Introducing App Lab: A New Way to Distribute Oculus Quest Apps

Oculus Developer Blog
Posted by Oculus VR
February 2, 2021
High Priority Issues
App Lab

Today, we’re excited to introduce App Lab—a new way for you to distribute apps directly to consumers safely and securely, via direct links or platforms like SideQuest, without requiring store approval and without sideloading. The Quest Store will remain curated at the same high level of quality, but now App Lab lets you get an app directly to your community, even if it is early in development, experimental, or aimed at a unique audience.

Whether the goal is to build a business, create a community, test and experiment with new apps, or get feedback on new ideas, you control how your app is distributed. App Lab supports both free and paid apps, which are shareable via a URL or Oculus Keys. While App Lab is distinct from the Oculus Store and App Lab apps won’t appear in the Oculus Store, customers who install apps from App Lab will find them in their Quest library. App Lab apps can also be searched by exact name and found in the “App Lab” section of results. App Lab apps can access the majority of standard platform features, including automatic update distribution, platform integration and SDKs, app analytics, release channels, and more.

We’ve taken steps to reduce the technical requirements and Virtual Reality Checks (VRCs) to make submission as simple as possible. In order to promote a safe, secure and positive experience, App Lab apps are required to comply with our App Lab Policies, including our Oculus Content Guidelines, Data Use Policy, and App Policies. Apps submitted to App Lab must support App Sharing as explained in our App Lab Policies. Before getting started, please review our App Lab VRCs.

How to Submit an App for App Lab

To start your App Lab submission, follow these steps:

  • Log into the Oculus Developer Dashboard

  • Click “Create new app”

  • Enter the name of your app

  • Choose “Quest (App Lab)”

  • Follow the steps to upload your application, provide screenshots and description text, and submit for review

Marketing Your App Lab Apps

Once an app has been published, you can share it with customers via a URL. This link opens the app product description page directly, displaying information, trailers, screenshots, and an option to purchase or install the app. You can see example App Lab links from the apps that launched today:

You can also generate Oculus Keys, which can be redeemed for a free copy of the application, for a more controlled release.

We’ve shared a number of marketing best practices and examples to help you market your apps and build and engage your target audience:

We’ve worked closely with SideQuest to enable discovery of App Lab apps on their platform. Starting today, you can submit an App Lab URL to SideQuest instead of an Android APK, and promote your app directly to the SideQuest community. Because App Lab apps do not require sideloading, developer mode, or a PC to install, we expect that this support will dramatically increase the reach of SideQuest apps that use App Lab for distribution.

With the launch of App Lab and greater Quest application distribution capabilities, the Quest Publishing Access application process is no longer necessary and has been closed. App Lab will provide you with the opportunity to find market fit as you test and develop apps. Developer programs like Oculus Start, Oculus Launch Pad and educational courses like the Unity/Oculus Design, Develop and Deploy course, will continue providing scaled support, savings, and access. You can also check out the VRCs required for distribution in the Quest Store to further improve the quality of your app. We are constantly sourcing high-quality applications for the Oculus Store, and App Lab provides another way for us to identify potential fit.

We look forward to seeing what you will create with this new, simplified process of offering apps to the growing Quest community. If you have any questions, please check out the App Lab FAQs. As you explore App Lab and submit apps, please let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the Developer Forums.