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New Oculus Rift and Touch leave testers impressed

Testers say new Oculus Rift & Oculus Touch is "fun" and "natural."

In June, the Oculus team announced their plans for Oculus Rift DK2 as well as a set of controllers: Oculus Touch. This set of controller pieces are similar to the Wii nunchucks. They allow you to move, punch, point, grip and more in the virtual world with both hands.

Since the announcement, Oculus has formed a tech demo and let various testers get a feel for the DK2 and Touch features. If they weren't already signed onto the idea of testing virtual reality technology, the demo had them sold. Even the demo testers in the tech demo are impressed with their work.

Several testers were given the chance to try out the new DK2 Oculus Rift and its upcoming Oculus Touch controllers in a demo play room. The room itself was full of objects that the testers could interact with in various ways like juggling blocks, punching, shooting a laser gun, and using a slingshot. 

They used some of the special features for the new Oculus Rift: multiplayer and voice-chat. Two players can be in separate rooms just like the testers were, but appear next to each other in-game. There is also a microphone and flip-down headphone setup for chatting while gaming.

One tester, Kyle Orland, described his experience:

Though my guide was standing in the next room, in virtual space his avatar was right there with me, appearing as a floating wireframe head and pair of hands across the table.

We could hear each other talk through the Rift's built-in microphone and flipdown headphones. Every time he spoke, his virtual mouth showed a robotic distortion pattern like something out of an old sci-fi film.

More than anything else I've seen yet, sharing a virtual space like this seems like the killer app for Oculus. Even without any specific game to play, just being able to play with a virtual table full of toys with another person provided plenty of fun.

The setup in using the controllers is easy, as well. There is an analog stick and two buttons for your thumb, a trigger for just your index finger, and then one trigger for the rest of your hand. This is all surrounded in a ring of motion sensors.

Testers  Julian Benson and Keza MacDonald described their experience:

Benson:  I think the first thing I did was to try and build a tower out of blocks. It felt really natural. Before the demonstrator had finished saying hello I'd started piling up blocks

MacDonald: Yes, that's the best thing about the Touch controllers: absolutely no explanation was necessary. It just feels like using your hands normally. The first thing I thought was "I'd love to show this to my mum", who was 70 and is intrigued by games but finds the controllers off-putting.

The new Oculus Rift and Oculus touch are set to release some time in early 2016.

Header Image Source: oculus.com

Published Aug. 22nd 2015

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