At Oculus Connect yesterday, the Facebook-owned virtual reality company’s annual developers conference, it confirmed what had been rumored for weeks: Its Touch controllers, which bring users’ hands into Rift experiences, will go on sale December 6 and will cost $199. Oculus will begin taking pre-orders for the Touch, which will come with an additional Rift sensor, on October 10.
When consumers get their hands on the controllers—more than a year after they were first announced—Rift will finally become a true high-end VR system, one that delivers immersive experiences and which incorporates users’ hands into those experiences.
Think about what you can do with your hands: Hold things, swing things, throw things, make gestures, draw, paint, sculpt, and on and on. That’s the promise of high-end VR, and until now, Rift owners have only been able to look forward to that, even as owners of the Vive have been able to take full advantage of it thanks to the two controllers that come standard with that system.
At launch, Oculus said, there will be about 35 titles available, ranging from games to art to educational experiences, with more coming soon. Although Medium, its compelling VR sculpting tool, will be available when Touch launches, the company hasn’t yet decided if it will be included with the controllers or be sold separately, Jason Rubin, Oculus’ head of content said.
The Rift sells for $599. That means that a Rift, with Touch, will cost the same as Vive, which goes for $799. Oculus also said today that Rift will soon offer true "room-scale" VR, which means users can move around in a room-size space, but to access that, Rift owners will need to buy yet one more Rift sensor for $79.
Although there are some concerns that the cost of a fully fleshed out Rift system, with Touch, an extra sensor, and the new $49 earphones the company announced yesterday, will be too high, CEO Brendan Iribe didn’t seem worried.
"The enthusiast community is ready to embrace all great VR, and a lot of people want more," Iribe told Fast Company. "For a certain population, the whole notion of Rift, no matter what price it is, and a new desktop PC, already makes it feel expensive for them. [But] that’s why we see this new category of standalone [which Oculus showed the first prototype of yesterday], is very important to getting VR out to more people."