Meta Quest won’t be getting ‘air controller’ support anytime soon

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Meta Quest won't be getting 'air controller' support anytime soon

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Will Meta Quest’s hand tracking one day be used to emulate physical controllers? Meta rules out this possibility.

FACTS

X user Luna posted a screenshot of unknown origin yesterday, suggesting that Meta is working on a feature that emulates controllers using hand tracking.

Meta’s Product Manager AR/VR inputs, Alex Dufetel, responded to the post and ruled out such a feature.

“This is an internal capability for testing purposes. It’s not intended for end users. Emulating controllers with hands is unsolved, probably unsolvable problem. We may at some point open this up for devs and curious users who want to experiment, but it will never be mainstream,” says Dufetel.

In another post, he continues: “We’ve experimented with emulating a bit, but we quickly realized it was extremely difficult to emulate controller controls well in a way that can work similarly from one experience to another.”

According to Dufetel, great experiences are built from the ground up with one interaction model and input capability in mind, and it is very difficult to substitute that input capability with another after the fact without deeply adjusting the gameplay.

CONTEXT

“Air controllers” are not the answer

The question of emulated controllers is also relevant in the context of the Apple Vision Pro, which does away with VR controllers and relies solely on hand tracking. Dufetel’s answer suggests that “air controllers” are not feasible, apart from the fact that the haptic component is also missing.

Instead, apps and games need to be optimized from the ground up for gesture-based controls, a relatively new challenge that developers are likely to take on in the coming years if Vision Pro’s input paradigm sees mainstream adoption.

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