Back in February Oculus launched App Lab for Quest which allows developers to distribute their games on the headset without going through Oculus’ curation process. There’s now 501 games and apps available on App Lab, nearly double the number of apps on the main Quest store.

Update – August 10th, 2021

There’s now 501 apps available for Quest via App Lab, according to submissions tracked by App Lab DB. In just six months, the number of apps on App Lab has nearly doubled the number of apps on the main Quest store, which stands at 298 after more than two years of operation.

The discrepancy shows that many more developers would like to be on the main store than Oculus allows. To date we’re only aware of one app that made the leap from App Lab to the main Quest store.

Quest App Lab games tracked on App Lab DB

App Lab apps are functionally ‘unlisted’ (unsearchable) in the main Quest store, but receive a normal store page which can be accessed directly via a URL and installed with a single click once logged in, just like any Quest app in the main store. The difference is that Oculus picks and chooses which apps to include in the main Quest store based on some qualitative criteria, while App Lab apps don’t need to meet any specific bar outside of being technically sound.

Since its launch on February 3rd, and reaching 501 apps as of today, Oculus has approved an average of 2.7 apps per day to App Lab, which is up slightly compared to the first four months of App Lab. The main Quest store sits at 298 apps. Given the time since the launch of the main Quest store, that’s an average of 0.37 apps added to the store per day.

For additional context, the number of Oculus PC applications sits around 1,800, with Go applications also at 1,800, and SteamVR applications around 5,000. Though all of these platforms have been around for years longer, none of them have been subject to the sort of curation that Oculus has imposed on Quest applications in the headset’s main store.

Below is a breakdown of the top 20 App Lab applications by rating and popularity.

Best Rated Quest Games in App Lab

The rating of each application is an aggregate of user reviews and a useful way to understand the general reception of each title by users.

Rank Name Rating (# of ratings)
#1 X-BOOSTER 4.9 (56)
#2 HAX Demo 4.9 (52)
#3 Puzzling Places – Beta 4.9 (725)
#4 Smash Drums 4.8 (127)
#5 Ancient Dungeon Beta 4.8 (720)
#6 Sport Mode 4.8 (1,764)
#7 Ragnarock 4.8 (73)
#8 Arcaxer 4.8 (66)
#9 iB Cricket 4.8 (60)
#10 Help Yourself 4.8 (70)
#11 Crazy Kung Fu 4.8 (138)
#12 MarineVerse Cup 4.7 (61)
#13 Guardians 4.7 (136)
#14 TO THE TOP 4.7 (61)
#15 Smash Drums Demo 4.7 (185)
#16 Sep’s Diner 4.7 (50)
#17 Hitstream – Demo Version 4.7 (58)
#18 Deism 4.6 (431)
#19 Battle Talent 4.6 (313)
#20 Gorilla Tag 4.6 (3,467)

Most Popular Quest Games in App Lab

The number of ratings gives a ballpark idea of the relative popularity of each title; a title with more ratings is likely to have been downloaded more than a title with less, though there’s certainly an unknown margin of error.

Rank Name Number of Ratings (rating)
#1 Gorilla Tag 3,467 (3.6)
#2 Pavlov Shack Beta 1,868 (4.5)
#3 Sport Mode 1,764 (4.8)
#5 Puzzling Places – Beta 725 (4.9)
#4 Sport Mode 720 (4.8)
#6 Deisim 431 (4.6)
#7 Battle Talent 313 (4.6)
#8 Gun Raiders 287 (4.6)
#9 Crisis VRigade 2 229 (4.6)
#10 V-Speedway Alpha 201 (4.1)
#12 Gladius 179 (4.5)
#14 Gym Class 143 (4)
#13 Crazy Kung Fu 138 (4.8)
#15 Guardians 136 (4.7)
#11 Smash Drums 127 (4.8)
#16 Smash Drums 127 (4.8)
#17 Aim XR 127 (4.6)
#18 Crisis VRigade 114 (4.2)
#19 Painting VR 112 (4.6)
#20 The Unity Cube 58 (4.1)

If you’re interested in similar charts for the main Quest store, see our latest charts.

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  • I ain’t seen SQUAT so far. Not even feedback. I’m a little concerned the Unreal Engine has issues I’m not hearing about which might be holding up the works.

    • Looks like this show’s been cancelled.

  • Quick question: why is pavlov not up in the first category towards the top? It has more ratings and is sitting at 4.8 stars than a lot of the game in that list (all of em, in fact)

    • Rob

      Actually its real rating is 4.479 (rounded). Even though it does have more ratings than most games, it still has a lower rating than many other apps that also have high review counts. If you inspect the store page, Oculus provides a script in the header with all of the hard numbers (score to many decimal places, real number of reviews, etc.). A lot of the negative reviews for Pavlov are either for installation issues or player base complaints, so it’s not exactly fair, but it does still have a higher percentage of negative reviews than many other popular apps.

  • Rosko

    These game look really poor. So glad i didn’t buy a Quest.

    • mepy

      I agree Quest App games are really low quality compared to the Steam VR games.

      • MeowMix

        ROFL.
        STEAMR was and still is full of VR shovelware. The library was abysmal in 2016, 2017, and still is to an extent. But that is a point that applies to the entire VR industry

  • pasfish111

    i can’t see onward :D :D :D …maybe they should have not downgraded their game to 2002 graphics also on PC :D :D :D

    • CastlegarGlenn

      I’m guessing it’s because Onward isn’t in the App Lab

  • pasfish111

    Serious question … Who will play this chunk of games longer than 3 months? …when the first VR-WOW Effect is gone, 70% of all Quest-Gamer will stop playing in VR and VR-Gaming has its Gimick-image in der Gaming-Community back :D … We need more VR-Games like HL! This is the only way to get the billions of flat Gamer to VR!

    • kontis

      Who do you think plays 99% of low budget games on iOs App Store and Google Play? Literally nobody.

      Who do you think plays 80% of low budget games on Steam? Literally nobody.

      That’s how this market works.

      BTW, more people play gorilla tag or vrchat – two low budget jank apps – than Half Life Alyx. Quality and budget is not everything that defines fun and longevity.

      • pasfish111

        HL is not created to play over and over again :D … and why do people play Gorilla Tag and VRChat? …Because their is no new and good VR content out there :-/
        If we would get every year 3-5 VR AAA Games this would be a totaly different story ;-)

    • kebo

      I totally agree that HL:A is a very good eye catcher to get the flat gamers to VR.

      BUT it is not a good game to play hundreds of hourrs. The games that i play all the time are Pavlov, Beat Saber (both custom content), Table Tennis and a little bit of Pistol Whip, Minigolf and Pop:One. Even Rec Room is fun with friends (not with these random kids).

      There are some good campaigns like Walking Dead, Boneworks, Arizona Sunshine or Budget Cuts but they won’t save VR because you play them once or twice and that’s it.

      I am here since 2016 with no break btw.. so to answer your question: i play VR slightly longer than 3 months :D

      • pasfish111

        If you are here since 2016 you are not one of that short term mobile Quest-Tourists i was talking about ;-) .. I think you use the Quest 2 with a PC?

        Yes, HL is not a game to play over and over again …but if we would get 3-5 AAA VR a year beside some indie VR games there would be no need to play every game again and again and again until something new is on the horizon :) …the VR game that I player over and over again was Onward… But you know what happened to my most loves game :-/ …at the moment I play FS2020 from time to time and wait for Lone Echo 2.

  • Oculus should open up its store a bit more for us indie devs

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      No, it shouldn’t. At least not yet. This may sound cruel, but it is very hard to convince good developers to create bigger budget titles for Quest due to the small niche market. To make back their money, this means that every approved title has to generate a significant amount of sales. These developers don’t have the financial resources to pay for big advertisement campaigns, so they depend on initial press feedback, being featured or recommended on the store and positive user reviews.

      If you flood the Oculus Store with hundreds of apps, all these mechanisms are diluted, prices drop do to competition for attention, and people who trusted that any Quest title would reach a minimum quality level would become more hesitant to buy. So by keeping independent developers out, Oculus Store is at least partly making it easier for approved developers to make a profit and thus continue developing VR games.

      App Lab is called lab for a reason. It is basically a place to do experimental stuff, Facebook never declared it to be an App Store Lite with less restrictions, but still for making developers money. You can try to make money there, but your chances are very slim and getting smaller with every app that is released. Outside of landing a somewhat random hit, your best chance will be attracting a sufficiently large audience that Oculus will let you on the regular store.

      So if you want to make money with Quest game development, you still have to pitch it to Oculus, develop within their tight guidelines, and if they say no, you are basically fucked and should probably drop the idea if you need to generate revenue. I’m aware that there are many other benefits of App Lab, and this is obviously not a nice perspective for new developers, but it will help VR to become a viable business for professional game studios and create a VR user base willing to pay sustainable prices. Very similar to development on consoles.

      • kontis

        If we dilute youtube or even the entire internet with low quality videos and low quality comments like yours its value will degrade and we will have to waste a lot of time to filter it and the good creators will be less incentivized to be involved with our beloved internet.

        So my suggestion is, start with yourself and make the internet better today. It’s far too open for ideas like yours.

        I know this may sound cruel, but it’s true.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          Maybe you have noticed that many of the established gaming YouTubers, even with millions of subscribers, have switched to Twitch or are now relying on Patreon or similar sources of income. Initially a smaller number of content creators generated enough views with every video, and ad prices for views were high enough to make a living from it. This led to thousands of people wanting to become YouTubers as a career, so now there are hundreds and thousands of channels that generate just three to five figure view numbers, and many established channels have seen their typical views drop by more than half.

          This is basically fair, everybody gets the same chance. It still works for YouTube, they don’t really care if the ads display on a prominent channel or a random viral cat video. They have some interest in having their content creators make a living, but not much, which is why so many are moving to the (currently still) more sustainable Twitch. Most YouTubers will never earn anything near minimal wage for the hours they invest for their content of decent quality.

          Apply the same to app stores. Do you want better VR titles in the future? Do you think VR developers will be able to create these titles if they cannot earn enough money? Do you think they will make enough money from the few million current VR users if the App Store is opened like YouTube and everybody can publish whatever they want there? Sure, this would be fair, but it has the chance to kill the few good VR developers we have, most of which are still struggling to survive.

      • So what you are saying is that FB fears the quality of the big titles could be matched or even surpassed by smaller studios and would possibly prevent the “big” titles from breaking even?
        Don’t see how that would be bad for the consumer, actually.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          I have no idea how you could get to this conclusion from what I wrote, unless this was an attempt at sarcasm. No, I’m pretty sure that the reason why FB almost forces their software engineers, help and guidance onto game developers who’s projects were approved is not because they would otherwise be easily matched or even surpassed by smaller studios. It is more that they fear that even those that submitted an interesting concept and have proven that they can actually manage such a project could still easily fuck it up due to lack of experience with the Quest platform or VR in general.

          I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t mind if you released a hit application on App Lab, even if these sales could go to approved developers instead. They would actually be thrilled, as it would still improve the overall quality and motivate other developers. The fear is more that if people somehow got the impression that the average quality of App Lab games is what they should expect from Quest titles in general, they will stop buying any of them.

          I get why many small developers are pissed that they are kept out of Quest store and forced into App Lab, where every view of the store page of their app starts with the disclaimer “beware this app may be shit, and that is not our fault.” But it is hard to deny that this is actually true for many them.

          • Yes, I’m being a bit salty and sarcastic, sorry. I’m not saying Oculus shouldn’t make sure the games on their platform are a great experience to the users.
            However, they should be fair, open and transparent about the criteria they want you to match to be able to get on the official store. This is not the case, currently.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Publishing criteria would allow developers to force their apps onto the Quest Store by following them all. This would reduce Facebook’s control over quality standards, which are most likely neither fixed nor objective, so they will not do it. You are 100% at their mercy. They warned developers not to start projects before getting approval, the platform was never open, they never promised any access or support. So commercial game developing for Quest without their approval is pretty much like playing Russian roulette with five bullets. You will die, unless you are very, very lucky.

            Seems very unfair, but I’m not convinced that fair is what we need right now. Facebook is trying to grow VR at any cost, by throwing money at it, paying Capcom millions for RE4, favoring established players, and still many of the approved Quest Store games will be financial failures. Many App Lab games couldn’t break even with a 100x increase in sales. VR has too few buyers, and FB’s “only selected developers, highly curated” approach may actually be the best strategy to get new users into VR and escape the tiny niche.

            One can of course argue for more support, but currently App Lab games seem to be mostly just tolerated by FB, with App Lap existing to prevent SideQuest from becoming a widely used platform. With neither supporting small studios nor adding tons of small games being a FB priority for quickly increasing VR user numbers, App Lab developers may become collateral damage on the way to a sustainable VR eco system.

            I fully understand the frustration of not even getting a fair chance. Many people would love to make a living from creating VR games, but currently the best advice for pretty much anybody getting into VR game development is “don’t do it”, with very few exceptions. If you are already losing money, cut your losses and try something else. It is fine as a hobby, as a passion project, for promotion, or if your project works with sideloading alone. If you need to make sales to survive, come back in five years.

          • This would reduce Facebook’s control over quality standards, which are
            most likely neither fixed nor objective,
            so they will not do it. You are
            100% at their mercy.

            This is the whole problem.

          • Raphael

            Indeed. There is a lot of crap on the sidequest/applab. A few nice things like Smash drums and a remake of the classic Sentinel game I played back in the 80’s. X-booster is good as well. Other than that I hardly install anything from applab. I don’t buy much from oculus store for my quest 2 though because of the high price of many games. I go for the cheaper games with high rating or wait for the rare octopus sales.

            I still buy steamVR games as well.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    This will cause the same discoverability problems you see on Steam or the Apple App Store today, leading to diminishing returns for game developers. App Lab worked somewhat for developers when there were a few dozen apps, even though you had to jump through hoops to find them, simply because people went looking for them. But now any new app gets lost among the others, if you do not promote it in some other way. This is less of a problem on the regular store, because apps get featured, can be found by searching for a similar name or are suggested based on what you already played, plus the number of admitted apps is kept low. Less is more for a game developer here.

    Early VR games on Steam got a lot of attention and possibly sales just because there were so few of them that players checked them all. Now there are almost 5500 VR supported titles on Steam, adding a new one will be barely noticed. So any VR developer wanting to release on either Steam or App Lab will have to have either a significant marketing budget or invest into generating interest via a social media campaign in parallel to the game development.

    This problem isn’t new, we saw something similar with the first successful indie games around 2010, when Super Meat Boy, Braid and Fez released on Xbox Live Arcade and got a lot of attention, paving the way for many indie titles, but then leading into the so called indie apocalypse five years later, when lots of new developers had rushed into the market and now had to share all the attention and sales. So basically, your chances to make money on App Lab weren’t great before and will shrink even further over time.

    • kontis

      This will cause the same discoverability problems you see on Steam or the Apple App Store today

      Absurd but shockingly common assumption that the gatekeepers should never be responsible for the marketing and discovery of 3rd party products. Imagine if books worked this way. Dystopia.

      diminishing returns for game developers

      Tell that to all those devs without publishers and estabilished name that they could get more money if only they weren never allwoed to sell it ont he walled garden store. Brilliant.

      Steam originally rejected Braid. Do I even have to explain more? After multiple of this kind of bizarre mistakes Gaben realized that the gatekeeper should not be the one deciding what consumers will most likely enjoy, because people are too diverse and have different perspectives.

      There is also a moral principle here you seem to be awfully unaware of.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        It is your product and therefore your job to promote it. Gatekeepers will push certain games if they see it as a strategic advantage, but Steam doesn’t have to do anything if you release the 500th VR wave shooter. They will show your game in new releases, they will list your game page like any other product, and their algorithm may recommend it with “other people who played xyz liked this” after you have attracted a player base and got good reviews.

        This is nothing new, this is how game consoles build their portfolio, keep the quality level and sell millions. It is almost impossible for a new game developer to publish for Switch, but everybody wants to get there, because the Switch version will make way more money than the Steam version due to higher visibility.

        Steam initially only published a few, hand selected 3rd party titles, then they moved to green lighting, where you would have to get interest/approval of a minimal amount of Steam users, then they opened the flood gates, everybody willing to pay USD 100 can publish on Steam, and the number of releases exploded. Consequently the number of developers that made back their development costs fell, and by now most new releases struggle to even make back the USD 100 fee.

        Nobody is stopping you from trying, from releasing an indie title on Steam and gathering fans on social media. And if you succeed, you can go to Nintendo, show them that people love your game, your chances to get approved will increase a lot, and if you release there, you will make a lot more money. But you have to earn that first, instead of simply demanding to be given the same condition as a game studio that has a proven track record.

        There is no moral principle that says you have the right to publish a game, because this is your dream job, and that others have to support you in your dream. This is a market, the buyers have limited time and attention for playing all these games, so they decide your fate. The universe isn’t unfair to you if you worked on your game for two years, published it on itch.io and only 10 people played it for a total time of 8h.

        • Ward Petrus

          To be honest publishing on switch is easier than on steam ;) .the switch is more like the mobile stores at this point , but your point is valid on xbox and playstation they are far more difficult to get on.

  • kontis

    Devs still have to wait months and months to even be approved to the app lab. What a disaster.

    Clearly Facebook needs a third store with even more friction for the 3rd class apps and yet another gate keeping process.

    Silicon Valley you people are becoming more and more evil every day.

  • Raphael

    I find little of interest there. Lot of kiddy stuff.

  • Too bad you can’t find any of the gems hidden on App Lab, because Facebook treats it like a redheaded stepchild. Developers have to resort to their own marketing initiatives to get eyes on their games, like for example the VR Collection Bundle.
    Even if you know exactly what game you are looking for, on the Oculus Quest store you have to type the exact name, then scroll down a looooong list of games you didn’t search for, then find that button saying “View App”, click it, then click the preview image of the game, then click “OK” on the App Lab “WARNING!!!!” popup.
    If you still remember what you were trying to do, you may buy the game now.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      What was Oculus’ reasoning when they rejected your game pitch for the official Quest store?

      • First thanks a lot for the feedback! :) The reason why we developers are …outraged… is because there is no official way to get on the Oculus store.
        If Oculus would give us developers hard criteria to get on the official store, no matter how strict, everybody would be ok with the situation. However, Oculus doesn’t. It’s either they like you or they don’t.

        • MeowMix

          and Oculus has been willing to give games/devs another look if they do well on App Lab. Time to focus your efforts on the B-Store so you can make it onto the A-Store.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            In theory yes. Not sure if the article was updated, but AFAIR it said that only one app had moved from App Lab to the official store. In reality Facebook actively discourages VR users from buying anything not on the Quest Store, and if you didn’t make it into their official developer status, you are pretty much out. Games like Deisim, Pavlov or Gorilla Tag are way more popular and higher rated than many Quest Store games, yet they never made the jump.

            Part of the Oculus criteria seems to be to be a very polished look, every game has to demonstrate the graphical capabilities of the Quest to distance it from VR shovelware. It has to closely resemble a professional PCVR title, at least superficially, and ideally avoid a cartoonish look. This influences the image of Quest as a higher quality console and their metaverse vision, and therefore may weigh way more than quality of game play. For many perfectly good games created with simpler graphics by single developers this could be an almost unbreachable barrier, unless they also happen to be excellent 3D artists or have the budget to hire them.

  • david vincent

    “Facebook users struggling to reactivate hacked accounts are buying $300 Oculus VR headsets just so they can talk to a customer service rep”
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/facebook-users-struggling-to-reactivate-hacked-accounts-are-buying-300-oculus-vr-headsets-just-so-they-can-talk-to-a-customer-service-rep/ar-AAMVHyV?li=BBnbcA1

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      This would make for a funny joke about advanced Facebook strategies to get more people to buy into VR, if it wasn’t so screwed up.

  • JB1968

    LOL these game lists are fun to read. 95% is terrible showelware. Really sad moment for VR entertainment in the execution of Facebook. Quest is the king of mobile VR cancer that is killing PCVR big time.

  • Lucidfeuer

    On one end Oculus’ tight policies and requirements to get an app published means heavy curation, on the other hand it’s highly arbitrary especially if you want to publish an App (which could be argued as being anti-competitive practices)…