“The VR community must expand to become a viable medium. We believe Quest is the [first] VR [hardware] that has the potential to do so. So we’re extremely sensitive to what we present to new VR users.”
-Facebook's Jason Rubin explains why the Quest has a stricter submission process than the Rift and Go.
Virtual reality developers are no doubt familiar with Oculus’ content approval policies on the Quest. Back in February, the company announced that launching a game on the standalone VR headset would require devs to submit a concept document early into a project’s development. At the time, Oculus said that step aimed to ensure games and apps on the Quest both highlight the platform’s capabilities and meet a certain quality standard.
That strict focus on curation hasn’t sat well with some developers however, prompting Jason Rubin, the VP of both special gaming strategies and AR/VR partnerships and content at Oculus-parent Facebook, to take to Twitter to explain why the company believes such a policy is necessary and talk through some of the specific conflicts that have arisen in the months since it was put into place.
Rubin says that, first and foremost, the decision to closely curate the Quest’s storefront comes as a result of the standalone headset’s potential to introduce a larger community to VR hardware and software. He says that it is the company's belief that the Quest is the first VR headset with the potential to make VR a viable medium, and that status informs Oculus' curation decisions.
“We want any decision a consumer makes in the store to be rewarding and encourage another,” reads Rubin’s tweet. He reiterates in his full thread that the purpose of the early approval system is to ensure that developers don’t pour time and resources into a potential Quest game that Oculus doesn’t believe is a good fit for the platform, or that don’t meet the company’s quality standard.
“We attempted to go out early and inform dev community of our Quest curation plans so we could ensure their efforts would lead to success. We apologize that we didn’t reach all devs we wanted and some submitted final products that did not meet our quality bar.”
He says that goal had been to communicate this policy early enough where developers wouldn’t be blindsided leading up to the launch of the Quest, but that wasn’t the case for some developers already working towards a Quest launch. In some instances, Oculus sent out Dev Kits to developers ahead of finalizing its curation process, causing the exact situation the company aimed to avoid through the policy to begin with.
“We don’t want to reject final projects any more than devs want to be rejected. Nobody wins in that situation,” explains Rubin. “Rejection at [the] concept stage is not the end of the road for a dev or app. It does NOT speak ill of the dev or idea. It’s an invitation to prove us wrong. Test that app in our PC store or any other. We are always on the lookout for breakout ideas.”
Rubin’s full thread, found here, touches on the issues specific developers have had as well, including those behind Virtual Desktop, Jet Island, and To The Top.