App Submission Review Process Guide

Oculus Developer Blog
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Posted by Kenji Iguchi and Maria Shum
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February 20, 2018
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This guide is intended to provide an overview of the Oculus Store submission process, from preparing your app through navigating review and release and distribution. In many ways this mirrors other stores that you might be familiar with, but do be aware there will be some differences as well.

Plan to submit at least two weeks in advance of your target launch date to allow time for us to review your app and make changes if necessary. During this time we'll verify that your app meets the Virtual Reality Check Guidelines (VRC's) for either Rift or Gear. Next we review the content for production value, polish, and general utility or appeal. Once the review is complete, we will contact you with details about your placement within the Oculus Store, verify that your assets and copy meet our design guidelines and coordinate your release.

You should submit your app when it's complete and ready for release, but if you're up against a tight deadline you can submit an almost finished build so that you can incorporate our feedback into your last development sprint. Please choose this option judiciously though, as we don't have bandwidth to provide early feedback for every app.

Before Submission

More details are available in our "how to prep for submission” post, but here are the basics:

  • Review our content policy. We don't allow illegal or adult content at all, and have distribution restrictions on other kinds of content such as B2B apps with limited consumer appeal and non-interactive 360 videos.
  • Test your build. We highly recommend running through our full test plans (Mobile, PC) that document the exact tests we'll perform during our technical review, but if you're short on time here are the most common gotchas:
  • Prepare your assets according to our design guidelines. Why is this important? Your assets not only demonstrate what your app does in order to attract consumers, we also have additional requirements to ensure your assets are legible and coherent throughout the VR experience.

Submitting

To submit your application, upload your build to the STORE release channel, then click Submit For Review in the left hand navigation to begin entering your app details. During the submission process you'll be able to select from the following categories:

  • Apps: utility applications such as video players and creativity tools
  • Games: interactive content with rules where the player can either win or lose
  • Entertainment: narrative-driven experiences that may be minimally or fully interactive, but lack the ruleset and win/lose state of a game
  • Early Access: content that is interesting, playable, and well on its way to being finished. This category provides a means for developers to charge for their work-in-progress, while giving early users the chance to be a part of the development process.

We also love it when developers use the “Notes for reviewer” field, which is where you can privately send comments to the Store team. Trying to hit a specific launch date? Does the reviewer need a special login? Only made minor tuning changes since your last build? This extra context is helpful!

After entering your app details, make sure you click the submit button. You'll immediately get an email confirming your app has been submitted successfully.

After your app has been submitted, it will go through these statuses:

  • Submitted - your app has been received by Oculus, if you need to make changes you have one hour before it changes to “Under Review”
  • Under Review - we are checking if your app meets our requirements to be published on the Oculus Store
    • While under review you won't be able to make updates to the build, copy, assets, etc. If you need to make changes, email us at submissions@oculus.com.
  • Changes Requested - we will move it to this status if edits are required to the app. You'll receive an email with specifics on what you need to change.

The Review Process

The review process consists of three parts: Technical Review, Content Review, and Publishing Review.

The technical review verifies the app conforms to our Virtual Reality Check (VRC) guidelines (PC, Mobile), which includes things like meeting performance targets and Oculus-specific integrations like entitlement checks and reserved interactions. The results of these tests will be shown in the developer dashboard and also be sent to you via email. To help you prepare for the technical review process, we've created detailed sample test plans for Mobile and PC. These downloadable plans list the exact criteria we use to test your app during the technical review phase of the app submission process, explains each requirement in detail, and includes steps to test and what the expected result is.

Quality is more than just a list of technical requirements. During the content review phase, we evaluate apps based on their production value, polish, utility, and entertainment value. This review helps inform the promotional support we'll provide for your launch.

The third phase is publishing review, where we will discuss details for your app release such as launch date, price, and assets. Oculus may make recommendations to any of these areas to maximize the impact of your launch.

You will receive an email as we complete each part of the process. When we request for updates or changes, we will move your submission into “changes requested” status with an explanation of what you need to do. In order to proceed, resolve the issue and then resubmit the application to us. If you have any questions, send us a message on the forums or email submissions@oculus.com and we'll clarify your next steps. You can also email us if your submission is locked in “under review” status and you'd like us to put it into “changes requested” so that you can make edits.

Release

After your review is complete, the possible statuses are:

  • Approved: Your app is ready to publish. Oculus will coordinate with you what the date and time of your release will be. If you need to make updates to the build please wait until your app has gone live.
  • Published: your app is published and live on the Oculus Store.
  • Approved for keys: your app is approved to take advantage of the Oculus platform, but we will not provide discovery and marketing within the Oculus Store. Common reasons why apps are approved for keys are when the content is too advertorial, there's no compelling consumer use case, or the app is so low quality that it doesn't really work.
  • Rejected: Rejections are rare and used only when apps break policies regarding security, adult content, and other serious violations.

You can read more about the Oculus Distribution options here.

The actual release processes are handled on our side, so there is no “Click here to launch” button.

Once the review is complete and your app is released, updates to the app binary do not require re-review. The moment you upload a new version of your app binary to the Developer Dashboard's STORE channel, the app will be pushed out to all existing users of your app, immediately and without review. This is convenient, but do please be careful of bugs!

On the other hand, updates to the metadata (banner images, descriptions, trailers, etc.) do need additional review when updated. This will take approximately 1-2 business days after submitting. As always, remember to hit the submit button after making changes!

After release, the Price field in the developer dashboard will be locked down. Please contact the Store team to make price changes or run sales. We also occasionally plan large-scale sales, in which case we may reach out to you with a sale price suggestion.

We'll be sharing more about promotions, analytics, and managing your app business in the coming weeks.

In Closing

I hope this document helps in understanding the various functionalities of the Oculus platform and how the store review process works. The Developer Dashboard holds many more features that weren't covered here. Even if you don't have immediate plans to submit an app, we recommend you open the Dashboard and review our documentation to familiarize yourself with the content.