If you are someone who has never tried virtual reality before, you are likely to be introduced to Google Cardboard or Samsung GearVR first. Almost every time I have witnessed someone experience VR for the first time in these devices, they tried to reach out to touch what they are seeing but they aren’t able to since these Cardboard & GearVR don’t come packed with hand-tracking capabilities out the box. Because of this, what VR needs most is hand-tracking to help users retain their interest and immersion in the VR world.
So I rounded up a list of the top 5 GearVR & Cardboard apps that would benefit greatly from hand-tracking technology. (A head strap mount would be needed for Google Cardboard)
Proton Pulse is a fun game with incredibly simple head-tracking controls. It is basically a 3D version of the classic game, Breakout. The player controls the paddle simply by looking around.
Hand-tracking could make this game even more impressive and natural though. With hand-tracking, the paddle can be controlled with one hand in front of the VR headset and there can be an applied force mechanic. Players would actually have full control of how fast or slow they want to hit the ball based on their strike.
2. Oculus Social Beta (GearVR)
Oculus Social Beta is in desperate need of a feature like hand-tracking. As of now, its users’ avatars are nothing more than floating heads. This limits the overall experience of the app because all the player can do is talk to other players and watch videos. Since this app is online only, it would be ground-breaking to be able to move your hands around in the real world and have your friends see your avatar move accordingly in the virtual world. Hand-tracking could introduce a whole bunch of new activities in Oculus’ virtual world such as card games or playing catch.
Sisters is a VR horror story. It could benefit from hand-tracking by making the story more interactive. The way it is now, the story always has the same ending but with hand-tracking there could be more possibilities to make the story less linear and more reliant on the users’ action. This will ultimately make the app even scarier than it already is because of the added immersion. Even if the story retains its linearity, hand-tracking could be used to interact with the characters and objects around the room to trigger more scares.
4. BAMF (Cardboard)
BAMF is a platformer adventure game that only uses teleportation for movement. For a game about exploration, this game is sure to benefit from hand-tracking. There could be interactive puzzles that you could reach out and solve using your hands (i.e. activating switches and pushing buttons).
EndSpace VR is a solid space shooter game with a vomit inducing “turn head to steer” control method that is in need of a more hands-on piloting experience. An “air-steering” control method could work out great for this game. where the user can see and interact with the yoke (steering) and other controls/buttons in the cockpit. Yes, this game can be played with a controller but this diminishes the accessibility.
Even if these apps don’t contain hand-tracking (yet) I still suggest that everyone should try them out if they haven’t. All 5 experiences show great potential for the future of VR. Here at uSens, it is one of our goals to bring AR/VR hand-tracking into the rapidly growing mobile VR market. VR needs to be simple and intuitive for it to attain massive appeal in the mainstream audience. Samsung GearVR and Google Cardboard do a great job in making mobile VR simple but hand-tracking would be a great asset to make the experience more natural.