In this post, I discuss how well the Oculus Rift with Touch works with Steam games that were designed for the HTC Vive. I believe this is a very important question because if the Rift + Touch can play Vive games very well, it could make the Rift arguably the better overall VR system.
I had an HTC Vive (reviewed here) which I loved but I sold it to get an Oculus Rift (reviewed here) when I found out that the Rift could supposedly play HTC Vive games. When I finally received the Oculus Touch, one of the first things I wanted to know was whether and to what degree the Oculus Rift and Touch can play HTC Vive games on Steam.
The short answer is that it’s true the Rift and Touch can play most games for the Vive. Touch compatibility on Steam was even improved in a recent update to Steam VR which improved the button assignment and added haptic feedback. However, the degree of compatibility still varies widely.
Below, I’ve listed samples of games and what issues exist in them to give you a better idea.
Works great: Some games feel like they were designed for Touch, and work as well as or sometimes even better than on the Vive. Here are some examples:
– Pierhead Arcade: this game lets you play several games in an arcade. This game appears to have been redesigned for the Touch. The in-game representation of the controller is the Touch controller, and it uses Touch-specific buttons (A, B, X, Y). It acts like a native app for the Touch.
– Cosmic Sugar: this is a simple (but beautiful) app where thousands of tiny stars move around your controllers, interacting with each other. It’s like playing with your own galaxy. Because the controls are so simple, the touch controllers work pretty much as well as the Vive controllers.
– Gnomes and Goblins: this is a VR experience where you meet friendly goblins and enter their world. It works with the Touch just as well as it does on the Vive, except that you must use a roomscale setup. If you use a standing-only setup, you won’t go beyond the title screen.
– Vanishing Realms: one of the best adventures for the Vive. I enjoyed playing it with the Rift. The limits are that roomscale setup is all but necessary. In addition, you have to disable the auto pause in the menu, because it doesn’t seem to work correctly with the Vive’s proximity sensor.
– Google Earth: this app allows you to explore almost any place on earth in VR. It works but before you use the app, you need to add a file to override the hardware lock.
Job Simulator: works pretty well, but the left controller can be assigned to the right hand and vice-versa. To avoid this, make sure that before you launch Steam and before you activate the controllers, the left controller is on your left side and the right controller is on your right side. Otherwise, Job Simulator works well even with seated or standing VR because it has a dollhouse mode.
|Job Simulator on Steam being used with Oculus Touch (see the Steam VR panel)
Fastest Fist and Kunlun Fight: these are really good boxing / fighting games for HTC Vive and they can work with the Oculus Touch, but you need to hold the Oculus Touch controllers sideways, which is a little awkward for the Oculus Touch.
Quick Draw: Quick Draw is a cowboy fast draw game similar to Nintendo’s Wild Gunman. When used with the Touch controller, the controls become difficult. Instead of using the grip button to grab the gun, the controller uses capacitive touch, i.e., merely touching the button counts as pressing it. That might sound like an advantage but in actual use, if you accidentally touch the trigger button, it fires a shot. In addition, you can’t fire the next shot until you fully let go of the trigger button, thus increasing the required finger movement. In a game measured by miliseconds, it puts you at a significant disadvantage. Moreover, when you press the trigger, no shots are fired or there seems to be a lag before two or three shots are suddenly fired. The Vive controller does not suffer from these problems with this game.
The Lantern: I got only a demo of this game, but I didn’t get beyond the title screen.
It’s difficult to generalize across all 700+ HTC Vive games on Steam, and I haven’t even tried the Touch will the 100 or so apps in my Steam library, but many games on Steam work pretty well with the Touch, with only minor modifications or adjustments needed. In any case, the good thing with Steam is that it has a lenient refund policy. If you download a game that turns out to be unusable for the Touch, then you can refund it. Having said that, there may be some games that are particularly important to you, in which case, I would check for Touch compatibility first. If there’s a Steam game that you want to test with the Touch, please let me know in the comments! (and please tag me to make sure I get notified)