Sideloading platform Sidequest says they’ve seen 1 million downloads of their platform in less than a year’s time.
The platform arrived shortly after Oculus Quest started shipping in May 2019 to smooth out the process of loading up content onto Quest without formal approval by Facebook. Sidequest offered a route for developers to more easily find beta testers for their experimental Quest software and, in the case of Guy Godin’s Virtual Desktop, allowed for the release of a patched version of his software enabling a much-desired wireless PC VR streaming feature. In December, Facebook released a software development kit for experimental hand tracking and Sidequest immediately saw a number of small experiments on its platform making the in-progress apps available to willing testers. A few apps even found approval for eventual release on the official Quest store after proving their ideas had merit on Sidequest.
The sideloading process is gated by the requirement that Quest owners tell Facebook they are developers. And while the 1 million number is not unique (people who downloaded Sidequest multiple times would be counted each time) the figure still suggests a lot of people are using the software to expand their Quest experience.
A chart tweeted by the SidequestVR account on Twitter shows some of the statistics gathered since the middle of last year. 2.1 million is the number of total unique downloads of all games from the platform while “sign ups” refers to people who set up an account with the service, which allows for automatic updates and other features.
I reached out to the creator of the sideloading platform Shane Harris over direct message and asked him to send me the chart showing the number of downloads of software on Sideuqest broken down by date. He quickly sent along the following chart: