If you’ve ever tried modding your Meta Quest 2 (formerly Oculus Quest 2), you’ve probably encountered SideQuest. An unofficial alternative to the Meta Store, the platform allows developers to publish experimental games, tech demos, and more via side loading. Reaching over 2 million VR users, it’s just received a significant investment from Alphabet’s investment arm, GV – formerly known as Google Ventures.
SideQuest first appeared in May 2019, arriving days after the original Quest VR headset. Compatible with Oculus Quest 2, it should, in theory, work with Meta Quest Pro (Project Cambria) and the upcoming Oculus Quest 3. Likely in direct response to SideQuest, Meta launched its own experimental platform called App Lab last year, allowing Quest users to play experimental VR games without sideloading.
However, as GV’s investment shows, App Lab hasn’t dented SideQuest’s ongoing popularity. Announcing a “$12 million Series A investment” through an official blog post, the move sees GV general partner M.G. Siegler joining SideQuest’s board. Speaking separately to TechCrunch, Siegler released this prepared statement:
“We are leading a $12 million Series A investment in SideQuest, the leading VR content aggregator and developer testing platform. I’m also excited to take a board seat. We feel the time is right, and the SideQuest team has the potential to be a leader in this sector that finally feels primed for prime time. The company’s ultimate goal is to become a main hub and software layer for the broader XR ecosystem.”
While it may seem odd for Alphabet to invest in another gaming platform after confirming plans to shut down Stadia, this can be easily explained. Meta Quest VR headsets run on the Android operating system, which Google commercially sponsors, giving it the versatility needed to become the best VR headset. Furthermore, while GV is owned by Alphabet Inc, the group operates independently.
Still, if you’re looking to access SideQuest, but don’t necessarily wish to use a Quest 2 headset, you’re in luck. The company’s co-founder, Shane Harris, points out the platform’s also compatible with Pico 4 and Pico Neo 3, so you could jump ship to Meta’s rival instead (via UploadVR). Just be aware that if you’re planning to use SideQuest on these platforms, only Quake 3’s VR mod is currently supported.