really put in the shoes of a first person character in a way you wouldn’t get without VR. Of course, the controllers aren’t just for 1st person shooter fans. There were also workshop and toy box type games were you had to grab and manipulate parts of the world and so on.
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HTC Vive’s solution used a wand that was a bit like a Wii controller or PS Move, but the way that Oculus Touch works actually seems a bit better suited for the hardcore gamer type. Overall, I really enjoyed my time with the Rift and with the Rift Touch, and it is great to see VR continually evolving and being pushed forward with each passing month.
Are you looking forward to the commercial launch of the Oculus Rift? How do you think it will compare to solutions like the HTC Vive? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.