“Don’t confuse marketing with reality — it’s good marketing to pick on Apple. But it doesn’t mean Meta won’t do the exact same thing,” said Seth Siegel, global head of AI and cyber security at Infosys Consulting. “There is no impetus for them to be better.” The “Quest Store” for Meta’s Quest 2, by far the most popular VR headset on the market, takes a 30 percent cut from digital purchases and charges 15-30 percent on subscriptions, similar to the fees charged by Apple and Android. “Undoubtedly there are services provided — they build amazing hardware and provide store services,” said Daniel Sproll, chief executive of Realities.io, an immersive realities start-up behind the VR game Puzzling Places. “But the problem is that it feels like everybody agreed on this 30 percent and that’s what we’re stuck with. It doesn’t feel like there’s any competition. The Chinese companies coming out with headsets are the same. Why would they change it?”
Meta defended its policies, pointing out that unlike iPhone owners, Quest users can install apps outside its official store through SideQuest, a third-party app store, or make use of App Lab, its less restricted, more experimental app store. “We want to foster choice and competition in the VR ecosystem,” Meta said. “And it’s working — our efforts have produced a material financial return for developers: as we announced earlier this year, over $1 billion has been spent on games and apps in the Meta Quest Store.” Developers welcome these alternatives but say their impact is limited. SideQuest has been downloaded just 396,000 times, versus 19 million for the Oculus app, according to Sensor Tower. App Lab, meanwhile, still takes a 30 percent cut of purchases. Developers are also frustrated with Meta’s shift to a more restrictive approach to allowing apps on its VR app store.
Chris Pruett, Meta’s content ecosystem director, said Meta found that lax standards resulted in too many users being frustrated by low-quality content, so the company has opted to play more of a gatekeeper role. But developers said the resulting barriers could lack transparency.
“Getting something on the Quest store is painful,” said Lyron Bentovim, chief executive of the Glimpse Group, an immersive experiences group. “It’s significantly worse than getting on Apple or Android stores.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.