Oculus Rolls Out ‘App Lab’ For Quest Developers, Messenger On Oculus

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Developers can now share their apps with Oculus players without Store approval.

Oculus today announced the rollout of update v25 for Oculus Quest/Quest 2 headsets, introducing a slew of long-sought-after features that make the companies line of all-in-one standalone VR headsets even more attractive.

This includes the App Lab, a brand new service catering specifically to apps deemed too unpolished for official store approval. Prior to the launch of the original Oculus Quest back in 2019, Facebook revealed a strict application system for Oculus Quest developers in order to better control the quality of content available to users.

“High-quality, innovative titles tend to be expensive to build, and developers need confidence that they are shipping into an ecosystem that will generate a return on investment,” stated Oculus in an official release.”

Image Credit: Facebook, Oculus

Thankfully there was SideQuest, a third-party platform similar in concept to the Oculus Store that allows developers to share their creations with players without the need for official store approval. Since then, the unofficial service has exploded in popularity, introducing additional features such as a paid app market and developer awards ceremony.

App Lab aims to offer a similar service in a more official capacity. Unlike SideQuest, the App Lab does not require sideloading, a technique used to port unapproved content to Quest/Quest 2 headsets by enabling developer mode. Instead, you simply click on a link provided by the developer and download the game. You can also search for content by name and peruse through the App Lab section of the Oculus Store.

According to Oculus, the following apps are currently available for download via the App Lab. Some of these titles, such as Ancient Dungeon Beta and Crisis VRigade, account for some of my favorite moments in VR, though you honestly can’t go wrong with any of these memorable experiences.

As provided by Oculus:

Image Credit: Facebook, Oculus

As for SideQuest, Oculus states that the third-party app will support App Lab apps beginning today.

“We want to foster that same environment on Quest—keeping the Store at the same high level of quality as ever, but enabling players and developers to explore what VR is capable of outside of those bounds as well,” stated the company in an official release. “We hope App Lab will help developers reach their most engaged fans early and build a community. Early experiments are part of what made VR what it is today, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

In addition to this exciting new storefront, Facebook has also begun rolling out Messenger on Quest. Those logged into Facebook on a Quest or Quest 2 headset will have the ability to chat with Facebook friends, both inside and outside of VR, while in-headset. You can type out messages by hand, select from a list of conversation starters, or use the voice-to-text feature to verbally communicate your messages. Facebook states that Messenger does not have an impact on your existing privacy settings and that Oculus Chat is still available for use.

As previously stated, v25 is rolling out now on Oculus Quest/Quest 2 headsets, so don’t freak out if you don’t see these features just yet.

For more information on software update v25 take a look at the official release.

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p class=”has-text-align-center”>Feature Image Credit: Facebook, Oculus

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