Magnetized Controllers From Oculus Are A Really Nice Touch (Correction)

by Jamie Feltham • August 18th, 2016

Correction: Oculus tells us the magnets we noted will not be included in the final version of Oculus Touch because users could occasionally feel the controllers pull toward one another. A previous version of this post incorrectly reported the addition would be permanent. In fact, further tweaking to the controllers are likely to remove the magnets entirely rather than to adjust their pull. We apologize for the error.

A strange thing happened to me while I was playing Star Trek: Bridge Crew today, and it’s all to do with Oculus Touch.
As I sat watching the tutorial for my upcoming voyage, I let my hands rest on my lap. Suddenly, my controllers pulled together and stuck. The cover that surrounds your hands on Oculus Touch had magnets in them, and would cling to each other unless I pulled them away from each other (just in case you didn’t understand how magnets work). After I’d saved some stranded space people and fought off a Klingon ship, I removed my headset and asked members of Ubisoft around me about it. Indeed, I had just tried a new pair of Touch controllers the company had been given after E3.

IMG_3533

Looking for answers about this new feature, I headed over to the Oculus booth and, sure enough, it was confirmed to me that these are a fairly recent addition to the current engineering samples that are being sent out to developers. 

So why make this small but interesting addition? It’s quite simple; when you’re not using Touch these magnets keep the controllers together and even help them sit upright in a nice, presentable fashion as you can see in the images. It would mean you’re not likely to lose one of your controllers and also quickly lets you see which device is for your left and which is for your right. Based on my experience at Gamescom this week, it’s easier to get those mixed up than you might first think.

Still, it’s only a tiny addition and I have to stress I didn’t find it intrusive in any way; my hands were only ever close enough for the two to connect when I was relaxing them between actions, and it didn’t take any effort at all to break them apart again once I needed them. 

A final release date and price for Touch haven’t yet been revealed, but we’re hoping to hear more at this year’s Oculus Connect.

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