E3, the annual video game expo where gamers find out what they’ll be playing over the next few years, doesn’t officially start until June 16, but Oculus got the hype-train rolling early Thursday with a special press event in San Francisco. The Facebook-owned company revealed the final design of its Rift virtual reality headset along with several new games from prominent studios, and finally announced a release window: You’ll be able to strap it on your face sometime in the first quarter of 2016.
In perhaps the biggest surprise, Oculus Rift will ship with an Xbox One controller and wireless adapter. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer announced that the Rift will fully support Windows 10, allowing users to stream Xbox One games to the PC, which you can then play on the Rift in a virtual game room. “This is something we’ve spent a lot of time perfecting,” Spencer said. “The ability to work with the team at Oculus to create a virtual cinema where Xbox One games will show really pays off people’s investment in their games and, obviously, their investment in Oculus.”
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey also took the stage to unveil its alternative input device, Oculus Touch, two ring-shaped controllers designed to take immersive VR to the next level. Each controller has an analog stick, two buttons and a trigger, and features haptic feedback, as well as support for communicative gestures. “Imagine using this to pick up a virtual gun and fire it,” Luckey said. “Finally, touch can detect finger poses like pointing, waving, or giving a thumbs up.”
In addition to showing off an impressive demo of CCP’s space shooter EVE: Valkyrie, Oculus announced several new games. Insomniac Games, developer of Sunset Overdrive and the Ratchet and Clank series, is working on third-person adventure Edge of Nowhere. And Gunfire Games (comprised of designers responsible for the Darksiders series) is developing a role-playing game called Chronos. These games and more will be playable at E3 next week. Check back with EW for more on E3 beginning June 15.