GDC 2018: Oculus Santa Cruz’s New Controllers Are Much Closer To Touch

by Jamie Feltham • March 21st, 2018

Oculus is showing off a lot of hardware at the 2018 Game Developers Conference this week including, somewhat surprisingly, its Santa Cruz standalone prototype for the first time to developers. The kit will largely resemble what was shown at Oculus Connect 4 last year, but updated controllers have been teased, too.

Oculus provided a slight glimpse of redesigned controllers for the six degrees of freedom (6DOF) VR headset at its ‘Inside Oculus 2018’ session at GDC today. The below image, taken by Ubisoft Montreal’s Olivier Palmieri, showed off white controllers with the same tracking ring that enables full hand-movement on the all-in-one headset. The big change, though, is that the new version brings back Oculus Touch-like joysticks as opposed to the trackpads seen in the Connect edition, along with two face buttons. It’s now much closer to Touch overall.

Talking about the headset itself, Oculus’ Chris Pruett likened the device to a console, saying that it’s “made for games.”

As for the tracking, Pruett noted that it was “rare to lose tracking” when doing “normal stuff” in VR. Santa Cruz consists of four cameras that track not only the user’s head in a virtual environment but the positions of both controllers, too.

Previously, Oculus promised that it would be sending out Santa Cruz developer kits later this year, though there’s been no suggestion the device might actually go on sale in 2018. Instead, the company will look to launching its 3DOF Oculus Go device in the coming weeks.

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  • daveinpublic

    Awesome updates. Wish they would have given specific dates.

  • Firestorm185

    So happy to hear they’re going back to Touch-styled controls. So much better than trackpads.

  • Mane Vr

    nice i was nervous about the first prototype controller but now i’m glad to see the return of the thumbstick. it would be amazing if we can connect it to our pc and be able to play the normal rift games too

    • daveinpublic

      Wireless connection would be awesome.

      • for some not all. but yea for those who want it that would be cool too i’m all about give people options

  • polysix

    I dismissed this mostly based on touchpads (hate them) , didn’t like them on my old vive, but this great news means I’m actually probably going to buy a Santa Cruz now, to go with my rift, so can be used to hook up with my GF on the network without another PC and have the near same (controller) experience in games that can run on SC.

    Nice move oculus!

  • impurekind

    Thank God they put the sticks and buttons back in; this is a much better solution than the alternative track pad imo. But I’m also hoping those white ones are just prototype colours because the black looks waaay better.

  • The article lacks to say that this choice has been taken so that developing a game that is both for the Rift and Santa Cruz is easier