A new blog post authored by Facebook’s Chris Pruett announces a stricter process for software approval on the upcoming Oculus Quest Store.
Facebook’s standalone VR system should ship in the coming months starting at only $400. Quest is a hybrid of the company’s previous efforts with Oculus Go, Gear VR and Oculus Rift. Like Go, Quest is a fully self-contained VR system. Like Rift, Quest ships with Touch controllers and 6DoF tracking perfect for engaging games like Superhot and Face Your Fears.
Quest Competes With Nintendo Switch
Oculus Quest is also a departure from earlier VR efforts at Facebook.
Efforts like Oculus Share, Concepts, Gallery and the Mobile Game Jam encouraged widely sharing unfinished work. There’s also an Early Access section available on Rift for projects that are in active development. With Quest, though, Facebook aims to compete directly for time against the likes of Nintendo Switch.
On Oculus Rift, it is a simple toggle in the menu system to allow unapproved content while on Oculus Go you need to sign up as a developer to activate “sideloading“. This is also how developers can distribute apps among friends and testers. In contrast, game consoles typically limit user access to the operating system. Console software releases also come from a single storefront. We’re still getting a picture of where Quest sits on that “openness” spectrum.
“We haven’t changed our stance on the massive value of early experimentation. In fact, we’ve increased our investment in independent developers with programs like Oculus Start. We don’t intend to shut down sharing of builds amongst friends,” Pruett wrote in an email in response to questions. “Like Oculus Go, Quest builds can be shared easily to others who have Developer Mode turned on. The goal of this new policy is to ensure that the contents of our storefront are consistently high quality. We have a lot of quality on Rift, and much of that is thanks to experimentation. Many of those titles will make their way to Quest as well. That’s part of the reason we’re not changing the Rift store policy.”
Facebook is still keeping the Quest launch lineup under wraps. The company is investing considerably, though, with partners in bringing titles to the system. We expect details in the coming weeks at the Game Developers Conference. In the meantime, though, the blog post from Facebook set some new expectations ahead of the VR console’s broader availability.
“We’ve set a high bar for content quality on Quest, higher than we’ve ever enforced before, in order to build a platform where everyone has confidence in the quality of the titles they’re buying and developers know that their investments have a strong chance of success,” Pruett’s post states. “It’s important to submit a concept document for review as early in your development cycle as possible. Those titles that pass this early review unlock direct support and resources from Oculus to help you make your title as high quality as it can possibly be. This new process is specific to Oculus Quest: no changes have been made to our application submission system for Rift or Oculus Go.”
I asked Facebook if they might implement a similar Early Access program on Quest as they do on Rift.
“We don’t have an Early Access program for Quest today, but it’s something we might consider in the future,” Pruett wrote. “We are not changing the store approval process for Rift or Oculus Go, but the Quest quality requirements may indirectly affect developers who intend to launch on both Quest and Rift.”