Oculus Quest devs see standalone VR as good for sales despite curation frustration
We’ve heard from a growing list of VR developers who made it through Facebook’s stringent approval process for the Oculus Quest standalone VR headset and found a lot of buyers waiting to purchase their content on the other side.
While we still don’t have enough reports to nail down the specific size of the Quest market we are hearing enough indications of success from different sources to report that, at least for some developers, Oculus Quest is already performing better than the lifetime sales on some other platforms just four months after its May release and before what is likely going to be a big push this holiday season.
Red Matter and Superhot
Previously, we’ve heard from the developers of Red Matter who said “we have surpassed Red Matter’s all time sales on Rift in just a few days on Oculus Quest” and Superhot who said sales were 300% higher on Quest, calling the all-in-one VR system “a watershed moment for the industry and the sales numbers suggests that players believe so too.”
We’ve also reached out to the developers behind popular games Job Simulator, Beat Saber, and Space Pirate Trainer as well as apps Virtual Desktop and SculptrVR, and these devs also indicate strong reception on Oculus Quest. We’ve reached out to more developers as well but some declined to comment.
“Job Simulator has been a launch title for several platforms since its initial launch in 2016, and we’ve seen consistent success with each release across all platforms,” said Devin Reimer, the head of Google-owned Owlchemy Labs.
Beat Games, the Prague-based studio behind Beat Saber, said that sales on Quest “exceeded our expectations.”
Space Pirate Trainer
I-Illusions is the development studio behind the defining wave shooter of VR’s first generation Space Pirate Trainer. The game released in April 2016 on Valve’s Steam for the HTC Vive and again for Oculus Touch on the Oculus Store in December of that year. The game also released in May this year on Oculus Quest.
Space Pirate Trainer sold about double on Quest in the first week of sales compared separately with each of those previous launches. After one month, it sold about the same on Quest as on Steam. Interestingly, if you compare the first month sales of Space Pirate Trainer on Quest versus that same time period on the Oculus Store after Touch launched for Rift in December 2016, Quest still saw double the sales. According to the studio, “if we look at the current stats of Quest, it’s doing much better than Touch, much more than double.”
The developers of SculptrVR and Virtual Desktop also shared with us their sales performance. On Rift, SculptrVR competed against Oculus’ own Medium sculpting app which is often bundled free with purchase of a headset. Though SculptrVR was first released for Steam in 2016 and since appeared on practically every major VR platform, Medium isn’t available on Quest and neither is Minecraft. After one week on Quest, SculptrVR “has already outsold Rift and Daydream and Gear/Go.”
“It has not yet reached 50% of my SteamVR sales and is about 1/6 my lifetime sales on PSVR,” SculptrVR’s primary creator Nathan Rowe wrote in a message. “Since Quest is a young platform that is growing rapidly, I believe the tail of sales will be much longer here than it was on PS4, so it will probably become my best selling platform by this time next year.”
We also heard from Guy Godin the developer of the incredibly useful utility app Virtual Desktop. For those unfamiliar, Virtual Desktop simulates a PC’s desktop interface inside a headset so that you can essentially do anything you can with your computer while sitting in VR. In June, the developer was forced by Facebook to remove a key feature from the version of the app available for purchase through Facebook’s Oculus Store. The feature essentially bridged Quest to Valve’s SteamVR platform and allowed players to enjoy their PC-based VR games inside the standalone VR headset. The system introduced some latency, though, which could result in comfort problems. Godin complied with Facebook’s request for removal, he said, but he moved what is essentially a patch for the app to a sideloaded store called SideQuest. A growing list of developers are finding their way to SideQuest for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is Facebook’s stringent approval policy.
So how did Virtual Desktop sell in its first few weeks on Quest versus earlier platform launches?
Quest sales were “slightly lower than PC sales when Rift/Vive launched,” Godin wrote in a message. “Their decision to force me to remove the VR streaming feature is a pain in the butt because it is a very popular feature (about 30% of my users have the Sideloaded version). Sideloading makes the whole process more complicated for users and I have to do a lot more help/support.”
Later this month Facebook will host its Oculus Connect 6 developer conference. Last year at the event Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised Quest would deliver “Rift-quality experiences” — a comment which was met with some skepticism from the audience. Quest-approved developers underwent arduous and expensive rebuilding processes to get their work ready for the Android-based system. In some cases, the resulting ports are even better on Quest with wireless freedom. Still, we hope to see Facebook address the comment at OC6 or offer a way that developers could bring over more of the graphical power of a PC to Quest.