The Meta Quest is the product that’s gone the longest way to bring VR to the masses, in part because it has a sizable library of apps and games available. But, at one point, Meta asked Google to bring the Play Store to Quest to further expand that library, but Google declined.
Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth recently hosted an AMA session on Instagram where he answered questions from the community about Quest VR, and included in that was quite a bit of discussion about 2D Android apps on the Quest 3. As of now, Meta still runs its entire VR experience on top of a heavily modified version of Android and, in turn, supports the installation of Android apps. But, officially, there are only a very small number of Android apps available for download.
In theory, it shouldn’t take much to bring more apps to the Quest, and Meta apparently, at one point, directly asked for Google’s help to do so. Bosworth explained in the AMA session that porting Android apps to Quest isn’t the main issue, as developers can modify existing apps to run on Quest.
Rather, it’s the distribution, and that’s why Meta asked Google to bring the Play Store to Quest. But Google “didn’t want to do it.” There’s likely far more behind-the-scenes to that story, but it’s surprising enough that Meta directly asked for this.
Bosworth said (transcribed):
There’s nothing preventing Android developers who have an APK that’s running on Android phones today from bringing that to VR. They just need to ship the APK to us and there might be some light modification for how they want the control scheme to work but may not even be necessary. We don’t have any way of automatically ingesting those.
We would love if Google would bring their Play Store of apps to VR. We’ve asked them, they didn’t want to do it, so it’s kind of up to the developers to do it.
Notably, the Play Store was available in VR for a brief time back when Google Daydream was available. However, that Android-based VR platform and its Play Store have long since been shut down.
The Meta Quest 3 with its Android base is available now, starting at $499.
More on VR:
- Remember that time Google tried to do VR?
- Meta Quest 3 official with twice-as-fast Snapdragon chip, new display, Xbox cloud gaming
- Google still owns a VR game studio with a brand new Owlchemy Labs title in the works
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