Oculus Touch And Rock Band Beat Vive Tracker To VR Accessory Market

by Ian Hamilton • March 20th, 2017

The competition between HTC’s Vive and Facebook’s Rift is a closely watched battle, with the two leading PC-powered headsets racing to expand upon the groundwork laid by the SteamVR and Oculus platforms in 2016.

It seems the next step for each company is to support a wide range of accessories that can enhance a virtual world with 1:1 tactile feedback. Despite the excitement for a range of accessories compatible with the forthcoming Vive Tracker, Oculus seems to be coming out in front, at least initially.

Jason Rubin, the vice president in charge of content at Oculus, tweeted over the weekend that the imminently launching Rock Band VR game the company funded with developer Harmonix is the “first major tracked accessory VR game.” For $70, the game comes with a guitar to which an Oculus Touch controller attaches. This combo delivers a more authentic experience than has ever been possible before with music rhythm games, with the feel of a realistic guitar in your hands while playing the game in front of a crowd in VR.

This month Oculus released guidelines and 3D models of the Touch controllers “to help you develop accessories for Oculus Touch Controllers.” This likely makes Rock Band just the first in a series of accessories for the Rift headset using an Oculus Touch controller for positional tracking.

HTC is also working with developers on the Vive Tracker that has already been shown with a range of accessories including guns, phones and even a baseball bat. The Tracker is expected to sell for around $100, with no word on included accessories or games that might work with the unit out of the box.

vive-tracker-gun

This adds some interesting new dynamics to the decision buyers are faced with when deciding which VR system to buy. After a price cut this month, Oculus is now selling the Rift with a pair of Touch controllers for $600. The competing HTC Vive’s core system remains $800, and HTC “doesn’t see the need to cut the price.”

An extra camera for the Rift is around $60. While this Rift setup requires a plethora of open USB slots on your PC, this third camera (in addition to the two provided in the core $600 bundle) allows the Rift’s system to track smaller but comparable ‘room-scale’ spaces. Add $70 for Rock Band and its guitar, which attaches to one of the Oculus Touch controllers, and the total for all of the above is still slightly lower than the base cost of the Vive. The Rift is also bundled with a number of freebie games, as is Vive, but the Rift has access to the content on both the Oculus Store and Steam. Unless using a hack, the Vive can’t access the great content on the Oculus Store.

While we adore the reliability and versatility of the SteamVR Tracking technology upon which the Vive relies — and the fact that the Vive uses up only a few ports on your PC — this price difference between the systems, inclusion of integrated audio and superior ergonomics of the Touch controllers could mean Vive will have an uphill battle in 2017.

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  • bschuler

    I still think the Vive’s vastly superior tracking method and tracker will come out on top in the long run. The modular SteamVR lighthouse tracking system many manufacturers are using vs Oculus’s camera system reminds me of when Atari was fighting The Commodore 64. It went back and forth for awhile and looked like anyone could win.. but in the end.. some people ended up with an Atari and all the expensive accessories only to toss it all for the superior and overwhelming C-64 market. While I do feel the Rift’s controller is currently better then the Vive’s. I think the Vive tracker itself is vastly superior to hanging your controller onto something. Plus, every indication is that the Vive is just the beginning of a family of SteamVR HMDs and will have many controller options, etc.. available soon.

    • Bundy

      I own one and have tried the other. Tracking seemed pretty spot on for both.

      • Tim Bates

        Tracking is good on both once you add a 3rd or forth sensor, then your tracking like a Vive on Oculus, if not you standing in one place and must face the sensors or u receive errors. I have both and Oculus has issues with their so called 3ft by 3ft room scale. And when u add the additional sensors to make it stable your back at the Vive price.

    • Justos

      “superior tracking method”

      Its larger for sure, and requires no usb ports which is great. But other than that they feel identical. I have a hard time recommending a vive today unless you have a HUGE playspace and dont mind remote control ergonomics.

      • someoneperson

        One of my buds said that setting up oculus’s tracking system is harder to do than vive’s and still has some occlusion even with 3 cameras, although it’s heavily minimized.

        • brandon9271

          I haven’t used the Vive but set up the Rift is a pain. Largely due to USB 3 compatibility issues which I have​nt heard of people having with the Vive. When it work it works well though and I’m only using two camera at the moment. Vive need to come down in price. I originally wanted one but I found a used Rift + Touch for $460.. I can even consider anything else at the price. $100 for Vive tracker is WAY to much. I could see $29 tops

    • NullReference

      +1 for references to ancient C-64 and Atari!

    • JSM21

      You don’t have an Oculus do you? We don’t have to “hang” our controllers onto anything. Sensor tracking is equal w/ 3 on Oculus. Its ok we know your just trying to fluff feathers here.

      • Graham J ⭐️

        He’s referring to the Rock Band guitar controller – you have to attach your controller to it.

  • Darrell Markie

    Konrad The Kitten………

  • DougP

    It sounds like contortions to say “it’s this much less ($200) but you need to spend more($60 add’l camera” – for room-scale experiences & just best 360-degree with Touch, “Rift cheaper $140.”

    It’s also missing the point if you don’t focus on what’s important about the design approach differences:
    1) Lighthouse – much more extensible (size of volume & # tracked objects)
    2) Incredible accuracy, including with multiple tracked objects in tracked area
    3) The greatest expense (& expense to develop) of the peripherals are integrated & comes with it – devices track themselves!
    4) (Standardized) Modular approach – 1 tracker puck can slap onto any # of peripherals (or person, for full body tracking)

    Leaving out/not focusing on these deciding 4 characteristics in talk of tracked peripherals & approach to ecosystem is dramatically missing the point.

    Re: “Beat Vive Tracker To VR Accessory Market” – nope
    There are already a great many VR accessories for the Vive motion tracked controllers – the likes of dual handed gun/rifle mounts. Those are great tracked accessories.
    The problem is…just like with price (above)… it’s again missing the point of the design. The Vive already comes with trackers in the form of the *wands*. Just happen to also have handles built-in.

    People have already been mounting & using the vive trackers (built into wands) in a variety of VR accessories (sword/rifles/etc…even hilariously in as Gattling gun in Serious Sam).

    • JSM21

      That is because the article is about accessories not the system itself. Look at it this way technically the Vives new sensor they are coming out w/ is just that ANOTHER sensor, sound familiar? They just reshaped it so it can attach to things yet is close the size and weight of the Oculus controller. The RB game w/ attachment was talked about and shown last yr, so that isn’t news. The price comparison the writer TRIED to do is just stupid since he is ASSUMING that new ppl buying the Rift will want it. It is a $70.00 game that comes ready for ppl that already have the Oculus w/ controllers. And lastly ppl have been doing the same w/ their own mounting w/ touch controllers too…that doesn’t make one more “special” than the other.

  • Jeff

    Strapping a touch controller to a rock band guitar is a laughable way to ‘beat vive tracker to vr accessory market’. As such, I find the article largely hilarious- which is a shame because reading about rock band vr again would have been way more interesting then exploring a blatantly false comparison.

    • JSM21

      OK so they announced the RB stuff last yr, so that isn’t anything new and sorry but the sensor Vive is putting out to attach to crap is only slightly at most smaller than a controller for Oculus and weights about the same, but w/e, rofl. Your so funny 😛

      • Jeff

        Well it’s not really comparable- obviously we could always attach a controller to whatever we wanted. I could start writing code tonight and ‘beat them to market’. But it wouldn’t really be accessories, it would be something I strapped a controller to, and I would be limited to two items maximum at a time. I’m not trying to instigate a console war discussion, I just think the article is rediculous because it does just that for no legitimate reason. A proper title would be either ‘Oculus vs. Vive Accessories Strategy’, or ‘Rock Band VR Releasing Next Week’.

        PS are you the author? No offence but I really think it is terribly slanted and poor work.

        • Graham J ⭐️

          Totally agree.

    • GodMk2

      Ineed – with a Vive you could stick a tracker onto a real guitar, though why… A tennis racket / broom for air guitar would be better 🙂

    • brandon9271

      Has anyone tried putting a Vive controller in the Rockband mount that came with Touch? It’d be hilarious if it fit. Then HTC and Oculus would both tie in the “VR accessory market” Whatever that even means… lol

  • dannyhefc69

    Sounds like this is just trying to push people towards the rift over the vive, why even be like that? The rift sucks and everyone already knows that

    • JSM21

      Nope I love my Oculus & everyone I know that has both loves their Oculus and Vive the same though some like the Oculus more due to the controllers. Don’t be a hater.

      • dannyhefc69

        Its got nothing to do with being a hater. Everybody knows the vive is the best vr experience money can buy, so when people recommended the rift over the vive i just think why, why even say that when its clearly not true. Id say thats being a hater misleading people to a lesser product

        • Justos

          Actually the rift edges out the vive in quite a lot of areas. There is no clear answer. Though it is much more clear now that oculus has dropped 200$ all in.

          If you believe that one HMD is the best point blank then you are a fanboy.

          • GodMk2

            I own 4 Vives and 2 Rifts (1 with touch) and I still think the Vive is better. No fan boy just solid use.;-)

            HTC, or even Logitech could release a better VR hand controller as Steam VR is open, but Oculus won’t be adding Lighthouse tracking unless they go back to square 1. And trust me, Lighthouse tracking works better than Oculus. We’ve ended up wall mounting our Rift sensors using spare Vive Lighthouse mounts (spare as you only need 1 pair of lighthouses to cover 2+ Vives). Without them being on the wall they get knocked and then the tracking goes out. Plus they couldn’t see the floor before and now they can. Not important to most people but our VRCade is running Oculus headsets using Steam VR titles which have commerical licenses. someof teh title involve picking stuff up, which seems to cuase trouble for the Rift die to occlusion or just not having enough FOV to cover head and near to camera, and don’t dare turn your back on a Rift camera or you’ll be needing a 10m active USB cable and another spare port and camera. Oculus really could do better there if they want more people to come into contact with VR. They can make $600-800/yr per title per rig if steam prices are anything to go by! Not a one off $50.

  • slartibartfast the second

    Well that’s a biased review for oculus…How much they paid you to make this ?. Let’s balance it up a little.

    1) You can get vive worldwide for £/$650 and even lower.not just 800 like the review states as fact.

    2)Vive announced the tracker, the tetherless battery pack and gloves 3 months ago officially. Pre orders have been up on the official Vive website for at least a month since this biased review.

    4) vive also announced lower prices as the lighthouses can be produced at lower cost per unit now.

    5) the pintpoint accuracy of these lighthouses and roomscale are still absolutely huge differences of the two with Vive bringing a 5m x 5m virtual playground to walk around in. Yes oculus can do this..But it is nowhere near as good.

  • Jim Bond

    Ha! It’s about time Oculus released something BEFORE everyone else.

    • Graham J ⭐️

      They’re not releasing anything. Oculus doesn’t make Rock Band or the guitar.

  • NotARiftUserUnlessUnderDuress

    Vive’s been beaten? That’s it UploadVR. the verdict is out. everything you say must be right because you guys are so expert in these things and HTC and Valve with decades of hardware and software experience are noobs. I’m selling my vive and buying a Rift

  • Graham J ⭐️

    lol you guys are such Oculus fanboys. The guitar is not made by Oculus and the fact that this chunk of plastic which does not itself do any tracking whatsoever happens to be released before Valve’s tracker is entirely irrelevant.

    Lots of people have made objects you can attach Vive controllers to – you can buy gun mounts on eBay right now. But everyone knows that sucks compared to a dedicated tracker so no one’s calling that a win for Vive.

  • Yes, but Vive tracker is more versatile, it has been studied with multiple uses in mind. Things attached to Oculus Touch are cool, but, as always, looks to me like Oculus way to try to reduce the gap with Vive