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VR app Virtual Desktop dropping VR streaming feature at Oculus' behest

VR app Virtual Desktop dropping VR streaming feature at Oculus' behest

June 12, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

June 12, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon
More: VR, Social/Online

The developer of the Oculus Quest app Virtual Desktop is removing the VR streaming feature from the existing app, a change he says was ordered by Oculus.

Virtual Desktop was one of a handful of apps available for the Oculus Quest when the standalone VR headset launched last month. The VR Streaming feature developer Guy Godin developed for the app made it so Oculus Quest users were able to play SteamVR games with Virtual Desktop, something Oculus has now put the kibosh on.

The idea that Oculus wouldn’t want its standalone headset to offer indirect support for a competing storefront isn’t entirely surprising, especially considering Oculus has taken a stricter approach toward Quest app approvals in the interest of creating a more curated platform.

"I saw the ability to stream VR content from your PC as a very cool idea. I thought it would be a perfect fit for my app since it already gives you access to your computer," Godin said in a Reddit post. "Like a nice bonus feature. I worked on this for months and was eager to improve the functionality as I received your feedback over the last few days but according to Oculus, I am hurting Quest."

In a comment given to UploadVR, Godin explained the core app itself passed Oculus’ submission process ahead of its Quest launch, but VR streaming was meant as an additional, experimental feature in “an early stage of development.”

“After being asked to remove the feature because it doesn’t meet the quality bar of the store, I suggested to make it an opt-in feature so that users understand that this is experimental and might not be for everyone,” Godin tells UploadVR. “They refused and insisted that the feature be removed.”

When reached for comment, a spokesperson from Oculus’ parent company Facebook noted that the company does not comment on the status of specific apps, but that its “Oculus Store application submission system is designed to help ensure that our devices deliver a consistent, comfortable experience to customers. Apps are evaluated on a number of factors including performance, input, and safety with the goal of creating a quality, high-value experience for all VR consumers.”

Update: A Facebook representative shared tweets from special gaming strategies VP Jason Rubin over the weekend in response the Virtual Desktop issue, and others that have sprung up involving the Oculus Quest.

"Consumers expect quality at app launch and after. Updates that add flawed experimental features, don’t work for some users, or otherwise create a bad experience are not acceptable. This may require a tradeoff [between] features some users like and interests of the broader community," reads a portion of the thread. 

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