Google has put out the welcome mat and unlocked the doors to all developers wishing to develop apps for their Daydream VR platform, but in order to keep the standards high have also issued a “Quality Requirements” guide.
As we reported in September last year, just prior to the launch of Google’s Android integrated Daydream VR platform in October, the search and mobile giant was keeping a tight reign on applications available at launch. Only those who made it into Google’s curated Daydream Access Program (DAP) were able to prepare content for the fall launch lineup, a clear effort on their part to ensure the Daydream Home portal wasn’t flooded with poor quality dross whilst the system was was fresh in the media spotlight. The move was entirely understandable of course, but less in line with Android’s ‘open’ attitude to app submission for standard mobile platforms, more inline with a certain Cupertino based competitor perhaps.
But now, Google is lifting the DAP restriction for submissions to the Daydream Home app store, meaning that any developer who wants to build for applications for use with Daydream View and compatible phones can do so. That said, Google are understandably keen to ensure this is still not a free-for-all. According to an updated help page on “Publishing Daydream Apps“, developers can opt-in to have their application or game distributed through Daydream Home (the default content portal for Daydream users out of the box) but only if that app complies with its quality assurance guidelines, which are detailed here. In Google’s words: “Upon publication, Google Play submits apps that are opted-in to Daydream for review against the Daydream App Quality criteria and notifies you of the result. If your app meets all criteria, Google Play makes it discoverable to Daydream users in VR.”
Just how strict the vetting process is for newly submitted Daydream VR apps is unclear. The app quality requirements are targeted largely at the technical and comfort aspects of Daydream development best practices, drawn up to ensure maximum performance and minimum discomfort for user. Items like “App maintains head tracking” and “App never goes to 2D monoscopic unexpectedly” are examples of the checklist developers will need to rundown to make sure their app makes the grade, and its encouraging to see items focusing on usability in VR too.
In any case, it’s encouraging to see Google open its Daydream doors to the wider developer community. Up to now, the reception to the platform has been a little muted with little on the content front generating much excitement. Clearly this latest move should encourage a wider creative gamut to be represented on the Daydream Home store.
Are you a developer considering making apps or games for Google Daydream? We’d love to hear what you think of Google’s approach to content curation and developer relations thus.