It's my unfortunate responsibility to announce that future SideQuest versions will no longer be open source. SideQuest development will continue as strong as always but work will continue on in private repositories instead of public ones. To date I have made almost all of SideQuest open source to the great benefit of having the support and contribution from community members who want to improve SideQuest and this has been a real help, but in recent weeks it has become clear that we cannot continue for a few important reasons.
SideQuest has always taken a strong stance on piracy, we have always aligned ourselves with the Oculus content policies
and as a developer myself it troubles me when money is taken out of the pockets of developers. Developers who are already struggling to make ends meet in an uncertain world and trying to pioneer on a new frontier - these guys are heros in my eyes.
We recently introduced SafeSide
as a way to protect users from pirated/maliscious content. We have seen a number of forks of SideQuest created recently circumventing SafeSide to facilitate piracy and disable any future updates to SideQuest. This was possible for an average developer because the code was open source. Here are some examples of forks created specifically to remove the SafeSide system checks: https://github.com/rgstoian/SideQuest/commit/c1384f87dae809d69797f6b73242e647462e2d77 https://github.com/yunseok/SideQuest/commit/6450d6b3e331a6f6e330bdc82ce90de034908836
We have also seen that Oculus is prepared to take action against those that pirate content on Oculus Quest by enforcing their content policies
The very future of VR is stunted by the damage done by piracy. Indie developers are only discouraged from investing time and energy into VR to create polished content when they have their earnings stolen. We have even recently seen people take free apps from SideQuest and try to sell them for their own gain.
At the end of the day I can't stop piracy and I don't want to even try, but it is clear to me that making a super simple solution for installing APK files has had the inadvertent affect of making it easier to pirate too. The recent changes to SideQuest are an attempt by me to flatten the curve and undo some of the damage caused in part by SideQuest.
On Device SideQuest
Having SideQuest depend on a PC to operate has clear disadvantages with a wireless headset, and we recognise that it would be more convenient to have a solution that runs inside the headset. We get asked this question a lot
and the answer is always the same. The user experience would be broken but more importantly, Oculus explicitly prohibit
any third party stores running on the headset itself. My team and I have worked hard to make SideQuest into a legitimate solution for third party content, we have worked hard to simplify the experience as much as we can and give developers and users a viable alternative for discovery and community. We are proud of what we have created and want it to continue to be an invaluable resource for all.
We have had to remove direct downloads in SideQuest as a preventative measure to prevent third parties from creating an on-device installer for SideQuest. This is an unfortunate consequence
for some, but at SideQuest we feel its important for us to protect the resource we have created for our users and developers sake. A common complaint I hear is that users own their devices and can therefore do anything they want with them - this is not the case. While you own your hardware you only license the software from Oculus under the EULA. We have worked hard to maintain a positive relationship with Oculus and demonstrate that SideQuest will always be a positive force for VR. We have now seen
that Oculus are coming around to the value that an indie and experimental marketplace offers and are responsive
when things don't go exactly to plan. On may 23rd it will be SideQuests first birthday, 2 days after the Quests first birthday and we are about to hit 1M downloads of SideQuest on Desktop. It has been a tough but exciting journey to get to where we are, and we are ecstatic to see where this can go.
I appreciate the support of the users! I am still just an average guy that just happened to get lucky and make something useful for people, I hope that it has helped grow the VR community and specifically helped to bring more users into VR with Oculus Quest. I am as passionate as ever about working as hard as I can to make SideQuest the best it can be and i look forward to many more years of awesome content in VR.