Since its launch last year, Oculus has maintained tight control over the software library on Quest wireless headsets, applying what the company called a “premium approach” to app approval. Today, Oculus pledged to loosen that control with a new app distribution path that will launch early next year.
In a blog post today, Oculus says its console-like healing approach to Quest has been successful, highlighting more than $ 100 million in Quest content sales in its first year. That same tight heal will continue to apply to the Quest flagship store in the future.
But Oculus now says it will also add “a new way for developers to distribute Quest applications” in early 2021. This new channel “will allow developers to share their applications with anyone who has a Search, without having to be accepted into the Oculus store, and without the need for a side load, “writes the company.
Currently, adding unapproved applications to a Quest headset requires configuring the device in a less secure “Developer” mode and using a PC-based tool like SideQuest to transfer the necessary files. Oculus doesn’t share much detail about its new application delivery method, but it seems the process will be more streamlined for end users looking for a wider range of virtual reality software.
While Quest applications on this new channel will still need to comply with Oculus’ general content policies (eg, no pornography, no hate speech, no real money gambling, etc.) Oculus writes that “applications distributed to Through this new channel, it does not meet the same technical standards as the official applications of the Oculus Store. ” That makes it ideal for developers who “want to share their applications as widely as possible [or] test applications in early stages and distribute them to specific users. “
The Oculus move comes as Apple faces its own controversy and possible antitrust probes surrounding too tight a grip on its iOS App Store.
Along with the expansion of Quest software, Oculus also announced today the end of support for its older Oculus Go hardware. The company now lists Go headsets as “no longer available” on its official website, and developers will no longer be able to submit new Go apps or updates to Oculus after December 4.
The Go stand-alone headset, built as a replacement for the mobile phone-based Gear VR line, was the latest product from Oculus that did not have support for manual tracking drivers or head tracking six-degree-of-freedom movement. Depreciating that hardware makes some sense for a company trying to clean-cut the more limited and less capable hardware of the past.
At the same time, the budget-friendly Go (only $ 149 for a 32GB version) was a great entry-level headset for users who wanted a virtual reality experience that was still one step ahead of something like Google Cardboard. Cost-focused use cases like education, training, and museums are likely to be forced to invest in the $ 400 Oculus Quest, even if they don’t need its expanded feature set.
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