Oculus Quest gets controller-free hand tracking this month


One feature that will help make virtual reality (VR) more immersive is controller-free hand tracking. Not having to grip an oddly-shaped controller will allow users to forget that they are in the physical world while exploring virtual ones. However, the need for some sort of user input is still present.

Fortunately for Oculus Quest owners, controller-free hand tracking is slated to arrive soon. It is preparing to emerge from beta testing and become an official feature for the computer-free VR headset. Users can expect it to appear in third-party games and apps at the end of May.

Look, No Hands

When Facebook’s Oculus division released the Quest nearly a year ago, no one was sure how it would fare. After all, a high-end VR headset not tethered to a computer was unheard of at the time. Now, the Quest is showing that it is not only possible to create a self-contained VR headset, but that it may be the future of the technology.

Since its launch, the Quest has gotten more versatile and is capable of doing almost everything that more powerful headsets (like the Oculus Rift) can do. The addition of controller-free hand tracking will help set it even further apart from competitors. It’s worth noting that the headset will still rely on its handheld Touch remotes as primary controllers in the short-term.

As controller-free tracking improves, however, that could change. For now, hand tracking is a nice bonus feature that will appear in several games and third-party apps. The first of which will arrive in just a few weeks.

Potion-mixing games “Waltz of the Wizard” and “Elixir” will get access to the feature along with a puzzle game called “The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets” on May 28. Meanwhile, Oculus is planning to add hand tracking to VR animated films “Gloomy Eyes” and “The Line,” which are scheduled to launch on the same day.

Coronavirus Boost

The reality of being homebound for months has been painful for millions of people. However, it has served as a boost for virtual reality. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said that stay-at-home orders are making the technology more attractive. The company’s Oculus division has seen an uptick in new orders for its hardware as well as players of its VR games.

As a result, the Oculus Quest has been practically sold out since January when the pandemic first started. Still, for users who already own a headset, the prospect of controller-free hand tracking is an exciting one.

Those who are interested in one of the headsets may want to hold off for a little while longer. Oculus is reportedly working on a successor to the Quest. The new VR headset will be both smaller and lighter than the original and may feature a crisper display. Consumers who are content to wait until next year may find that the newer headset is well worth it.


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