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Oculus announces new Touch hand-tracker and details first games for the consumer-edition Rift

Hayden Dingman | June 12, 2015
"So...when's the consumer version of the Rift coming?" I've been asking Oculus that question since the first time I strapped one over my eyes, and every time co-founder Nate Mitchell would give me a rueful shake of the head. "We don't know. It's coming."

A third game, Chronos, showed a brief trailer — again, in third-person. And again, I don't know how it plays. It looks like it involves moving around a labyrinth.

At least we saw a few games, though — and all of them will be available next year. That's the one big thing that Oculus has going for it right now: We need games, we need experiences to show off VR that aren't just hobbyist demos — and Oculus has them, thanks to staffing up on the dev side.

Prepare for an Oculus-Valve VR smack-down

Now, the big question is whether it's enough to beat Valve? And the answer: I honestly don't know. I'll admit: After trying the Vive, I'm a bit disappointed by the Rift's lack of get-up-and-walk-around VR. On the other hand, Valve's device is probably going to cost quite a bit more and require a lot of space to take full advantage. The Rift is pretty easy to get up and running with.

And of course, there's also the release date issue. The Vive is expected to launch later this year. The Rift won't launch until early 2016. Oculus doesn't seem too worried, but I can't help but wonder what sort of effect launching first will have on the competition.

It's ambiguous. I honestly don't know which will come out on top, though I expect we'll have a better idea coming out of E3 next week. That'll be the first time we'll get to go hands-on with a lot of what Oculus showed today.

Either way, I'm excited. We're near the point where these devices will be real. They'll be things you can touch, buy, and play with instead of simply words on a page. Will people embrace virtual reality? Will it overcome the stigmas, silence the naysayers, and become (as I hope) the future (or at least part of the future) of gaming?

We'll see. I'll have hands-on impressions of the Consumer Rift literally as soon as I can strap one to my face. Stay tuned to PCWorld for more!

 

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