The HTC Vive headset offers a feature that is referred to as “room scale” that allows for the headset to utilize the space around a user to offer a more immersive experience. It is a feature that HTC is marketing as unique to their platform, but the head of the Oculus Worldwide Studios, Jason Rubin, has said that the Rift could do exactly the same spacial awareness offered by the Vive, but the feature is in the distance on the Rift’s roadmap.
“Some people will really want room scale,” Rubin said, per Polygon. “It’s definitely cool. We have the tech ability to provide room scale. Our tech doesn’t preclude that [and] at some point we’ll demo that.”
The key to unlocking the Rift’s spacial awareness capability is contained within the Oculus Touch controllers, which won’t arrive until later in 2016. At launch, the Rift comes with an Xbox One controller to interact with the virtual reality titles, but it’s the Touch controller that will interact with the sensors in the Rift headset to allow it to scan move than the roughly 1.5 x 3.3 metre it currently can. Compare this to the 4.6 x 4.6 metre that the HTC Vive is capable of and it begins to emphasise the Lighthouse sensors’ advantage for room scaling over the Oculus Rift.
Rubin, however, doesn’t believe this decreased capability will be a deal breaker for consumers as he doesn’t think people simply have the space to utilise it. We’ll certainly see this story develop as the Oculus Touch controller ship date later in 2016 approaches.