Oculus Director of Content Ecosystem Chris Pruett has a message for developers not accepted for Oculus Quest store release: join the Oculus Start program.
The Oculus Quest is a completely standalone headset which runs a carefully curated store. To get their games on this store, developers need to send Facebook a pitch document early in development and be accepted. From a practical perspective, think of Quest as a VR console. Some indie developers, including the developers of Crisis VRigade, were even rejected by Facebook more than once without clarity provided as to why.
Oculus Start is Facebook’s developer program for indie VR devs, designed to provide “access, support and savings”. It gives developers free hardware, one year of Unity Plus, and access to a private Oculus developer forum where Facebook staff actively engage.
“We designed Oculus Start/Launch Pad to incubate and support devs, which is why we sometimes recommend it to concepts we’ve declined. These programs are made to nurture promising devs and to provide support and resources to grow their work,” Pruett wrote on Twitter. Adding: “We also understand that many devs and enthusiasts are looking for easier ways to access and distribute applications outside of the Oculus Store. This is an area we’re actively thinking about (more to share soon!)”
There seem to be at least two different emails sent in response to a Quest concept document application that we’ve heard developers receive. This advice only applies to the one which, after stating the app has not been accepted, informs developers “Your application is, however, a good candidate for the Oculus Start.”
Some hopeful Quest developers expressed frustration at the generic appearance and lack of details in the Start email, but Pruett is suggesting that Oculus Start is the suggested path to the Quest store for those who receive it because “devs are most successful when we have an ongoing relationship over the course of development,” according to another of his tweets.
How can developers get a real sense of whether joining Start is worth the time and resource investment, and whether it really gives them a chance of getting on Quest’s store? Facebook doesn’t seem to be providing public information on this, at least not yet. For instance, we’ve reached out to Facebook to ask how many devs who had their Quest pitches declined with an invitation to Oculus Start, and then subsequently joined the program, actually ended up on the Quest store in the end. We’ll update this article with Facebook’s response.