Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey tweeted last week that the Oculus Rift VR headset remains on track for a commercial launch in the first quarter of 2016. The Oculus Touch controller is going to take a little longer than expected, however: It had originally been slated for release "shortly after" the rollout of the Rift, but the company announced today that “we need more time” to perfect it.
“We’ve made significant advances in ergonomics, and we’re implementing many changes that make Touch even more comfortable, reliable, and natural. We’re also implementing changes that improve hand pose recognition,” it said in a statement posted on the Oculus blog. “The feedback on Touch has been incredibly positive, and we know this new timeline will produce an even better product, one that will set the bar for VR input. We appreciate your patience and promise Touch will be worth the wait.”
We were impressed with the Touch when we got hands on it at Oculus Connect 2 in September, but Oculus VP of Product Nate Mitchell acknowledged that a lot of work remained before it would be ready for the public. He also emphasized that the Touch is an entirely separate piece of hardware that isn't widely supported yet, and so selling it separately—and, by extension, taking longer to get it to the public—isn't necessarily a problem.
"We could wait for Touch, but at the end of the day we’ve decided to make Touch an attachment to the Rift, so selling it separately after the fact doesn’t hurt anything," he said. "People will jump into it, developers will make content for it, and there’s no reason to necessarily hold the Rift, which is ready to get out the door, for Touch, when Touch can come whenever."
Preorders for the Touch will go live well ahead of its launch, and Oculus also said that it's increasing the preproduction runs, “which means we can get a lot more Touch hardware in the hands of developers who need it.”