What Is Oculus Touch?

An overview of the motion controllers for the Oculus Rift VR system.

Hands holding Oculus Touch controllers
Oculus Touch adds intuitive motion controls to Oculus Rift games. Oculus VR

Oculus Touch is the motion controller system used in the Oculus Rift, Rift S, and Quest virtual reality (VR) systems. Each Oculus Touch consists of a pair of controllers, with one for each hand. These controllers operate like a single gamepad, allowing Oculus Rift to provide full motion tracking of a player's hands in a VR space. 

The Oculus Touch controllers are traditional controllers in their own right, complete with the analog sticks, buttons, and triggers needed to play most games.

How Does Oculus Touch Work?

Oculus Touch combines traditional game controller functionality with the motion tracking technology of the Oculus Rift.

Each controller includes an analog thumbstick similar to those found on Xbox or PlayStation controllers, two face buttons that can also be pressed with a thumb, a trigger designed for the index finger, and a second trigger that is activated by squeezing the rest of the fingers against the controller grip.

In addition to standard game controls, each controller has a number of capacitive sensors capable of locating the player's fingers. For example, the controller can tell whether the player's index finger is resting on the trigger, or whether the thumb is resting on a face button or thumbstick. This allows the player to perform complex gestures like pointing fingers and balling fists.

Each Oculus Touch controller is studded with a constellation of LEDs that are invisible to the naked eye, just like the Oculus Rift. These LEDs allow Oculus VR constellation sensors to track the position of each controller, which lets the player move their hands around and rotate them through a full range of motion.

Who Needs Oculus Touch?

Oculus Rift systems include both Oculus Touch and two sensors, but Oculus Touch is also available to purchase separately. Although there are a lot of VR games that don't require motion controls, the experience is much more immersive and feels a lot more natural with the use of motion-tracking controllers.

Oculus Touch does not work without an Oculus Rift.

Oculus Touch Features

The Oculus Touch kit
Oculus Touch controllers communicate with your Oculus Rift headset to track your hands in virtual space. Oculus VR
  • Intuitive VR controls: Point your finger while holding the controller and watch your virtual finger perform the same gesture. This allows you to point at, grab, pick up, and interact with virtual objects.
  • Twin stick controls: It includes a twin analog stick control scheme similar to other game consoles.
  • Comfortable and lightweight: The familiar handle-and-trigger design fits well in the hand, and the weight is light enough for long gaming sessions.
  • Haptic feedback: Unique touch controls increase the sense of immersion when interacting with virtual worlds.

Oculus Touch

Oculus Touch controllers
Oculus Touch controllers look like a bifurcated game controller, which allows for free hand movement. Oculus VR
Motion Controls Yes, full-motion tracking with six degrees of freedom.
Directional controls  Dual analog thumb sticks.
Buttons Four face buttons, four triggers.
Haptic feedback Buffered and non-buffered.
Batteries 2 AA batteries required (one per controller) 
Weight 272 grams (excluding batteries)
Availability Included with new Oculus Rifts. Also available for purchase separately.

Oculus Touch is Oculus VR's first true motion controller. Although the Oculus Rift headset originally shipped with a handheld remote control, it only had limited motion tracking.

The Oculus Touch has full motion tracking with six degrees of freedom, which means it can track each of your hands as they forward and back, left and right, up and down. It also senses rotation along each of the three axes.

Each controller also includes features that will be familiar to console gamers, including two analog sticks, four face buttons, and two triggers. This is roughly the same number of buttons and triggers as a DualShock 4 or Xbox One controller.

The main difference between the configuration of the Oculus Touch and traditional gamepads is that there is no d-pad on either controller, and the face buttons are split between the two controllers instead of all being accessible by the same thumb.

Previous and Alternate Controls for Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift Xbox One controller and remote
Oculus Rift originally shipped with an Xbox One controller and a small remote. Oculus VR

The Oculus Touch wasn't available when the Oculus Rift first launched. Most games that were in development at that time were designed with a controller in mind, so the initial run of Oculus Rift headsets shipped with alternate control methods.

Xbox One Controller
Oculus VR partnered with Microsoft to include an Xbox One controller with every Oculus Rift prior to the introduction of Oculus Touch. The included controller was not the updated Xbox One S version, so it lacked both Bluetooth connectivity and a standard headset jack.

Once the Oculus Touch was introduced, the inclusion of an Xbox One controller was phased out.

Oculus Remote
The other Oculus Rift controller that predates Oculus Touch is the Oculus Remote. This tiny device is very basic and is better suited to navigating menus than actually playing games.

The Oculus Remote does feature limited tracking, which allows the user to point and click in VR, but it lacks the full positional tracking offered by the Oculus Touch.

Oculus Rift units that include Oculus Touch do not include the Oculus Remote, but it is still available for purchase as an accessory.

  • How do you turn off the Oculus Touch controllers?

    You can't, directly. Taking out the batteries will, naturally, turn the controllers off, and when you unplug your headset, the controllers will enter sleep mode. However, there is no series of buttons to press to shut the device itself down.

  • How do you change the battery on an Oculus Touch controller?

    Remove the battery cover, located on the handle of the controller, by lightly pulling it to access your Touch controller's batteries.

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