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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