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My experience with Quest Store submission of "Whirligig" and it's rejection

phileday
Level 4
Hi all

I wanted to post this because my experience of submission might be useful to others and in truth I want to vent a little.

So firstly I'll introduce myself. I'm the developer of Whirligig a VR media player which has been on the Oculus Store since 2016. I've worked hard on making a Quest compatible version as I've had several requests for Whirligig on the Quest Store. Here is a link to the player on Steam/Oculus:
https://store.steampowered.com/app/451650/Whirligig_VR_Media_Player/
https://www.oculus.com/experiences/rift/1130182873666293/?locale=en_GB

I applied for the Quest store on the 9th of October and got my rejection yesterday the 17th of November.

When applying for Oculus Quest Store release you are required to create a pdf for your proposal. They give an example which I based my application on. Here is a link to my application:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/b1lyoxglpn4zgn8/Whirligig%20for%20Oculus%20Quest%20Proposal.pdf?dl=0

Once I applied through the webpage I didn't receive any email confirmation or correspondence and the only way I knew I had applied was by going to the submission page and seeing I couldn't submit again.

I waited a month for a reply and then got the rejection letter which read like this:

-------------------------
Thank for taking the time to submit your pitch.

After a thorough review of your submission, your application has not been accepted to receive Oculus Quest publishing access at this time.

The Rift platform is the perfect environment to try new content, backed by the power of a modern PC, and the large PC-based VR audience.

We hope to see you there,
The Oculus Team
--------------------------

and that was it. No feedback. I have no idea if I've done anything wrong, whether there is any point in submitting again or what I could change to get approval.

As you can imagine this is very disheartening. I've been on the Oculus Store since the beginning with many positive reviews. A version for the Quest seems a logical progression. I also know that other media players such as Skybox are on the Quest so they were approved but not me. As I have had no feedback I can only speculate what the reason behind the rejection is. A poor application, the name (I called it Whirligig Quest), the fact that I'm a lone developer, I simply don't know. This gives me no way to address the issues if I don't know what they are.

It seems a difficult situation when you have Oculus Start setup to encourage people to develop for VR and then when it comes to the application process you get no feedback, no advice or anything. All you get after more than a month is an automated rejection letter.

I've been developing Whirligig for 4 years now. I have a proven track record of a working, used and liked app on the Oculus Store. I have advantages over others when apply for a Quest release as I can a least sight that I've previously released on one of their Stores. I don't say this to imply I should get a release over others. I say this to reinforce that if someone is applying for release on the Quest for the first time and gets this type of rejection it leaves their game/app dead in the water without any idea how to re-apply with a better chance of getting approved. It's frustrating for me and at least I have already managed to get published in some form. Starting out without that and getting such a cold response to your application will put people off from developing any further.

My options for re-apply seem pointless without knowing what I did wrong in the original application and with a month between application and approve/rejection it doesn't make planning releases or any kind of marketing possible.

So what am I going to do now? The first option I'll pursue is SideQuest. Maybe releasing on SideQuest will damage your chances of getting approved on the Quest store in the future. I don't know.

Also there is the option of releasing for the Go. This is the old review release process so has at least a better chance of success. Can Oculus Go programs be easily played on the Quest. Whirligig is Quest ready so would just work as if it was released on the Quest Store. Is this the way some people have gone?

I wanted to post this as I wanted to at least give a little bit of an insight into the application process. My application might of been rubbish, I'm not a graphic designer I'm a developer so there is a good chance it could be made much better. But without feedback I have no idea what to change. The process was very cold and very disheartening.

While we're at the end of the rant I might as well also point out something else I'm working on. I'm making a VR Myst like game and game maker. I want to make it with the support of people who want to see it, so check it out. Here is the Steam page for the game https://store.steampowered.com/app/1356030/Page_One/ and here is my website http://pageone-adventure.co.uk/

Feedback on this is very welcome. I've been making this game for a while and the only thing I need to help me finish and release it is that people want me too. When working on your own you can get quite demoralized and just believe you're doing something that no one cares about, plus 2020, so any encouragement would be very appreciated πŸ™‚

All the best to everyone

Phil

3 REPLIES 3

phileday
Level 4
Hi all

A quick update. So I've gone with SideQuest and managed to get Whirligig published there. https://sdq.st/a/2171

I have to say my experience with them has been very good and they also have a chat system so if I had any questions they would normally get back to me within a couple of hours.

So if you have problems with getting your product on the Quest store consider SideQuest as an alternative. πŸ™‚

Phil

JimmySixDOF
Level 2
Oculus Roadmap:

New Quest Distribution Path

Developers will have a way to distribute applications to anyone without
having to be accepted in the Oculus Store and without sideloading.
Applications will have to meet the obligations of the Oculus Content
Policy, but won’t be held to the same technical standards as official
Oculus Store Apps. The initial beta release will be with a select few
developers in December 2020, with wide-release planned for Q1 2021.

phileday
Level 4
@JimmySixDOF Thanks for letting me know. I think one area of my frustration was that I didn't even know what I'd done wrong. On top of this all the other Media Players that I've been in rivals with (friendly rivalry, well at least I hope) have been excepted. So DeoVR, SkyBox and Pigasus VR Media Player. Your rejection pretty much shoots me in the foot to compete and unlike the other companies I'm a lone developer without any resources to compete with investment companies such as Skybox. As an indie developer it makes the chance for me to make a living zero.

I would be interested in the other avenue you've mentioned as I would at least like to be able to offer people with the Quest a chance to use Whirligig as they have done for years on Oculus. I've released Whirligig on SideQuest but as I'm sure you're aware it's technical leap for people to get that up and running. A way to allow people with no tec knowhow to purchase Whirligig would be a great help.

Thank you at least for getting back to me.

Merry Christmas and best of health

Philippa