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Oculus Pushes Back Touch Controller Release

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is still on track for a release during the first three months of 2016. But you'll have to wait a little while longer for the handheld controllers Oculus was also developing for its headset. The company announced in a blog post over the New Year's holiday that the Oculus Touch controllers won't arrive until the second half of 2016.

First unveiled at a June event that also showcased the Rift headset, the Touch controller was originally expected to ship in the first half of the year. The controller features an analog stick, two buttons and a trigger, and will also be able to recognize gestures and provide haptic feedback.

MORE: Oculus Rift Inventor Predicts Virtual Reality's Future

Why the delay? Oculus says it's working on changes to the Touch that will improve comfort and reliability. It's also making changes to improve hand-pose recognition.

"The feedback on Touch has been incredibly positive, and we know this new timeline will produce an even better product, one that will set the bar for VR input," Oculus said in its blog post.

When Oculus showed off the Touch controllers this summer, Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey said the company was inspired by watching Rift users reach out as if they were trying to control virtual images with their hands. Input devices figure to play some role in gaming with the Rift, with the first release headset shipping with an included Xbox One controller.

Then again, controllers may wind up as a way to extend the capabilities of the Rift headset without necessarily being essential to the device.

"The thing to keep in mind is that Touch is not necessarily a good addition for every type of game," Luckey said in an interview with Tom's Guide on what's ahead for virtual reality. "Otherwise, you wind up with a scenario like with the Kinect or Wii, where there's a bunch of games that have mechanics shoehorned in that don't make sense."

In its blog post announcing the shipping delay for the Oculus Touch, the company said it would begin taking preorders for the Rift headset "very soon." Earlier this week, Oculus announced that  Lucky's Tale, a VR platformer game featuring an adventure-seeking fox, would be included with the Rift when it ships.