Now that App Lab is officially live for Oculus Quest, that means consumers have a more simplified way of accessing non-store content on their VR headsets. So, what does this mean for the future of SideQuest, the original independent third-party platform for non-store content?
In short, it’s a good thing. At least, that’s what SideQuest creator Shane Harris and the official Facebook blog post about App Lab both say.
When App Lab was unveiled yesterday, the blog post mentions SideQuest in the opening sentence as one of the avenues developers can use to provide direct links to App Lab content. It goes on to say that they’ve “worked closely” with SideQuest in launching App Lab and embedded this link for developers to submit App Lab projects for listing on SideQuest.
Since App Lab apps do not show up in the Oculus Quest store and are not discoverable by traditional means in the headset or the Oculus app, platforms like SideQuest will actually end up being even more important than before.
The platform will serve the same purpose functionally. Just now, instead of sending users to itch.io to buy something or asking them to plug in their headset to sideload the app, they’re taken to the App Lab page instead.
“I think this will be good for the SideQuest community,” says Harris. “App Lab does not offer any kind of discovery so SideQuest is still the best chance developers have at being discovered with our nearly 1.5m monthly active users.”
In fact, as of today, SideQuest already has an App Lab category on its platform. When you visit the SideQuest page for a game that’s on App Lab, there is now an “Oculus App” button in the top right corner of the page as well as an “App Lab” label at the top corner of the asset library. Click the button and it takes you to the App Lab page.
“We are happy to see more options for our developers in addition to sideloading,” says Harris. “If App Lab delivers on what it promises we hope this indicates that Facebook has turned a corner and will embrace the indie community. We will continue as always to offer discovery for developers on and off the Oculus Store and we hope this is a step in the right direction.”
Are you a VR developer that’s working on something for Quest you have submitted or plan on submitted for App Lab? Let us know down in the comments or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!