The App Lab finally arrives on the Quest Store

The App Lab finally arrives on the Quest Store

Meta is making good on its promise and now features the App Lab on the Horizon Store. A long-overdue move that will benefit the ecosystem.

FACTS

In April, Meta promised to begin removing the barriers between the tightly curated Horizon Store and the App Lab, its alternative early access store. According to the announcement, App Lab titles would soon be featured in a dedicated section of the Horizon Store.

This has now been done. When you open the Horizon Store on Quest, you will see a banner inviting you to browse the App Lab, and you can switch to the alternative store at any time via an App Lab tab. When you open the App Lab section, you will find selected titles as well as app categories such as "Fun Fitness," "Shooting Range," "Social Starters," and more, similar to the Horizon Store.  This also applies to the browser version of the Horizon Store and the Meta Quest app if you have the latest version of the mobile app.

App Lab titles are now easier to find in the search box, and the rather annoying warning window that appeared when opening an App Lab store page is finally gone.

In an e-mail that Meta sent to Quest users, the company promotes the App Lab:

"Discover experimental games, cutting-edge apps and immersive experiences that push the limits of mixed reality. Browse our growing library of apps and games in development, and join a vibrant community of developers, early adopters and gaming enthusiasts."

logo

CONTEXT & OPINION

A major step for Meta's VR ecosystem

From Quest's launch in May 2019 until early 2021, developers could only release their apps on the Quest Store (now called the Horizon Store), and only under strict quality controls. Experimental VR apps and VR apps in development found a home on the sideloading platform Sidequest. In February 2021, Meta opened the App Lab in response, but kept the two stores strictly separate: to find App Lab apps, you had to go to third-party sites or enter the exact name of the app in the Horizon Store.

Now, Meta has begun to blur the lines between the stores, and in the future, Meta may move the App Lab entirely to the Horizon Store, effectively abandoning it.

Meta's latest move will make the ecosystem more attractive to developers, who will be able to reach their customers more easily and gain more visibility, which sooner or later will translate into more and better apps. This in turn will benefit Quest users.