Oculus say that they could have shipped the Touch controllers that compliment the Rift headset when the VR headset launched but chose not to. The reason behind it wasn’t representative of the Touch controllers itself or any technical hitch, so why did Oculus delay it?
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While the Rift launched in April 2016, the Touch controllers were delayed until the latter part of 2016.
“It was possible for us to launch the first Touch device when we showed it, and everyone said ‘this is awesome,’ we could have shipped it,” said Jason Rubin, Head of Content at Oculus.
The company despite having everything in place to launch the device decided that they wanted to delay the release to allow developers time to provide the software support the Touch needed to maximize its potential.
“[If we launched Touch with the Rift] there would have been a bunch of demos and a few good titles (like Job Simulator andFantastic Contraption) […] we wanted to give our developers enough time to really create a launch line up, a good slate of titles that would last hours as opposed to minutes of enjoyment, and we think that that takes time. So more than tweaking the hardware, we wanted to give the software some time.”
Oculus took the time it gained by delaying the Touch to optimize and refine the design in terms of performance and ergonomics, while in the background developers were readying their software to take advantage of the controller. Consequently, when the Touch finally launches, there will be a ton of already optimised content available for it.
“Developers are really happy with what they’ve got, and we didn’t want to release it until we were happy with the ergonomics, every button was in the right place, everything was perfect,” Rubin said.
There have been some refinements to the placement of the buttons on the Touch controller showing that Oculus are still experimenting with perfecting the ergonomics but with the launch estimated as Q4 of 2016, the final design is no doubt in place.