Oculus today introduced App Lab, a new way to distribute games for the Oculus quest. People will no longer be restricted to purchasing games in the Oculus store. The company is now offering official access to third-party distribution.
When Oculus launched the quest platform, it wanted to cater to newcomers to virtual reality, and part of its strategy was to make sure all content on the platform was of high calibre. Many games were denied access to the Oculus Store for not meeting the company's standards. Today, there are far more users on the Quest platform, and they often want to explore new software beyond Oculus's curated platform.
From this point forward, developers can distribute content that's not in the Oculus Store without requiring side loading. Now they can send a link or a product key to distribute games that don't meet Oculus standards.
The games you install through the App Lab system will not show up in the Oculus storefront; however, they will show up in the user's game library. You'll be able to pull up your games right directly from the standard quest window instead of having to go to unknown sources. This will make the distribution of games much easier, and it will make it easier to use third party content for people who don't have as much tech experience.
The SideQuest platform is a third-party distribution system that allows you to download games that don't meet Oculus's standards for content on its storefront. Oculus has never prevented SideQuest from existing; however, it has never officially endorsed SideQuest either. With this new App Lab system, the SideQuest platform is now a sanctioned distribution platform for Quest content.
Oculus said that the Oculus Store would continue to be curated with the same high-quality level in a release to its developer community. Still, App Lab lets developers get apps out directly to their community, even if it is early in development, experimental, or aimed at a unique audience.
App Lab apps will have access to all the standard Quest platform features, such as automatic updates. Developers will still be required to continue to adhere to Oculus content standards to be eligible for App Lab distribution. App Lab games will also require support for app sharing.
Oculus app lab is available with Oculus quest version 25 rolling out this week starting today. As with all Oculus updates, the rollout will be staggered, so don't panic if you don't see the update today; you should see it within the next few days.
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