Oculus is delaying the Touch tracked controllers until the second half of 2016. They were originally slated to ship in the first half of the year. If HTC and Valve can ship the Vive as planned in April that will give it some lead time in the market with a full room-scale VR solution and tracked hand controllers.
Here’s the text of the blog post from Oculus:
On the path to perfecting Touch, we’ve decided that we need more time before release, and we’ll now be shipping Touch in the second half of 2016. Pre-orders will open a few months prior to launch.
Rift remains on schedule to ship in Q1 with pre-orders launching very soon.
On Touch hardware, we’ve made significant advances in ergonomics, and we’re implementing many changes that make Touch even more comfortable, reliable, and natural. We’re also implementing changes that improve hand pose recognition.
We’re also outputting larger numbers of pre-production runs, which means we can get a lot more Touch hardware in the hands of developers who need it.
There will be a huge amount of ground-breaking new content launching alongside Touch. We shared a handful of early previews at Oculus Connect 2 in September, but we can’t wait to show you what’s coming next.
The feedback on Touch has been incredibly positive, and we know this new timeline will produce an even better product, one that will set the bar for VR input. We appreciate your patience and promise Touch will be worth the wait.
Getting the hardware right is essential for giving developers the tools they need to develop great VR experiences but the announcement is definitely a blow to Facebook as it means the complete Rift experience is also slated to ship behind Sony’s PlayStation VR, which is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2016.
Rift is still set to be first to market bundled with an Xbox One controller for games like space fighter EVE: Valkyrie and platformer Lucky’s Tale, each of which are also bundled with the headset. Standing experiences, however, and ones in which you can freely walk around a room and use your hands to play with virtual objects offer a completely different level of immersion and interactivity. This is where HTC’s Vive will shine and details regarding the latest Vive “breakthrough” are likely to be revealed next week. Overall, the delay by Oculus adds a very interesting wrinkle to the competitive landscape developing for high-powered wired VR.