Oculus has introduced hand tracking to the Oculus Quest system earlier this year but is currently waiting to add the hand tracking feature to Oculus Rift S. The Oculus Quest being able to offer hand tracking makes this already affordable entry-device into the world of VR that much easier to both uses (being that your hands are now the controllers) and more comfortable to hide away, having to hide away just the headset itself rather than the controllers as well.
“We started [hand-tracking] with the Quest platform first, and we’re going to listen to the feedback from Quest as we roll out this feature, and will evaluate the technical challenges of bringing it to other devices [like Rift S],” an Oculus spokesperson tells Road to VR. This quote from an Oculus spokesperson shows how Oculus is seeing how the hand tracking feature is doing on the Oculus Quest.
Oculus adding full hand-tracking to its Quest line of VR headsets is a big deal for mainly two reasons. The first reason is that it was merely a software update, meaning no extra hardware was needed to enable this feature, this means that potentially all current-generation headsets produced by Oculus could offer this feature. The second main reason that this is a big deal is that the Valve Index was the only headset to offer full native hand-tracking, which costs double what the Oculus Quest costs.
This could potentially upset the monopoly that Valve has had on the VR market, being the only headset to offer hand-tracking. One advantage that the Oculus Quest has over the Valve Index is its wireless capabilities of both installing games natively to the headset itself or streaming games from your PC through WiFi or the newer Oculus Link.
Hand-tracking will drastically change the immersion that virtual reality offers, as shown by the Valve Index. The Valve Index was the first VR headset to provide true hand-tracking capabilities, and this was done by the unique design of the controllers included with the headset. This fantastic feature did come at an expensive cost, making the Valve Index (with the controllers) costing $999 while other VR headsets like the Oculus Quest comes in at half the price for the 128 GB model.
The way that the Oculus Quest offers hand-tracking is different from how the Valve Index handles it; instead of the Oculus Quest controllers being able to track each finger independently, the Quest’s camera follows each finger instead. The cost is a considerable deduction from the typical cost, as the Valve Index was the only VR headset to offer full hand-tracking. The cheapest version of the Oculus Quest All-in-one VR gaming headset (being the 64 GB version) costs $399 on Amazon. This is substantially cheaper than the Valve Index.
This is a fantastic advancement for virtual reality technology as a whole, as Oculus has stated that they are waiting on feedback from the community on whether or not to bring this feature to the Oculus Rift S. This feature just being released to see the overall impact on the games being produced will take a fair amount of time, but with some games already offering full hand-tracking means that the VR industry should slowly start to see a change to most current headsets providing this feature.