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Oculus eyeing 'easier ways' to let apps launch on Quest outside of the Oculus Store

While Oculus' strict content rules will remain in place, the platform is looking into other ways developers can officially launch games for the Quest without using the Oculus Store.

Oculus has maintained strict control over what is allowed to launch on Quest since shortly before the standalone VR headset’s debut, efforts guided by the idea that the Quest should remain a curated platform.

While it doesn’t appear that Oculus is backing down from its strict approval process for Quest games on the Oculus Store, Oculus' director of content ecosystem Chris Pruett has suggested that the team may create official channels for non-Store hosted games to arrive on Quest.

Pruett said as much in a Twitter thread on that curation process, saying that concrete information will arrive “soon” but that easier paths for Quest-curious developers are something the company is mulling over internally.

“We also understand that many devs and enthusiasts are looking for easier ways to access and distribute applications outside of the Oculus Store,” writes Pruett. “This is an area we’re actively thinking about (more to share soon!)”

The typical process for landing a game on Oculus Quest requires developers to submit a concept document for Oculus’ consideration, a step intended to allow the company to approve or deny a game for a Quest launch before teams pour resources into building the game or a prototype.

In some cases, the teams behind rejected games turn to unofficial channels like sideloading tools to bring their games to Quest on their own. One notable game to take that route, Sumalab’s Crisis VRigade, has cleared 72,000 downloads through a sideloading tool despite being denied an official Oculus Store release twice (via UploadVR).

In the rest of his thread, Pruett seems to show that Oculus isn’t thinking about changing that curation and approval process as he says it has helped teams receive actionable feedback and “driven real developer success” on Quest. He also notes that Oculus has programs in place like Oculus Start and Launch Pad that are sometimes recommended to the teams behind rejected Quest concepts to “nurture promising devs and to provide support and resources to grow their work.”

“Focus on polish and quality for Quest has driven real developer success. We’ve found that honest, actionable feedback requires more than a form letter or a checklist of things to fix—devs are most successful when we have an ongoing relationship over the course of development," writes Pruett.

“That’s part of the reason we ask first for a concept document, rather than a playable build, for the Concept Approval title on Quest. We want to give early signal before the developer has spent significant resources on a project.”

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