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Why Oculus' radical, fantastic Touch VR controller should ship with the Rift

Hayden Dingman | July 20, 2015
Oculus Touch should not be an optional add-on. That's really the moral of this whole article. Ever since I went hands-on with Oculus's motion-tracked controllers, I've been preoccupied by the fear that nobody will ever buy them or use them.

As I mentioned, Oculus will not include Touch with the consumer-grade Rift headset. It's a risk, and one I'm not entirely in favor of. Not only are consumers not incentivized to purchase Touch, but developers are then not incentivized to take advantage of Touch. When I asked Oculus's Nate Mitchell about this, he said, "I think what you're going to see is developers opting into Touch because they can do brand-new stuff, gamers opting into Touch because they want that experience."

In other words, developers will want to work with Touch because Touch is cool.

Touch is cool. Virtual reality is cool. And that's a good thing, because developer enthusiasm has carried virtual reality through its earliest stages and to the point where it's potentially a viable product, even though very few people are making money yet. But if Touch doesn't sell, it becomes harder and harder for even hobbyist developers to justify the additional development time for an alternate control scheme nobody will use--especially when every single Rift owner will possess an Xbox controller.

The PlayStation Eye. The Kinect. The Wii+ adapter. The Sega CD. Video game history is littered with optional peripherals that either underperformed or outright crashed and burned. Of course, none of the aforementioned peripherals have been quite as inspiring or interesting (or functional) as what Oculus has cooked up here--but Touch could still end up on the same path.

 

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