Oculus App Lab: The Ultimate Guide for Developers and Gamers

oculus app lab guide
We’re reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

This is the ultimate guide to the Oculus App Lab, the new distribution portal for early access and demo apps for the Oculus Quest. It launched alongside the v25 Quest software update.

In this guide, we’ll go over a few important things:

  • What is Oculus App Lab?
  • App Lab vs SideQuest VR
  • How can you submit your game to this new store?
  • What are the best games in the App Lab?

If you have any other questions, make sure you comment down at the bottom of this post and let us know.

What is Oculus App Lab?

Oculus App Lab is a separate way for Quest developers to distribute apps to players instead of the official store. It was released alongside the v25 Quest software update. It allows early development and experimental apps to have an official link on the store safely and securely. Developers can give direct links or through platforms like SideQuest.

App Lab apps do not appear in the official Oculus Store, but they will still appear in the Quest Library alongside those games. These apps no longer need to sit under the “Unknown Sources” tab of your library.

You can search App Lab apps through the official Oculus website. They will appear under a new “App Lab” results section. There does not appear to be a way to browse all apps in this new store, so you’ll want to check out our website for a full listing and all the details.

When you open up an app from the Lab on the Quest store, you will have to click through the warning message below.

Oculus App Lab: The Ultimate Guide for Developers and Gamers

Oculus App Lab Games

To start with, 12 different titles are available in the Oculus App Lab. Many of them you will recognize from our best SideQuest games list:

oculus app lab games

Developer Features

Developers who use the App Lab get access to a number of Oculus features that used to only be available on the official store:

  • Automatic update distribution
  • Platform integration
  • Official Oculus SDKs
  • App Analytics
  • Release Channels


Oculus has simplified the requirements and Virtual Reality Checks (VRCs) required to appear on the Oculus App Lab. A number of requirements in order to land on the official store have been removed:

  1. Apps do not have to run for 45 minutes without entering thermal throttling Power Save mode.
  2. Applications that support hand tracking do not require hands that render in the correct position and orientation, and do not need to animate properly.
  3. Apps that support hand tracking do not require hands to be hidden if they are not being tracked or if tracking confidence is low.

Developers must meet all other Virtual Reality Checks.

All apps submitted must still support App Sharing. Developers should also ensure that they are following the four different documents:

  1. App Lab Policies
  2. Oculus Content Guidelines
  3. Data Use Policy
  4. App Policies

Oculus App Lab vs SideQuest VR

The App Lab replaces a lot of features and needs that were met exclusively by SideQuest. However, both Oculus and SideQuest have maintained that this new App Lab will strengthen and compliment both services together.

The two services will change due to the introduction of the App Lab in a few different ways:

  1. Apps located in the App Lab are linked directly from SideQuest.
  2. You no longer need to side loaded Apps accepted into the Lab through SideQuest VR.
  3. Community discussion, badges, and support will live in SideQuest. Click here to read our full SideQuest Communities guide.
oculus app lab vs sidequest vr

How Do You Submit a Game to the Oculus App Lab?

Oculus has made it really easy to submit a game to the new platform:

  1. First, log into the Oculus Developer Dashboard.
  2. Next, click on the Create New App option.
  3. Enter the name of your app.
  4. Choose Quest (App Lab) as your distribution method.
  5. Follow the steps to upload your application, provide screenshots and description text, and submit for review.

Apps submitted this way can either be free or paid. Revenue sharing falls under the same arrangements as on the regular Oculus store.

Oculus App Lab FAQs

Here are some other common questions and answers about the new distribution method for apps.

How can you promote your apps?

You can promote App Lab apps in two main ways:

  1. Direct Link URL
  2. Oculus Keys

You can generate unique Oculus Key codes and give them to individual users who you want to access the game. You can promote Direct link URLs through any medium.

How can App Lab apps get into the official Oculus Store?

The VRCs we listed above outline some additional requirements in order to make it into the official store. Oculus says they are constantly “sourcing high-quality applications for the Oculus Store, and App Lab provides another way for us to identify potential fit.”

How long does the review process take?

There are multiple steps in the process and developers will receive emails at each stage of the review. Oculus has listed three weeks as a rough estimate for developers.

If you have any other questions about the Oculus App Lab, comment below and let us know! We will do our best to answer everything for you.

About Ryan William

Ryan has been involved with augmented reality and virtual reality for over 7 years, building brand partnerships with Meta, HTC, and other companies. He has written over 2,000 blog posts and has covered the AR/VR industry extensively. His favorite VR headset is the Meta Quest 2 and he has played every VR headset and most games ever released.

Leave a Comment


Get 101+ VR tips for free and learn how to set up your headset, find the best accessories, play VR games better, and more!