With the keenly anticipated Oculus Connect 6 (OC6) conference winding up earlier this week in San Jose, California, there’s many teasers and tidbits to relish as we look forward to seeing Oculus and Facebook push Virtual Reality even closer to what most of us have long fantasized about: a genuine blending of the real and the virtual.
Along with Facebook’s announcement that it is developing, Horizon, a virtual social media metaverse in which users can enjoy multiplayer gaming, organize communities and groups, and customize their own virtual environments, OC6 saw more traditional VR users also receive some very good news.
Aiming towards a more tactile and physically integrated VR experience, as is the common and obvious goal, Oculus unveiled some details of its plans to bring hand tracking to Oculus Quest users. Allowing users to use their hands to control their VR experience with, as Mark Zuckerberg put it in his keynote, “no controllers, no buttons, no straps, no external sensors. Just full range of motion in your hands.”
Applying hand tracking tech to VR gaming and training simulations is an obvious first move for any VR developer branching into this area. Facebook’s announcement of forthcoming AR glasses also suggests ample social, commercial, and business applications, as well. With hand tracking coming to Quest in early 2020, we’ll soon find out exactly how integral this new means of controlling VR will be to the next wave of developers.
Oculus Quest owners will soon be able to tether their headset a USB-3 cable and partake of Rift content from their gaming PC, essentially bringing Quest much closer to the high-end gaming experience Rift provides. Oculus Link has caused some Rift S owners to fret over the future of their chosen headset but Oculus CTO John Carmack took a break from nailing shut the coffin of Samsung’s Gear VR to offer some reassurance. ”Rift S is more comfortable, lower latency (for now; that may eventually change), doesn’t get compressed graphics, and has five-camera tracking,” Carmack tweeted recently, pointing out the VR PC device’s superiority. That said, concerns are still alive and well over the lack of confirmed hand tracking heading Rift S users’ way. Many are asking, “Why launch such advanced tech on anything but the best device possible?” It appears Rift S users will have to wait for further word from the front on this matter.
Whatever lies ahead for Rift S and Quest owners is appetizing to say the least as Facebook and Oculus inch closer to full cohesion of the real and the virtual.