Facebook Reality Labs VP Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth says that the company’s recently-teased alternative to distributing apps on Oculus Quest is coming “much sooner than people think.”
Speaking to The Verge, Bosworth noted that he was “very excited” about the new direction and that “the status on that is it is coming much sooner than people think.” He didn’t, however, reveal any new details about this distribution method and what it might entail.
Facebook first teased non-store app distribution for Quest in June of last year. At the time the company said this method would “offer a new way to distribute your work in the Quest ecosystem, allowing you to share your apps to anyone with a Quest, without having to be accepted into the Oculus Store and without sideloading.”
Currently, the only official means of accessing apps on Quest is via the Oculus Store, and Facebook runs a tight curation system that sets a high-quality bar for releases. Quest, for example, doesn’t allow for Early Access releases (save for a few exceptions like Onward, though these games aren’t labelled as Early Access on the store itself). The policy has proved controversial, with many VR developers having their apps turned away from the store. At the same time, many developers with apps that do pass the bar go on to report strong sales on Quest.
But developers can still release on Quest via sideloading, which requires users to opt-in via Quest’s settings. Over the past few years, the SideQuest platform has grown to become the premier destination for sideloading Quest content, even selling some full games that were turned away from the official store, like To the Top.
Whatever Facebook’s new method may be, it may not be as immediately accessible as the Oculus Store itself. June’s message also noted: “While we expect many developers will want to share their apps as broadly as possible, we also see this new channel as a way to test early-stage applications and distribute to specific users.”
Are you looking forward to this alternative distribution method for Quest? What are you hoping to see from it? Let us know in the comments below!