App Lab is a new, official path for developers to distribute their games and apps on Quest without being subject to Oculus’ curation process. But there’s one big catch: App Lab apps aren’t discoverable through the main Quest store, leaving it to developers to figure out how to get their apps in front of users. Luckily there’s already a few third-party resources which make it easy to browse App Lab apps.
Although you can easily install App Lab apps on Quest if you have the app’s URL or search the exact name of the app in the regular Quest store, you might be wondering where to find App Lab apps that you don’t already know about. Here’s two places to look:
App Lab DB
Created by VR developer Rob Chinery, App Lab DB is a straightforward directory of any App Lab app which has been submitted to its database. The site pulls information directly from each app’s App Lab page, ensuring the info stays fresh without any extra work from developers. You can sort apps listed in App Lab DB by their popularity, recency, rating, or price.
Anyone is welcome to submit an App Lab app to App Lab DB by entering the app’s URL at the bottom of the page.
“This is a community focused project so I’m not looking to profit off of it or anything like that,” says creator Rob Chinery. “I just want to provide a place for users to discover quality content that’s not listed on the official Oculus store. […] I also do plan on adding additional search and filter functionality once the App Lab library expands enough to justify it.”
SideQuest is a longstanding alternative to the official Quest store. And while the platform is largely built around the ‘sideloading’ method as a back-door to skirt Oculus’ curation, the platform is also open to listing the easier-to-install App Lab apps as well. You can find all App Lab apps hosted on SideQuest in the App Lab section. To find the app’s App Lab page, click the ‘Oculus App’ link.
From one page, SideQuest allows developers to distribute APKs directly for sideloading or to point to the app’s corresponding App Lab page for easy installation. One benefit of SideQuest is that it allows developers to charge for their apps through alternative channels, such as through Itch.io, which means more money in the developer’s pocket compared to selling directly from their App Lab page (wherein Oculus takes a 30% cut of the revenue).
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Have you discovered any great App Lab apps? Let us know in the comments below.