This is the ultimate guide to Oculus Quest hand tracking. We cover verything you need to know about using your hands as your controllers on the Oculus Quest headset:
- What hand tracking is and why it’s awesome.
- Tips for using hand tracking in games instead of your Oculus touch controllers.
- The best Oculus Quest 2 games which use hand tracking.
NEW: Oculus has enabled a new 60 Hz hand tracking mode. We have details about that below. We’ve also added a brand new game called Unplugged into our top list below.
If we haven’t covered anything specific, comment down below and we’ll get you an answer. If you are a VR developer making a game that supports hand tracking, contact us and we’d love to feature it!
Must-read: Oculus Quest Pro: All you need to know
- What is Oculus Quest Hand Tracking?
- How Does Hand Tracking Work?
- How to Turn Oculus Quest Hand Tracking On/Off
- 60 Hz Fast Hand Tracking Mode
- Best Games With Hand Tracking on the Oculus Quest
What is Oculus Quest Hand Tracking?
Hand tracking is a feature that allows you to use your hands instead of the Oculus touch controllers. With hand tracking, you can interact with objects more naturally using your fingers instead of with a controller in your hand.
Hand tracking is a feature usually reserved for more advanced and expensive VR headsets. Its inclusion in the Oculus Quest is a big win for casual VR players looking to use advanced features. Some VR headsets like the Oculus Quest Pro come with an advanced hand tracking feature that enables you to use your hands instead of the controllers.
As of Build 17.0 for the Quest, released on May 18, 2020, hand tracking is not an experimental feature anymore. It can be utilized by any VR game for the Oculus Quest.
The Oculus Quest 2 also comes with full hand tracking capabilities.
How Does Hand Tracking Work?
Oculus Quest hand tracking uses the cameras on the outside of the Oculus Quest to track the position of your fingers and hand. Once calibrated, it uses sophisticated internal software to track the movement of your hand in real time.
Inside of the Oculus menu screens, here are some universal hand gestures which you can use:
|Point and Pinch||Select||Point ahead at something until a cursor appears and then pinch your thumb and finger together to select.|
|Pinch and Scroll||Scrolling||Pinch your index and thumb finger inward and move up, down, left, or right to scroll.|
|Palm Pinch||Go back to Oculus Home||Point your palm at yourself at eye left and hold your thumb and index finger together until the Oculus icon fills up and then release.|
Here are some demo pictures to help you learn each gesture.
How to Turn Oculus Quest Hand Tracking On/Off
Hand Tracking can be toggled on or off easily in the Quest settings:
- From the Oculus Quest home screen, select Settings.
- Click on Devices.
- Select Hands and Controllers.
- Under the Hand Tracking section, you can turn Oculus Quest Hand Tracking on or off.
In this screen, you can also turn auto switching on or off. If auto switching is on, the Oculus Quest will automatically detect and switch between hands and controllers. If auto switching is off, then you need to manually enable and disable hand tracking using the button on your universal menu.
60 Hz Fast Hand Tracking Mode
At the end of April 2021, Oculus added support for a new 60 Hz hand tracking mode. This new feature allows the camera to track your hand movement twice as fast as before. Enabling this feature reduces the latency in hand tracking by 10% and makes improvements during fast motion games.
However, Oculus is limiting the CPU and GPU power when this feature is turned on, to prevent VR headsets from overheating. So, developers need to optimize their games accordingly if they want to change from the standard 30 Hz option.
We don’t have a good indication on which games use 30 vs 60 Hz Oculus Quest hand tracking, but trust that they have optimized things for your benefit. Next, we take a look at some of the best hand tracking games available today.
Best Games With Hand Tracking on the Oculus Quest
If a game includes functionality for Oculus Quest hand tracking, it will be listed as one of the inputs in the game listing on the Oculus Store. There are not that many games that support the feature. Three games have announced hand tracking support in the future: Walts of the Wizard, Elixir, and The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets.
Luckily, if you’ve setup SideQuest to sideload onto the Oculus Quest, then you have access to a ton of great games and apps that use hand tracking.
Here are some of the best hand tracking games for the Oculus Quest:
UPDATED: Winter 2021
Unplugged is a Guitar Hero or Rock Band style rhythm game that is completely designed for virtual reality and hand tracking play. In Unplugged, you hold an air guide and strum to the rhythm of real life licensed songs. Your fingers have to move to play different notes and stay in key.
The entire game is played without any controllers. The cameras on the Meta Quest track your hand movement in real time and the crowd in the game responds accordingly.
Unplugged features real life songs from:
- The Offspring
- The Hives
- Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Ozzy Osbourne
- Tenacious D
Check out a demo of the game in the video below.
Vacation Simulator has added experimental Oculus Quest hand tracking into the game. You can now use your human hands to interact in the game and play all of the mini-games. A brand new DLC called “Back to Job” adds new tasks and games as well.
Vacation Simulator is a collection of mini games centered around Vacation Island. You can interact with bots, get lost exploring the island, or try to set high scores in each game.
Full amenities include:
- Experience Vacation Island, your destination for optimal relaxation and/or efficient memory-making!
- Customize a virtual YOU for picture-perfect selfies!
- Wave to interact with a colorful cast of Bots!
- Splash in the silicon sea and bask in simulated sunlight, all without getting sand in your… hands!
- Get lost connecting with your roots, nodes, and branches… then get actually lost on a hike!
- Elevate your ice-sculpting skills to new heights and reach peak cozy by knitting mittens for a snowhuman!
The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets
The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets was one of the first games in the official Oculus store to add full hand tracking support. In this game, you help your grandfather solve different mysteries to find stolen pets. You use your hands as a god-like character to move, manipulate, and interact with miniature worlds in front of you.
Curious Tale is a really awesome introduction to hand tracking on the Oculus Quest. Gameplay is light, fun, and interesting. Puzzles are not too hard to solve, which is nice for casual players. Hand tracking is simple enough to learn but takes some time to master.
A lot of hand tracking demos so far only live on Sidequest. If you want to jump in to an official Oculus game and go, Curious Tale is our #1 pick.
Hand Physics Lab
Hand Physics Lab is an excellent starting point for hand tracking. This experience showcases a ton of different ways that you can use your hands in real time without any controllers, including:
- Interactive Buttons and Controllers
- Tools (Hammer, Knife, Crowbar)
- Building blocks
- Drawing board
- Egg Painting Station
- Weight lifting
- Interactive Puppet
- Telekinesis and Force Fields
A few minutes in Hand Physics Lab will have you really excited at the possibilities of this feature in VR! Hand Physics Lab is available to sideload from SideQuest. If you don’t know what that means, check out our SideQuest and top SideQuest games guides.
VRWorkout is a VR fitness game that lets you burn calories in virtual reality. Unlike other VR workout games like BoxVR which force you to use Touch controllers, VRWorkout can be done with only your hands!
The game uses hand tracking to count reps and effort in the game, which is a cool behind-the-scenes way to use the technology. You work through a series of different workouts where you have to jump, squat, do pushups, side plans, crunches, running, and burpees.
VRWorkout is also a game that you sideload from SideQuest. We have a full guide on VRWorkout here.
Cubism is a puzzle game where you have to fit colored blocks into a specified space. The game is a demo fo a future full release that is going to come.
Cubism recently introduced hand tracking as a feature so that you can pinch and move your hands to manipulate blocks on the screen. It’s a good demo of how you can use your hands to play VR without the Oculus controllers.
Sideload Cubism onto your device from SideQuest.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to play piano in VR, then VRtuous is for you. The game uses hand tracking EXCLUSIVELY to teach you. This is a great demo to see how accurate the feature is for Quest headsets.
The game needs you to place your hands on a real piano first in order to track accurately. If you can do that, then you can use your hands in VR. After that, you can import your own music and learn new songs on the piano in real time.
Richie’s Plank Experience
Richie’s Plank Experience is one of the original VR games. It is a psychological experience where you have to take an elevator to the roof of a tall building and then walk a plank over and above a city. The game is very popular for new VR beginners and is popular to show off to friends.
The latest version of Richie’s now supports Oculus Quest hand tracking! This means that you don’t have to tether the controllers to your hands to try out this unique game. Simply put your headset on and do everything else with your hands.
Virtual Desktop is an awesome tool that you can use to view media and play VR games stored on your computer wirelessly. We’ve written a full guide on how to get setup with Virtual Desktop on Oculus Quest if you are inteested.
Virtual Desktop now supports Oculus Quest hand tracking as well. Not only can you use your hands to navigate your computer, but controls are also extended to PCVR games experimentally! This means that you can try out hand tracking on tons of other games that aren’t meant to be run that way.
For example, you can play Beat Saber with just your hands using Virtual Desktop.
The Line isn’t a game, but a cinematic experience. It’s a 20 minute interactive story featuring two miniature dolls, Pedro and Rosa.
Set within a scale model of 1940s São Paulo, this room-scale experience invites you to pull on knobs and even crawl under the machinery to unfold the story of these figurines who are perfect for each other but reluctant to live out their love. “The Line” is great to showcase VR for first-time users.
You can watch The Line while seated, or play in room-scale mode and walk around your environment. The addition of Oculus Quest hand tracking into the game makes the experience even better.
Tea For God
Tea For God is a game that you can install via SideQuest VR or itch.io. It’s a shooting game where you have to navigate different worlds, shoot enemies, and make it to the end of each level.
The cool thing about Tea For God is that all of the levels are procedurally generated. This means that you get to endlessly walk and creep around your house in virtual reality without ever going outside your VR roomscale. No matter how little or big your guardian boundary is, the game will fit into this space.
You really need to install the game in order to appreciate its design. Even better, Tea For God supports Oculus Quest hand tracking. This means that pressing a button, pulling up menus, and shooting your gun happens with nothing but your fingers.
Waltz of the Wizard
Waltz of the Wizard is a single-player experience where you get to play a magical wizard. If you have ever wanted to make things disappear with a snap of your finger, throw fireballs, or telekinesis, then this experience is for you.
Combine arcane ingredients into a boiling cauldron and cast creative and destructive spells in a fully interactive world, solve riddles, battle ancient guardians and discover the many details of a mysterious world designed to feel like a believable reality.
This action-adventure experience has full Oculus Quest hand tracking functionality.
In Tiny Castles, you play as a powerful god. Your objective is to free your “believers” from the evil god and his minions and advance forward to destroy the obelisk which powers the evil in this world. The game is purely for hand tracking demo and lacks real challenge and difficulty balancing
Included in Tiny Castles is the “Playground” level, which is the best place to experience all of the game mechanics in an isolated setting. The actual game levels demonstrate these mechanics in real game scenarios.
Handbox is an open sandbox for Oculus Quest hand tracking. It allows you to interact with real objects the same you would do in real live. Joints, skin, and movement are accurately portrayed in VR.
Some of the things you can do in handbox are:
- Throw dice, rocks, balls, and objects
- Wave and move your hands and all five fingers accurately around
- Play with an abacus (extremely fine hand movement)
Handbox is focused on extreme realism in virtual reality. The development team plans on releasing an SDK so that other Oculus Quest games can implement hand tracking features too.
This is a fun and realistic demo we hope turns into more soon.
What is your favorite Oculus Quest hand tracking experience?
If you have a best hand tracking game to share with us, do it down below in the comments!