Google Daydream is supposed to launch Fall 2016, but only a select group of developers will be able to publish Daydream apps to the Google Play store until 2017.
Daydream, Google’s high-end VR initiative for Android, is set to launch in the next few months, but the company is not flinging the door wide open when it comes to VR app submissions. While any Android developer can submit Cardboard applications to the Google Play store, Google will be keeping a tighter grip of Daydream apps early on by restricting which developers can publish their applications through Android’s app store.
Only developers who are accepted into the Daydream Access Program (DAP) will be allowed to publish apps at this Fall’s Daydream launch. Everyone else will be allowed to publish apps “early next year.”
Developers can apply now to join the DAP. The application form consists of some pretty basic information gathering, including a description of the VR app that’s being developed and whether or not it has launched on any other VR platforms. Google says that those who are selected to join the DAP “get a first look at updates to Daydream’s developer tools and are connected to our team and the DAP community throughout the development process.”
The criteria upon which developers will be accepted into the Daydream Access Program is unclear. This restrictive step appears to be a rather simple way for Google to sift for high quality VR content at Daydream’s launch, rather than opening the floodgates to any and all would-be Android VR developers. It’s tough to say exactly what the company’s reasoning for introducing the DAP is, but some guesses include a way to ensure that the initial Daydream offerings abide by VR best practices, show a good face for Google’s new VR initiative, and establish a foundation of initial high-quality apps for newer VR developers to learn from.
Google, which just last week launched the Daydream SDK out of beta, is hosting an October 4th press event which is widely expected to see the announcement of new Daydream-ready phones from the company, amidst other news. This aligns with Google’s promise earlier this year that we’d see the first Daydream phones launch in Fall.