Oculus Rift will include an Xbox controller at launch in Q1 2016

12 Jun 2015

After finally setting a release period of Q1 2016, Oculus has said its Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) gaming headset will come with an Xbox One controller in what could be a coup for Microsoft.

With Facebook’s financial clout behind it following its purchase back in March of last year, Oculus is now gearing up for its showcase of the Oculus Rift at the biggest gaming event of the year in Los Angeles next week, E3.

“For the last three years, scientists, engineers and researchers have been working to build the world’s best VR system,” said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post. “Since joining Facebook last year, the Oculus team has been making rapid progress.”

And yet despite being the first name associated with VR gaming over these three years, the company has  yet to release a commercially-available model, but on its blog it confirmed much of what will come with it next year.

Oculus Rift headset

The commercial model of the Oculus Rift

Compared with previously seen developer kit versions, the commercial rift looks a lot more ergonomic than its bulkier predecessors but features a tracking system of the player’s eyes that Oculus says will put an end to the lag issues that have featured before.

But while many of the details revealed may not have come as a surprise to VR gaming nuts, the company quietly revealed that it has beaten Sony to the punch by teaming up with Microsoft and its gaming division Xbox to include its Xbox One controller at launch.

Rift with Xbox controller

The Rift with the Xbox One controller

Whether this means there could be future deals of exclusivity with the Xbox One remains to be seen but Oculus say it is because it is the best controller available on the market.

“Developers wanted an input device that was robust and versatile enough to enable next-generation games and experiences in this first generation of VR,” Oculus said on its blog page.

However, the Oculus Rift will also come with its own developed handheld controller, the rather dextrous Oculus Touch, which is still in a prototype stage but shows a two-handed unit (held in each hand separately) that looks as if it is giving the familiar arcade thumb-and-button configuration a serious 21st century upgrade.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic