Now you can play VR Chat without any controllers at all

Hand tracking in VR Chat
(Image credit: VR Chat)

What you need to know

  • Hand tracking is now available in the open beta version of VR Chat.
  • Anyone can download and install the open beta, which is a separate client from the main VR Chat app.
  • Players can use their hands to navigate, move around, and do just about everything in VR Chat they normally do with controllers.

VR Chat is one of the biggest virtual social apps in existence and is constantly adding new features to make the app better than ever. If you've been feeling restricted by the stiff movements of virtual hands while using controllers, VR Chat's latest feature is exactly what you're looking for.

When you download the VR Chat Open Beta — which is a separate version of VR Chat from the main app — you'll be able to navigate through virtual worlds using just your hands on an Oculus Quest 2 or Meta Quest Pro. You can have both the regular and open beta VR Chat apps installed at the same time if you'd like. Folks on the open beta client can still play with their friends even if those friends aren't using the open beta. They just might not see all the cool new stuff you're playing with.

While you can also check out some new features in the Steam version of VR Chat Open Beta, hand tracking only works on the native Quest versions of VR Chat. This is due to a restriction in how hand tracking is supported on the Quest platform.

VR Chat developers have put together a quick 2-minute that'll give you the full run-down of all the new features and how to use hand tracking in VR Chat, which you can find below. In the video, you'll learn how to navigate the world using virtual locomotion, open menus, interact with other objects, and more. You can toggle between comfort turning and smooth turning, and can even jump using hand tracking controls.

Hand tracking can be used to interact with the world and communicate more naturally. As UploadVR points out, hand tracking can significantly help users who primarily communicate via sign language. While hand tracking on Quest isn't perfect, Meta has substantially improved the technology since originally launching it over two years ago, and the latest version 2.1 updates further improves tracking even when hands can't be clearly seen by the headset's cameras. Check out more great hand tracking games if you want to try a few more, as well!

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu