Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe is promising the highly anticipated Oculus Touch hand controllers will ship in large numbers in the final quarter of 2016.
This narrows the shipping window for the Touch controllers, which had previously been targeted for the second half of the year. Everyone who pre-ordered the Rift starting in January should have reserved themselves a spot in line to order them, and the “in volume” distinction from the Oculus co-founder should give current Rift owners some hope that before the arrival of 2017 they’ll be able to bring their hands into VR.
Oculus Rift is now shipping in 2-4 days. Apologies for initial delay. We’re fully caught up & ramping production. Touch ships in volume Q4.
— Brendan Iribe (@brendaniribe) July 12, 2016
Not long after a component shortage delayed some Rift shipments by several weeks, Oculus reassigned its chief operating officer to the Seattle office and hired a replacement. While Oculus now says it fulfilled all pre-orders and is shipping new orders within four days, the bruising Facebook’s VR division took because of the initial delay is not something Iribe will want to repeat with Touch.
The $600 Rift is going head to head against the $800 Vive from HTC. The Vive’s increased price is partially because the headset comes bundled with hand controllers. Oculus has yet to reveal how much it will charge for its Touch controllers, which could edge out the Vive controllers when it comes to ergonomics and functionality.
Oculus is promising more than 30 games available for the Touch controllers when they launch. In addition, the software which runs the Vive, SteamVR, also currently supports the controllers. Whether that will still be the case when the controllers actually launch is unclear.
Overall, the three month window for Touch being available “in volume” reinforces how important October, November and December will be for VR. From October 5-7 the Oculus Connect 3 developer conference will take place in San Jose. The following week, PlayStation VR starts shipping and Valve Software (creator of SteamVR) holds its developer event. A couple weeks later, on Nov. 2 and 3, the first standalone Virtual Reality Developers Conference will be held in San Francisco. Also this year, Samsung is due to launch a new Gear VR (the first consumer version launched last year just in time for Black Friday) and the first Google Daydream phones should arrive too.