Oculus throws birthday party for Quest with hand tracking and new games like 'Tetris Effect'

The hard-to-find standalone VR headset is getting even more immersive with new games and experiences that support hand tracking.


Nobody could have predicted that a year after launch the Oculus Quest would be sold out everywhere and users would spend over $100 million on content for the wireless VR headset. Or that VR would be having its iPhone moment thanks to the coronavirus pandemic keeping many people at home. But here we are in the strange year of 2020.

To celebrate the Quest (and the Rift S, its PC VR sibling), Oculus has announced a slew of new features for the VR headset like hand tracking (now out of beta and available for everyone) and content including Tetris Effect and Elixir. Until the second-gen Quest — rumored to be 10 to 15 percent smaller and lighter — comes out, these software updates will have to tide users over.

Fresh games and VR apps — If you have a Quest, there’s a good chance you have Beat Saber, the rhythm music game where you use lightsabers to slash incoming blocks. Maybe you’ve powered through all the levels and downloaded all the music packs and want more. Oculus is adding 20 new “beatmaps,” (10 with 360-degree support and 10 that work with one saber) on May 25.

Headlining the handful of new games coming is Tetris Effect, a spin on Alexey Pajitnov's classic block puzzler by the creators of Rez, that fuses blocks, music, and VR. Between this and Tetris 99 on the Nintendo Switch, the puzzle game has really seen creative remakes in recent years.

Quest isn’t all games, though. More people are using VR to hang out and socialize now that many cities are sheltering in place as well as work. On this front, the Oculus Quest can now run productivity apps like Spatial and Immersed, both of which let you run desktop apps inside of VR. Slowly, but surely, the Quest is fulfilling many of the promises of Ready Player One’s fictional Oasis VR headset, albeit with less graphical fidelity.

Hand tracking leaves beta — Launched as an experimental feature last December, Oculus is ready to roll out hand tracking for all. With hand tracking, VR game controls become even more realistic with more nuanced finger controls.

To kick things off, several games such as Elixir, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets, and Waltz of the Wizards will support hand tracking when they come out on May 28. Also coming out that same day are two VR experiences called Gloomy Eyes and The Line.

Smarter Guardian — The invisible "wall" that keeps you from bumping into stuff in your room is getting an update with improved "Playspace Scan" for setting up a room. Additionally, there are several new Guardian colors including blue, purple, and yellow. Nothing major, but a nice touch for the default teal.