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App Lab Alternative App Distribution Now Available.

Nunyabinez
Level 8
From UploadVR:

 "Developers can now distribute Oculus Quest apps without going through full store approval or requiring sideloading.

Oculus Quest is a semi-closed console-like platform. The Oculus Store was previously the only official way to distribute apps. Owners can however declare themselves developers to enable sideloading, with games & experiments available from 3rd party service SideQuest, which automates the USB sideloading process.

App Lab, available now, lets developers upload apps to the Oculus platform and share them directly with users via a URL or key. The apps can be free or paid.

Clicking the URL opens the apps’s listing in the Oculus smartphone app where the user can purchase or install it on their Quest.

These apps don’t show up in the main Oculus Store, but once redeemed show up in your VR library and support automatic updates as well as platform features like achievements & leaderboards. You don’t need to declare yourself a developer to install an App Lab app and a PC isn’t required.

Oculus Store approval is notoriously difficult to secure, which left some rejected developers struggling to recoup the investment they made in porting to the mobile VR system.

App Lab still requires basic approval from Facebook, but the process is much shorter than for the store. Apps should be approved as long as they adhere to the Oculus Content Guidelines & Facebook’s Data Use Policy.

App Lab doesn’t replace SideQuest. In fact, SideQuest now supports App Lab URLs in place of the APK file, continuing its role as the de-facto alternative app store for Oculus Quest. Because App Lab doesn’t require a PC, these apps can effectively be installed from SideQuest’s website via your phone’s browser.

Developers can submit apps for App Lab in the Oculus Developer Dashboard."

i7 8700, 16GB, RTX 2080 TI, Rift CV1 | i5 4690K, 16GB, GTX 1660 TI, Rift CV1 | Quest | Quest 2

4 REPLIES 4

nalex66
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator
I was just checking this out on SideQuest... Apps that support the new App Lab feature have an "Oculus App" button instead of "Install to Headset."

Of course, most of the apps I get from SideQuest are the Dr. Beef ports, and they require loading PC game files to enable the full versions, so those may not transition over to the App Lab method. Still, I'll be watching with interest. Having my sideloaded apps show up in my main library rather than hidden away in the Unknown Sources section would be a nice QoL improvement, along with having nice tile art like proper store apps.

i7 5820K @ 4.25GHz | EVGA GTX 1080 SC | Gigabyte GA-X99-UD4 | Corsair DDR4 3000 32GB | Corsair HX 750W
SSDs: Intel 660p M.2 2TB, 3x Samsung Evo 1TB | Startech PCIe 4x USB 3.0 | Startech PCIe 2x USB C 3.1 gen2

Nunyabinez
Level 8
Here are 12 Apps that are available now

Ancient Dungeon Beta (Free) by ErThu
Baby Hands ($20) by Chicken Waffle
Crisis VRigade ($6) by Sumalab
Crisis VRigade 2 ($20) by Sumalab
Deism ($8) by Myron Software
Descent Alps – Demo (Free) by Sutur
Gym Class (Free) by IRL Studios Inc
MarineVerse Cup ($20) by MarineVerse
Puzzling Places – Beta (Free) by realities.io Inc
Spark AR Player (Free) by Facebook
Smash Drums Demo (Free) by PotamWorks
Zoe (Free) by apelab

Source: UploadVR.

i7 8700, 16GB, RTX 2080 TI, Rift CV1 | i5 4690K, 16GB, GTX 1660 TI, Rift CV1 | Quest | Quest 2

kojack
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator
It's better than what we had, but still limiting.
We still need Oculus approval (although less strict, as Nunyabinez mentioned) and they are still hosted on the Oculus store (although hidden). So you still can't easily sell a Quest game on an alternative store like itch.io without the Quest owner having developer mode on.
You can generate keys and sell them yourself, but that's not convenient (and I don't think itch.io would handle that).

What we really need is just a simple way to install an app from an external source without developer mode or Sidequest.
Author: Oculus Monitor,  Auto Oculus Touch,  Forum Dark Mode, Phantom Touch Remover,  X-Plane Fixer
Hardware: Threadripper 1950x, MSI Gaming Trio 2080TI, Asrock X399 Taich
Headsets: Wrap 1200VR, DK1, DK2, CV1, Rift-S, GearVR, Go, Quest, Quest 2, Reverb G2

nalex66
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator
I was testing out whether I could browse and install App Lab apps all within the headset. From the SideQuest site in the Oculus browser, I followed a link to the Oculus app page and purchased Ancient Dungeon, but it didn’t appear in my library in the headset. It did show up in the phone app, and I was able to initiate the install from there. Edit: since it was added to my account, I expect that it would have shown up in the headset eventually without having to go to the phone app. 

By the way, Ancient Dungeon is really cool (it’s a rogue-like procedural dungeon crawler with a Minecraft aesthetic). Puzzling Places was also quite enjoyable (it’s a 3D jigsaw puzzle made from a photogrammetry scan of an ancient monastery).

i7 5820K @ 4.25GHz | EVGA GTX 1080 SC | Gigabyte GA-X99-UD4 | Corsair DDR4 3000 32GB | Corsair HX 750W
SSDs: Intel 660p M.2 2TB, 3x Samsung Evo 1TB | Startech PCIe 4x USB 3.0 | Startech PCIe 2x USB C 3.1 gen2