The Number of Discoverable Quest Apps Has More Than Tripled With the Merging of App Lab


The Number of Discoverable Quest Apps Has More Than Tripled With the Merging of App Lab

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Meta has begun the process of merging ‘unlisted’ App Lab apps into the main Quest store, more than tripling the number of discoverable apps.

App Lab, as many of you know, is the holding zone for apps that didn’t get hand-picked by Meta for inclusion in the main Quest store. Up until now, App Lab apps have been effectively ‘unlisted’, meaning they can’t be discovered in the Quest store unless you have a direct URL or search for the exact name of the app.

After years of this division as the status quo, Meta has recently begun merging App Lab with the main Quest store, making App Lab apps discoverable through browsing and broader search terms.

Prior to this merging, there were some 660 apps on the main Quest store. While this is far and away the largest library of VR apps on a standalone headset, it pales in comparison to the 2,200 additional apps that have been hidden in App Lab (data courtesy VRDB).

With App Lab apps now included in the main Quest store, users can now find more than 2,860 Quest apps. That more than triples the original count.

Why Meta Made App Lab

Meta’s original decision to sequester App Lab apps was to make sure only high quality and original VR experiences (according to its own discretion) would appear before users. Apps that were smaller, less polished, or experimental would stay hidden in App Lab. That left the developers to figure out how to drive an audience to their app with no help from browsing or recommendation features (even though Meta continued to take the same revenue cut).

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And while it’s true that plenty of apps you’ll find on App Lab are low effort, there’s also plenty of gems—many of which garnered enough attention to be promoted to the main Quest store. In fact, one of Quest’s most popular games to date, Gorilla Tag, became a viral success well before making the jump from App Lab to the main Quest store.

But, developers have argued, perhaps such apps would have found success sooner if they weren’t hidden in the first place.

A Watershed Moment?

Despite the inclusion of 2,200 new apps in the the main Quest store, developers are unlikely to see a new surge of traffic. Meta is still maintaining some division between the two groups of apps; users browsing the store will need to purposefully browse into the App Lab section to find that group of apps. But therein, at least, Meta is making an effort to curate this large group of apps into browsable categories, similar to the way it does on the main store.

In the future Meta says it plans to dissolve the App Lab section entirely, fully absorbing App Lab games into the main Quest store. At this point the company is likely to continue to mark some apps as ‘experimental’, and rely entirely on curation to make top content the most visible. With the walls dissolved, however, hopefully there will be a more direct avenue for unexpected hits like Gorilla Tag to bubble to the top.

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