Next-gen virtual reality reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are still hobbled by their dependence upon decidedly less-gen controllers, like the Xbox One's. At this year's E3 expo, Oculus finally unveiled its own custom VR controllers, which will finally allow console cowboys to reach out and touch the virtual worlds in which they are immersed.
The controllers, called the Oculus Touch, are something between an Xbox One controller split and half and the Nintendo Wiimote. By design, they resemble a rapier-style hilt with buttons, as well as thumb and forefinger triggers. However, each remote has built-in gyroscopes, allowing the Oculus Rift to detect the motion of each remote, and translate it into in-game actions.
The video of the Oculus Touch controllers in action is doubtlessly hyperbolic, but if you look past the marketing glitz, you can get an idea of how they work. Using the Oculus Touch controllers, an Oculus player could shoot virtual hoops, play frisbee, manipulate in-game objects, or even pick up guns (of coursee).
The controllers should allow Oculus Rift owners to use a combination of gestures and button presses to simulate at least some of the full-range of moments you can accomplish with your hands. They look like a sort of half-compromise between the traditional console controllers existing VR headsets use, and the fully articulated VR gloves that Snow Crash promised us.
The question remains whether or not these controllers will really take off. They seem optional, only used for certain types of motion-controlled games, and in the history of gaming, optional proprietary controllers tend not to take off. Just ask Microsoft with the Kinect, or Sony with the PlayStation Move.
Still, if anything's a natural fit for VR, it's motion control. Virtual fingers crossed.
All Images: via Oculus