Oculus Quest Updates: Full Hand Tracking Release, New Work Options and New Safety Features
Oculus Quest is celebrating its first anniversary by rolling out a slew of new updates including improvements in the platform’s integrated and third-party software capabilities as well as some new details on the app sales.
One of the most significant updates is the new full controller-free hand tracking which eliminates the need to use physical controllers. Oculus is replacing this with new high-quality applications in the headset which will make it possible for it to be controlled using bare hands with the tracking function being performed by the very cameras which are also used for virtual movements and making of gestures in open air.
The newest updates to the Oculus Quest system software (v17) starts rolling out this week to all Quest headsets throughout the world. The hand tracking feature will no longer be an experimental feature that the user has to activate in the menus and will become a new general release feature. Facebook’s roll-out of updates usually goes on over several days to guarantee the stability of the release. After the update has fully rolled out, the feature will be activated in some of the earliest games to incorporate controller-free input such as The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets and Waltz Of The Wizard.
The other more visible improvements coming with the new Quest updates will be in the Quest’s Guardian safety system. Oculus is now adding a Playspace Scan feature to the system which automatically identify the real-world objects in the space that could trigger the Guardian warnings. This will enable users to manually remove the objects before they immerse themselves fully into the virtual reality experience. The Guardian wireframe border is also expanding beyond the current single red color and now has options enabling users to choose different colors such as blue, purple and yellow to flag down the contact danger zones.
Oculus Quest’s hand tracking feature has been under beta testing for the past five months and is now generally available to users. From May 28, Facebook is also officially allowing third-party developers to access the feature. Apart from Oculus Quest’s OS-level use of the full hand tracking feature, there are a number of hand-controlled VR titles which are already available for purchase such as Magnopus’ Elixir, Fast Travel’s Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets and Aldin Dynamics’ Waltz of the Wizard. If you wish to try out the hand tracking feature within a virtual reality film, you can try out the Cinematic Narratives Set which is a two-movie bundle featuring a Colin Farrell-voiced romantic story Gloomy Eyes as well as a “world of miniatures” film known as The Line.
Following coronavirus’ huge effect on working from home, Facebook has also announced that its Oculus Store will ramp its focus on collaborative and productivity apps in the coming months. There will be the multi-user cross-platform mixed reality collaborative app Spatial and the VR workspace app Immersed that offers a distraction-free immersive workspace. Immersed will offer Oculus Quest users access to multiple computer screens simultaneously. It will also give users the option to work by themselves or share their screens or workspaces with other coworkers.
Finally, Facebook is rolling out more small data points within the bigger picture of the Quest sales. According to Facebook, Quest users have spent over $100 million on content over the past year. Some 10 Quest titles each generated more than $2 million in revenues. Last month, Facebook also announced that 20 titles had grossed over $1 million in revenues.
This being the first year anniversary since the release of the Oculus Rift S and Quest headsets, Facebook is offering users special sales on each of these platforms from May 21. The discounts will hopefully be generous enough to spark a fresh massive uptake of virtual reality titles as well as developers.