Hand-tracking in location-based VR business

This article was originally published at Affinity VR

What is hand tracking all about?

We don’t hear much about hand-tracking VR since this technology very often goes unnoticed. Leap Motion did a breakthrough by becoming the first-ever company to introduce hand tracking as an alternative for mice and keyboards. In 2017, it managed to raise $50 million with their product. Rumor had it Apple wanted to buy it, but unfortunately their rival company Ultrahaptics was the lucky one that’s bought Leap Motion recently. Their unity now does everything possible to make machines-humans interactions easier and coming naturally. It’s impossible to say for sure what kind of product they’ll create together: whether it’ll be an AR device for one hundred dollars or a controller with combined features of hand-tracking and mid-air haptics. Or maybe both?

In the first months of the upcoming year, Oculus company is planning to launch its hand-tracking as well. Navah Berg – a social virtual reality influencer and a person who’s already had an opportunity to try it – shared his impressions: “Removing controllers makes the experience so much more real because moving freely without equipment in your hands gives you the feeling of freedom and ultimate reality.” 

On the other hand, Ben Lang (Road to VR) thinks it’d be a better thing to use hand-tracking for casual input. But does it make this technology inappropriate for gaming? Although it may appear to be so, in reality, it’s vice versa. 

Entertainment for everyone

Casual usage is great when it comes to outside-home entertainment. Playing video games or arcades venues won’t attract the majority of people. Instead, attractions within amusement parks will do it. It doesn’t matter what groups of audience we are talking about – kids or teenagers, adults, elders, families and friends or colleagues. They all present the mobile type of games audience, not PC. Most of them enjoy casual games and simply adore to have fun, to be entertained. No one wants to strive hard to be amused. That’s the time when hand-tracking comes in handy for it combines simplicity and entertainment. 

If some of your friends, colleagues or family members don’t have gaming experience, now you can bring them along to have a good time. Nothing easier than moving your hands in the air, so everyone will adapt intuitively for sure. 

 “When people grab controllers, they are like ‘Ah, okay, this is a video game’. And when they see their hands in VR thanks to hand-tracking tech, they are like ‘Wow, I’m actually inside the game right now. Shortly followed by the realization that their friends and family are there with them,” – says Jorge Torales, CEO at Prague’s VR park Torch VR.

Furthermore, people certainly have high hopes for such a thing as hand-tracking. “A group of customers declined to play any VR game with controllers because they ‘didn’t come here to play videogames, and were promised to visit an attraction’,” – says Olga Glagoleva, Outreality VR center holder (Russia). 

What are your limits in the game? 

Both Jorge and Olga offer their customers games created by Avatarico company. There, users are able to interact with objects and freely move and see their hands. Moreover, it’s possible to experience the so-called phantom feeling which reminds touching. As for the variety of movements, it includes swimming, riding vehicles and even flying. 

Actually, it’s an unforgettable experience that allows you using  gestures to make the gaming process more fun and filled with chatting. Ever tried to receive a hi-five in VR? There’s nothing to it now.

Besides, you may get superpowers like a true comic book hero. Create pure magic with your bare hands – become the master of telekinesis, shoot fireballs and dangerous lasers.

What else is good to know?

Such games with hand-tacking are designed to be played in a seated position. It means that in a physical sense users are comfortably sitting in chairs, while in virtual reality they swim, dive or fly. Although it may not sound like pure fun, actually it has a lot in common with amusement park where you also need to sit to bounce, ride, drive or fly in the game.

Many people are worried about the motion sickness aspect of this kind of entertainment. If we keep in mind the same comparison with the amusement parks` attractions, indeed, some users may feel uncomfortable. But as with almost everything in this world, it may simply be an individual thing. Anyway, you should know that there exist various tools to reduce any possible negative effects of playing with hand-tracking technology. Don’t try to extend your body too much, since here goes the idea of cooperation of these games – you are not alone, so there’s nothing wrong with asking your teammates to help you. Or if they are as confused as you are, a game operator will be glad to do it by becoming your right hand guiding through the game.

What games can you play?

COSMOS game brings players into space station from which they need to escape. It’s an adventure where you can experience zero-gravity flight, shoot lasers, interact with objects and fight robots – all with your bare hands.

MIND HORROR is a chance to dive into the mind of a maniacal serial killer. You are to solve tricky puzzles and find the answers to numerous memories of this evil person.    

Where to try them?

It should be noted that there are over 50 locations all over the world that offer games with hand-tracking technology. However, we highlighted the following ones:

 1. TorchVR center – Europe, Prague’s (the Czech Republic)

 2. Entermission’s best locations are in the US (California, Texas, Massachusetts)

 3. Virtual Reality Rooms welcome their visitors in Sydney along with Entermission in Melbourne – Australia

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