SideQuest is an unofficial app store for Facebook’s Oculus Quest headset which offers an avenue for developers to distribute apps without being subject to Oculus’ approval process. The team behind the project has raised $650,000 in seed investment, including funding from departed Oculus founder Palmer Luckey.

Despite being pushed out of Facebook in 2017 and moving into the defense sector, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey has continued to keep a close eye on the VR space and support projects that align with his vision for VR.

TechCrunch today reported that Luckey was among several investors that participated in a $650,000 seed investment in SideQuest. The bulk of the investment ($500,000) comes from BoostVC, a startup accelerator program, while the rest was split between Luckey and VC firm The Fund.

The appeal of SideQuest is that it sidesteps the official Oculus Store which, on Quest, imposes a quality or scope bar on apps. That means smaller or less polished projects are unlikely to be approved on the store.

“No HMD manufacturer should have a stranglehold on the VR ecosystem or unilateral control over what people run on their VR headsets, and when I look at Sidequest, I see the spirit of Oculus Share,” Luckey told TechCrunch.

Oculus Share was the company’s proto-app store which hosted VR apps regardless of quality or scope. Oculus continued the approach of allowing any app onto its VR app store (so long as it met technical requirements) up until Quest, at which point the company pivoted to a curated approval process for the headset.

How (and why) to Sideload Games on Quest with SideQuest

SideQuest is basically an unofficial app-store built atop Quest’s ‘side-loading’ capability, which allows developers to manually load applications onto the headset. That poses a significant risk to the project and its investors. At any point Facebook could declare that side-loading is intended only for developers and move to lock the door with a more complicated side-loading procedure.

But it may be too late. With hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors to SideQuest and hundreds of hosted apps, according to TechCrunch, and now with a seed investment, significantly hampering SideQuest might be too risky for Facebook’s developer relations.

In fact, Facebook may ultimately end up solidifying SideQuest as the official, unofficial app store for Quest. The company announced last week that it plans to begin allowing apps onto its store infrastructure, even before approval, with the caveat that unapproved apps won’t be listed in the official store and it will be up to developers to distribute by themselves. SideQuest creator Shane Harris told UploadVR that his platform will serve as a distribution hub for those unlisted apps.

For Luckey’s part, the investment in SideQuest is not the first time he’s supported projects that directly challenge Facebook’s grip on the VR app ecosystem. In 2017 he began supporting Revive—an unofficial mod which allows Oculus Store content to be played on non-Oculus headsets—with $2,000 in monthly funding through its Patreon campaign.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Alextended
    • kontis

      Palmer is responsible for existence of this entire industry as his prototypes is what made people believe low cost VR was viable and started it all (the reason Valve pivoted from AR research to VR and why they created the famous Valve Room that convinced Zuckerberg to buy Oculus).

      I think he tainted this industry so much that using ANY VR headsets means you also support his work.

      I hope you consider this fact next time you futilely try to look into mirror only to be blinded by the glowing aureola around your head caused by your übermenschlich higher level morality, my lord.

      • Alextended

        What you “think” as supporting Luckey is your opinion, feel free to have it, absurd as it may be, I’m not gonna judge you for it or anything, keep it up.

        • kontis

          As a subhuman inferior genetically and morally to you I don’t dare to judge you, but I judge myself for being such a primitive being.

          But at least I can look at myself in the mirror as I’m not a super human with god-like morality. I even have clothes made in 3rd world country exploited by western imperialism and a phone made in china by Chinese slaves. I’m that bad. Unlike you. My Lord. How is it to be a God?

        • Youre acting jus like those incel trumpolines. Be a better person.

          Its one thing when they are nasty to you but here is neutral ground.

          And no one here is giving off that trumpoline vibe.

          See no one here supporting this palmer guy, they jus happy SideQuest got major cashflow even if its blood money.

    • asdf

      f off troll.

    • brandon9271

      Alt right? what a meaningless term. lol Trump supporters are the ONLY right.
      Buckle up for 4 more years, sugar tits!

    • IcedForce

      If you’re that concerned about peoples and companies political agendas, hopefully you are not supporting direct criminal activity by using (and especially buying) anything related to Facebook.
      Facebook is moving every piece of EU data to US without any mentions, questions or choices for “processing” (aka. for NSA to spy on Europeans and for Facebook getting around the GDPR, which is illegal in every EU country and so far Facebook has gotten away with it only because Ireland wasn’t enforcing the law). Not to even start with all the shady stuff going around like the Cambridge Analytica which surely wasn’t the only case, most likely wasn’t even the first or the last, it was just the first where they got caught.

    • Sometimes working w/ the devil or accepting his cash maybe needed to prosper.

      Since this may mean a very long life for it then the ends justify the means.

      Time to put the devils money to good use even if its blood money.

  • Ad

    SideQuest is in denial. Facebook might use them but they’ll toss them soon enough. I wish UploadVR didn’t quote them so much. They said that this transition, at best, wasn’t going to happen.

    • Alextended

      If Facebook does good on what they said about accepting any games and just having them unlisted/unsearchable if they’ve not passed their standard curation methods then I don’t see what stops SideQuest (or anybody else too) from (in coordination with the game developers to get the links) listing those games there for people to find them and even potentially selling the keys the devs generate for their own use since FB said it’s possible to sell them without any fees on their side). But of course FB could change mind at any time and stop offering that service if it looks like it’s abused or competes with them.

      • Ad

        “about accepting any games”

        They never said this. That’s the issue. SideQuest is also used to mod games, right?

        • Alextended

          It should be in this video but I cba to watch it all again.

          Pretty sure it explicitly said apps don’t have to pass approval and all that stuff but it’s been reported from various places like UploadVR as exactly what I said above. If it’s wrong that sucks because it would be a really cool service though it does sound too generous for FB to do (but it could simply be a way for them to monitor and control the stuff they don’t approve which atm they don’t.

          • kontis

            That video also mentions install limits.

            If it’s something like max 1K or even 10K users per app it will never be a full equivalent of independent distribution.

          • Alextended

            If that’s a limiting factor then the dev could make the games so:
            My FPS Doom Clone Batch #1
            My FPS Doom Clone Batch #2
            My FPS Doom Clone Batch #3
            My Space Game Batch #1
            My Space Game Batch #2
            My First Flop Batch #1
            Etc. Otherwise identical, updated all the same, connecting to the same servers if multiplayer, etc. Perhaps that would be considered abuse, perhaps not. We’ll see how they solidify this.

            Still too generous for FB even with limits, assuming that games that reach their limits/get a lot of play time will more likely be approved for proper release (with the standard fees on top of course, FB isn’t a charity and no other console manufacturer allows any of this compared to even the worst case scenario really, so it’s silly to compare them to Apple over it, all consoles are walled gardens).

          • kontis

            Not only that would be a mess, but Facebook will also be able to ban these apps going around the limitation manually, just as they will ban any app breaking their content policies (like NSFW).

          • Eli Rutherford

            Not sure if you have looked into VR porn apps bro. But there are a bunch for oculus and they are most certainly NSFW

          • Ad

            They said full store approval, anything that violates their terms on copyright or content still isn’t allowed.

          • Alextended

            Yes of course people won’t be able to publish Super Mario VR and stuff on it, that goes without saying. Stuff like Dr.Beef’s posts however should be possible by not including the game data files and expecting the user to provide that to make it all legal (I believe that’s how it works already, he’s not encouraging piracy). If SQ ends up selling stuff, eventually they’ll have to make such rules as well, somebody’s gonna notice their IP is bring infriged upon by a place that’s become popular at some point. That’s not being mean or anything, just preemptively avoiding that mess.

          • Ad

            I don’t think there will be a way to transfer files, if they even let his mods on there. No modding games, etc.

          • Alextended

            That’d suck I guess. Glad we have a good PC Quake VR but I really dunno why nobody (or himself) has taken the task of porting Dr.Beef’s stuff to PC since I imagine most of it is open source by following the open source games/engines he’s been working with. Maybe he’ll move on to PC if Quest 2 doesn’t allow him to do that stuff and he doesn’t wanna deal with the Quest specs after some years. Or someone else will show up and do those games and others too (like Quake VR, it’s really great).

          • Ad

            I think his group thinks these things are already on PC. I hope they move to PC since they’re clearly not welcome on Quest anymore.

          • Alextended

            You’d think someone would have pointed Dr.Beef to how that’s not the case and to please port his awesome shit already, they’d not only be welcomed but also play better (horrendus performance issues on quest for half-life for example, especially if you want the blueshift models pack etc.)! Lol. I’m sure he’s aware, just super focused on Quest for whatever reason, like there was an awesome homebrew community for the Wii and other consoles for example :)

          • Ad

            He did a lot of Go ports so I guess that’s why.

  • Mike549

    Glad to see SideQuest has a future on Quest 2 (at least for now).

  • kontis

    Kudos to all you people actively trying to prevent another iOS situation with a compelling device from a company desperately trying to be the next Apple and even replace iPhone in the future.

    • Alextended

      I mean, this is possible because FB explicitly allows it to be so. So they’re not fighting against anything FB works for, just making use of FB features…

      • kontis

        You obviously didn’t read the article, because it explains why it may not be as simple as you think it is.

        (And I assure you, Ben knows more about this stuff than we both combined and multiplied by 100).

  • SKD007

    Awesome.. soon hackers will hack it so you don’t need fb account lol that is what happens when you release good products and lock it down

  • Compliments to SideQuest, well deserved!

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    For now FB is benefiting from all the experimentation happening around SideQuest. Look how popular “Tea for God” for exampkeThere’a a lot of

  • Um… unless I missed something new, SideQuest does not distribute apps. They merely act as a hub to access files hosted elsewhere. My apps on SideQuest are all hosted on Github, and they walk you through the process of hosting files there. You can host the files anywhere though, but SideQuest will not host them for you.

    If somebody else wanted to run a competitive service to SideQuest, it’s as easy as compiling a list of the GitHub files.

    Btw, are you in need of first person shooter with grappling hooks, Borderlands-style infinite gun system, slow motion, duel gun wielding, procedurally generated platform levels, and a ton of other cool stuff? Check out Quest-O-Rama, on SideQuest (and Github):