Passing Meta’s content review process for Quest games is an essential step to being listed on the Quest Store, although some studios choose to offer their games in beta via App Lab first, meaning they can take time to get things right before listing on the store proper. That’s what developer Combat Waffle Studios and publisher Beyond Frames Entertainment did with their hit multiplayer shooter Ghosts of Tabor, and it’s seemed to have paid off.

Released on App Lab back in March, Ghosts of Tabor is an extraction-based survival game that tosses in player-versus-environment (PVE) and player-versus-player (PVP) combat, all of which is set in the suitably bombed-out near future. Inspired by games likes Escape from Tarkov and DayZ, there are plenty of guns, customization options, and opportunities for crafting and looting along the way to extraction.

It’s been such a winning mix of familiar gameplay, no doubt fueled by sheer developer grit, that it’s already surpassed $3 million in revenue. And that’s without being searchable on the Quest Store, a main feature of games sold via App Lab.

In a Meta developer blogpost, the team describes how listing through App Lab has forced them to focus on direct marketing and generating a community first—arguably the most important things for online multiplayer games in VR. Here’s how Combat Waffle CEO Scott Albright describes the game’s journey:

Getting the game into the hands of players early in closed tests has been the very foundation of our efforts to gain traction. Even initially, we noticed that there is a stickiness to the game and people were enjoying themselves, and from there we made sure to connect with influencers to get their perspective and spread awareness.

By giving people an early hands-on experience, we hoped that they would see the game for what it was and enjoy it as much as we do, despite it not being completely polished or finished.

Thankfully, most people trying the game in those early days really got into it and started posting videos on social media. It didn’t take long to find out that people have a lot of fun watching game clips, and it’s been super exciting to see people’s reactions in the comments. With attention increasing on social media, peoples’ expectations for the title are also starting to build, even before the launch.

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While App Lab has stolen the thunder somewhat from SideQuest, the original unofficial content distribution outlet for Quest content, it’s been an increasingly important outlet for developers looking to generate loyal fanbases. The most successful to date is undoubtedly the free-to-play phenomenon Gorilla Tag, which managed to create so much hype in its time on App Lab that it reported a lifetime revenue of $26 million less than a month after moving to the main store.

In addition to being on App LabGhosts of Tabor is also available on Steam Early Access. It’s also said to launch on the Quest Store sometime next year, where it is planned to include “many more maps, gameplay features, and improvements that are currently not present in the Early Access version,” the team says.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Nevets

    App Lab pretty much makes Sidequest redundant now.

  • Runesr2

    Ghosts of Tabor has 3400 ratings on Steam and costs $25, while the game has 4500 ratings for Quest and costs $20.

    I wonder if the game sold for much the same amount for PCVR and Quest. PCVR may be a significant source of revenue – if you sell the right stuff.

    • Dragon Marble

      Why do they mention only the Quest revenue? Would’ve been such a valuable data point for us to calibrate the ratings-to-sales relationship across platforms.

      • ViRGiN

        Get real. There is only one platform that matters.

        • LMAO

          Ignorant troll alert!.

    • ViRGiN

      You can check Tabor website to see player count, and deduct it from steam users tracked by steam charts. Pcvr is basically non-existent. Yes they do leave reviews more often, as stereotypical steam user does.

      • LMAO

        Ignorant troll alert!

      • Ookami

        25% is non-existent? someone failed math

        • ViRGiN

          It’s not 25%. You just took a 1-2 hour bracket during ‘dead’ hours.

    • Octogod

      To play with these numbers a bit…

      A general rule is 1% of all sales rate a game. Let’s say this is wrong and they are getting super fans at 2% of sales rating the game.

      With 4500 ratings we’d assume that 225,000 units were sold at $20 for $4,500,000. Factor in Meta’s 30% and you hit the $3.1m number.

  • NL_VR

    This game is so good already.
    Long time ago I enjoyed a multiplayer game this much.
    Keep up the good work

    • ViRGiN

      To me it feels nothing more than concept game. Similar to how War Dust on PCVR was attempting to be Battlefield VR. It’s extremely lackluster, but VR crowd is very unsatisfied with the offerings, so concepts has real potential of success, while being unrealistic to actually deliver proper quality in the long term. The studio already confirmed several titles… which also reminds me of War Dust devs. They dabbled with VR fighters, VR shooters, and even GTA-wannabe game.

      • HamsterTrashCan

        You are apparently dumb. They have hired 3 dev teams for their games. We see the devs publicly being added to the discords. So they made enough money and continue to make enough to hire 3 full teams of devs. Sounds like a pretty successful studio. They also update GoT every 2 weeks and are still adding features for the foreseeable future.

        • ViRGiN

          You are apparently dumb.
          Financial success does not the game is a master piece.

          No matter how much you are willing to shill for Tabor, it’s still an insanely unpolished and janky BASIC VR FPS that just happened to get insane hype because of the extraction genre>

          What are you even talking about? Pavlov VR was in the same situation, and over 6 years later it’s still an early access game with snail pace progress. Onward – same stuff, early access for over 7 years already with no end in sight.

      • NL_VR

        Imo the game is already better than all other multiplayer VR-FPS.
        beeing the only extraction shooter helps yes i prefer that more than traditional fps when you play “rounds”. Thats why i prefer it more than Breachers for example.

  • ApocalypseShadow

    I love how these misleading revenue articles are posted again and again without context. It’s nothing but BS.

    How much did it cost to make these games and market them? Did the company make a profit? How much did it make on other platforms?

    Without comparing revenue and profit margin, you’ll just get half truths again and again from these companies. You can have high revenue and be in the red. Let them tell the whole story. Then, I might be impressed. About as ridiculous as Microsoft’s player numbers as if that equates to sales numbers.

    No one is fooled by this nonsense. Well, actually we still got gamers who don’t know any better believing this crap. It looks to be a decent game. But tell the whole story. Not half truths.

    • Ookami

      They were pretty successful. Started off as a passion project, with some devs working for free. Now they’re all employees with salaries and full benefits, and a physical studio. No numbers ofc, but they’ve definitely made their money back

    • NL_VR

      According the developers i have been listening to on different channels they got funded to keep going for a year.
      After the release on applab/Steam early access they must have done profit because now they have grown, have fulltime developers and can make a living.
      i dont think the game is even 18 month old yet. 18 months ago there was just an idea, not a game at all. its pretty impressive.