Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used the company’s Oculus Connect developer conference in San Jose Wednesday to announce 2 major updates for the company’s Oculus Quest VR headset: The all-in-one device will support had tracking starting in 2020, Zuckerberg said.
The company showed off the new feature in a video posted on social media:
Introducing Hand Tracking on #OculusQuest—Bringing Your Real Hands into VR 👋 #OC6 // https://t.co/OYl18G8RaY pic.twitter.com/1jIrYhNIbS
— Oculus (@oculus) September 25, 2019
“Hand tracking will revolutionize input for VR.” said Oculus VR hardware product manager Stephanie Lue during the keynote. “This is going to be a game changer.” Lue said that Facebook would make a beta version of hand tracking available “early next year.”
In addition, Quest owners will also be able to run games and apps designed for PC-based Oculus Rift headsets soon. To do this, consumers will have to connect their Quest headsets to gaming PCs with a USB cable. The update, dubbed Oculus Link, will come to Quest headsets in November. “Your Quest is basically a Rift now too,” Zuckerberg said.
In addition to these hardware updates, Zuckerberg also announced a major new software initiative for Oculus VR. The company is building its own social VR world, dubbed Horizon, that will let people meet with others, and build their own spaces — something that sounds very similar to virtual worlds like Sansar.
“We built Horizon to be a welcoming and inclusive experience from day one,” Zuckerberg said. Horizon will launch with a closed beta early next year.
Zuckerberg also used his appearance to reiterate Facebook’s commitment to VR, saying that the company had been selling Quest VR headsets as fast as it was able to make them. He didn’t provide any hardware sales numbers for the Quest, but did reveal some software sales: “People have bought more than $100 million of content in the Oculus store,” Zuckerberg said. More than 20% of that had been Quest app / game sales, he specified.
“This is going to be the next computing platform, and it’s only gonna get more exciting from here,” Zuckerberg concluded.