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Hand-tracking and Oculus Rift games coming to stand-alone Quest VR headset

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Oculus Quest is an ‘all-in-one’ virtual reality system, but can also run PC games using Oculus Link

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The Oculus Rift and Quest virtual reality headsets in front of a suite of games Oculus VR

Oculus Quest is Oculus VR’s stand-alone virtual reality system that runs without a gaming PC — but now it works with computers, too.

During its Oculus Connect 6 event held today in San Jose, Oculus VR announced Oculus Link, which allows Quest users to play Oculus Rift content and games from their PCs. With the Link software and a “high-quality USB 3 cable,” Quest devices will be able to run Rift software using their gaming PC starting in November. Oculus VR said it’ll release its own “optical fiber cable” to go with the Link software “later this year.”

This means the Quest can be used, essentially, as a Rift — with the high-quality virtual reality you get from a gaming PC — while also allowing for the portability the Quest was designed for. The Quest runs on the Snapdragon 835 processor, which works well in the system — but it can’t offer the same quality that a high-end gaming processor can.

The other benefit is that is lets Quest users access the entire Rift library; the Quest offers a lot, but its software lineup is a lot smaller than Rift’s. The caveat, of course, is that you’ve got to be wired to the PC — grab your super long USB 3 cable! — to do so.

Alongside the Link announcement, Oculus VR announced a hand-tracking feature for the system. The Quest bundle comes with two Oculus Touch controllers, but now users don’t have to use them. Hand-tracking for Quest will launch in early 2020, Oculus VR said. “It works by using deep learning to understand the position of your hands and fingers using Quest’s onboard cameras, then translating this into VR,” Oculus VR said in its announcement post.

Compatible Oculus Go apps — more than 50 — are also coming to Quest. Oculus Go, like Quest, is an “all-in-one” headset that’s less powerful but more accessible at a $199 price point. It’s got its own library of apps, some of which will be available next week on Quest.

Oculus VR also said its bringing Passthrough+, a feature that gives users a “stereo-correct, real-time view of their surroundings while in VR,” to Quest next week. Passthrough+ lets users see their surroundings while wearing the headset, and was previously only available with Rift S.

The Oculus Quest is available starting at $399.