Content Review will focus on your app, the gameplay, sound, narrative, and all other elements that make up your full experience. This includes Publishing Review, the assessment of your store assets, all imagery, video, and text descriptions that are a reflection of your app within the Oculus Store.
The considerations, recommendations and design principles outlined below are informed by our years of publishing VR apps, while the feedback you receive during content review is intended to help you create a better user experience, and ensure your success on the Oculus Store. Taking this guide into account will help your team save both time and resources as you prepare for content review, and launch.
During the content review process, our team will play through your app, ensuring it does not generate any red flags as to the gameplay, or infringe on the policies set within the Content Policy Guidelines. See below for many of the factors we use to guide our analysis of your app.
Object interaction: Avoid any poor/broken object interactions that would prevent the player from progressing through your app. Maximize the ability to interact with objects that would seem to be interactive. Enable audio/visual/haptic feedback with object interactions. Simplify your control scheme so that users can move through your experience without being hindered by a complicated interaction method.
Locomotion: Ensure your locomotion system does not produce eyestrain, nausea, or major discomfort. Offer less intense locomotion systems when possible (blink teleporting, snap turning, vignette, etc.) Check out the Locomotion Best Practices for further guidance.
Comfort and safety: Avoid any interactions that are likely to produce eyestrain, nausea, or major discomfort, including elongated play sessions.
Player orientation: Pending each player’s orientation and how your app is designed, do your best to enable a positive user experience per each option. For example:
Camera orientation: Avoid designing your app so that the camera shakes erratically in response to a gameplay event or moves drastically beyond the users control. Forced camera movements can take away user agency and leave the user feeling uncomfortable.
Utilization of space: Design your gameplay in a way that is appropriate for the platform. Implement balanced, measured intensity interactions. You might have high intensity portions of the game that limit the camera frustrum, while calming, low intensity areas use more of the 360º, surrounding environment. Lastly, keep accessibility in mind, is every user able to traverse or see the space in the same way and have the same experience?
Uniqueness of concept: Is your app a unique experience? How much of it could only be done in VR vs. another medium? How does your app compare to the other titles available in the same genre?
Content variety and depth: The environments, characters, and game modes have variation and progression. It should generally take more than a few minutes to experience the full app.
Defined game loop and goal-based interactions: Does your app include repeatable activities that are fun to perform? Is there clear player progression? A satisfying game-loop or interaction can help users feel the application is worth their time and investment.
Replayability: Will the player want to experience your app again if they have completed the single player narrative/path? If your app is multiplayer, is there a desire to play more than 1 or 2 rounds? Generally, players are more willing to invest in an application if they can foresee themselves returning to it after the initial playthrough.
Rendering and shader implementation: Be sure you are following MSAA and general shader/optimization best practices. This includes using Shader Graph, RenderDoc, Shader Toy, Unity’s Shader Variant Collection + Post-Processing Stack, and other optimization tools + processes like those featured in the Mobile Optimization Section.
You should also follow post-processing effect best practices, like using anti-aliasing and avoiding effects that can cause discomfort.
Physics: Some players expect a sense of physical fidelity in VR and broken physics can at times be the most obvious indicator that an application is buggy, or broken. If you are purposefully attempting to defy laws of physics, make sure it is in line with your intent as a designer.
Assets and animation: One of the most important areas we look for is visual consistency and a strong sense of tone. If it feels like your application is disjointed in a way that isn’t purposeful, it can lead to a confusing user experience. Ensure that your textures, lighting, and assets are consistent, and animations are smooth.
For social VR apps, we recommend using some sort of mouth/lip animation and be sure that these are synchronized with speech input. For more information on Oculus Lipsync see the following documentation pages for Unity or Unreal.
UI and text rendering: All text must be easy to read and in an obvious location in space. UI elements should be either attached to the body, or otherwise represented in a way that fits the game narrative and increases immersion. If a user is not facing the UI, they are given direction, or the UI moves with the user.
Subtitles: To make your game more accessible, consider using subtitles for dialogue and sounds. Subtitles should adhere to the same rules as UI and other text to make for a smooth experience.
Sound: You have included quality music/effects throughout, and volume is appropriate based on the specific section of the app. Spatial or directional audio cues are used to notify or guide the user. Check out the Oculus Spatializer for Unity or Unreal.
Here are a few of the common flags that lead to rejection during app content review. Note, it is highly recommended that you review our Content Policy Guidelines early in your process to avoid any issues with these policies.
Irrelevant VR hardware displayed in app: Be sure to remove any visual assets representing third party VR hardware, or Oculus hardware that is not specific to the target headset. This includes:
Problematic language and offensive material: The Oculus Store explicitly does not allow applications or app content that can be classified as including hate speech, harmful stereotypes, or the promotion or incitement of violence against individuals or groups based on protected characteristics. Furthermore, the Oculus Store does not allow content for the purpose of sexual gratification.
Copyright infringement: Instances of assets or mentions to third party intellectual property will require approval by the copyright owner. This includes references to outside games, sourced music, or any other existing IP.
Content aimed at children under the ages of 13: The Oculus store does not allow any content targeting children under the ages of 13. If your app targets children, or if your app description mentions children, kids or students of a certain grade, your app will be sent back for you to remove this content.
Along with your app, you will also upload a series of assets that will live throughout the Oculus Store and your PDP (Product Detail Page). Many developers see these assets as to-do items that simply need to be checked off before they can upload their app to the store. In reality, these assets are a massive opportunity to engage VR consumers and promote your app.
The Asset Design Guidelines are essential to this process, and include both the technical/formatting requirements, as well as a number of best practices for each asset. We have also compiled the following recommendations to help you plan, design, and publish your Oculus Store Assets.
Before starting to design your store assets, keep the following considerations in mind as they will help to streamline your process and improve the quality of your assets throughout.
Consider your target audience: Your assets should resonate with your target audience, and the sorts of messages that will drive awareness, consideration (and hopefully purchase conversion) of your app. If you have yet to document your target audience, we recommend Module 2: The Essentials of Strategy from the free, Oculus + Unity video learning program.
What should these assets convey?: What makes your app unique? If you would compare yourself to other successful titles within your genre, feel free to research other store + marketing assets for inspiration.
Design with a cohesive look and feel: While you should be creative with each of your assets, ensure the viewer knows that all of them are coming from the same title with a cohesive look throughout.
Design takes time (start while you’re still in development): All too often, we notice that developers are scrambling at the last minute to build out their store assets. We highly recommend including a milestone on your development roadmap for designing these assets so that you can be strategic and thoughtful during your asset design phase. This also gives you time to implement the following recommendation:
Test your assets: Don’t just design and publish your assets. If you start this process early enough, you can test your assets with friends and family, or ideally, your target audience like those in your social community. Gather feedback, ask how the images make them feel, this initial round of feedback can go a long way!
You have flexibility to customize per language translation: It is worth noting that you have the flexibility to upload unique store assets per language. Consumers vary around the globe, so you may want to adjust your message and certain design elements to go along with your translated assets.
A quality video trailer can drive serious engagement with your app. While there are a massive number of ways to produce this asset, here are a few tips for maximizing the opportunity.
Trailer content recommendations: While you should defer to your target audience, and any research you did on similar app types, it is recommended that your video highlight the overall narrative, characters, environment, and gameplay. Share what about your game is unique, and ask yourself “will this excite and interest my audience?”
Mixed reality capture for a new perspective: One way to amplify the engagement of your trailer is with Mixed Reality Capture. This video production technique will help the viewer understand the VR experience, sometimes more so than first person app footage. Check out the Mixed Reality Capture Guide for more information, best practices and how to get started.
Title card + ending slate recommended: If you’re new to trailer production, you will notice that most trailers have a beginning and conclusion section that provides the high level details of the app, the title, production studio, release date, etc. These are recommended to ensure that the audience is aware of these essential details.
Content to avoid in your trailer: To help streamline your asset upload process, note that your trailer should not include third party store brands. For example, the end card should only state “Available on Oculus”.
It is also worth noting that the trailer asset is reviewed with the Oculus Store Policies in mind. As an example, be sure to avoid repetitive, gratuitous violence in your trailer as these will be rejected.
Existing trailers as inspiration: Gather ideas for how your trailer will be short and produced by reviewing existing VR game trailers, including the Ghost Giant trailer below. For even more inspiration, be sure to check out the Oculus Youtube Video List Page.
Here are a few more considerations, focusing on unique assets you may produce during your app submission process. Once again, we recommend checking out the Asset Guidelines for more information on each asset below.
Keywords: These terms help ensure that consumers find your app when searching within the Oculus Store. We recommend choosing 3 to 5 keywords that connect with your style of app, for example, if your app is about yoga, you could try “meditation”. Please do not use names of apps or brands that you do not own, if you do, your app will not be approved to launch.
Screenshots: With your screenshot assets, communicate the value of your app, while focusing on those elements that you did not include in your trailer, or reinforce certain elements like your characters, the narrative, or the environment. You can upload a total of 5 screenshots, take advantage of this real estate!
Cubemap Screenshot: Remember that you can also upload a cubemap, 360 image to add even more engagement to your PDP. If you’re using Unity, the following doc provides the steps to take a cubemap screenshot with OVR Screenshot Wizard.
Short + long descriptions: Like all other assets, your descriptions should help your potential user know more about your app, the overall experience, and the elements that make it worth investing their time and money.
Remember that you can be creative with this field by writing like you’re a part of the app. Do you have a horror experience? Write in a dark and spooky tone. How about a sports app? Write like you were announcing the next match. While this is yet another opportunity for your team to be creative, be sure to strike a balance between your voice, and your message.
If you haven’t already, be sure to also review the Technical Review + VRCs Guide. It provides a number of recommendations to keep in mind on the technical side of your app review, including common technical + VRC challenges, along with resources to fix these potential issues.