5 Tips for Publishing VR to Oculus Go
On August 14th at 11am EST, we’ll be hosting a webinar titled “HOW TO PUBLISH 360/VR APPS TO THE OCULUS GO.” We’ll go in-depth on all things Oculus Go. To receive a calendar invite for the webinar, email andrew @ instavr.co
In the three months since launch, we’ve seen a lot of interest in the Oculus Go platform. It’s affordable ($200), immersive, comfortable, and easy-to-use. It’s great for training employees, for use at conferences & trade shows, for architectural presentations, and much much more.
We’ve published a lot of material on the Oculus Go recently — you can read them all on our blog.
But for InstaVR Pro users, we wanted to focus on five main tips that will help you in distributing your Go projects. And let us know if there’s anything we’re missing!
1. Use Resource Channels for Wide Distribution to Multiple Headsets
At $200 per headset, the Oculus Go is the first high-quality mainstream VR headset that can be purchased in bulk by companies. It’s also — unlike HTC Vive and Oculus Rift — easy to take with you on meetings and business trips.
The mobility and price of Oculus Go means a company can have headsets distributed throughout the country or world. This “fleet” approach to VR distribution is extremely valuable. If you run a restaurant or hotel chain or warehouse — any business with scale and multiple locations — you can put together impactful VR and have it used by employees or prospective customers regardless of geography, recognizing significant ROI on the technology.
To make this easy, InstaVR integrates with Oculus Go’s “Release Channel” distribution approach. (Note: For full details on Oculus Store publishing, read our detailed guide)
What is a Release Channel?
Within the Oculus Store, you can publish “in-progress” apps. These can be accessed by your Oculus Go headset, or a Go headset of your choosing, without being released to the Oculus Store proper.
The selected headsets in your Release Channel will have your app pushed out to them, where they can download it in its entirety. All you’ll need is the email addresses associated with the Facebook Developer accounts tied to the headsets. Meaning you can upload a distribution list to the Oculus Store and voila, your fleet of chosen VR headsets will be utilizing your application in seconds!
How it works:
A.) In InstaVR, before packaging, choose one of the three Release Channels (Alpha, Beta, or RC) you’ll plan to upload your app to in your Oculus Dashboard
B.) Package your app in InstaVR. Download the packaged .apk you’ve created, and in “Manage Build” for the project in your Oculus Store Dashboard, upload the .apk to the selected Release Channel.
C.) Go to the Users section of that Release Channel, and add the email address (or addresses) associated with the Facebook Developer Account tied to the headset you want to distribute the app to. (Note: Oculus limits you to distributing your app to 100 headsets via a Release Channel, though it’s very unlikely you’d hit that limit)
D.) The user will receive an email from Oculus, with a link they’ll click to confirm they want to access the app.
E.) If the invited Release Channel user’s headset is in Developer Mode, and they’ve clicked that link, they will then be able to find your app in the Home section of their headset, which they can then download.
2. Use “Direct Publishing” for Consistent App Updates
As VR has become incorporated into more business processes — be it training, recruiting, sales, operations, etc — the amount of content generated has grown exponentially.
Luckily for Oculus Go users, InstaVR Pro subscribers can take advantage of a feature called “Direct Publishing.” This saves you time as you push out new content or update an existing VR application. If you routinely publish and distribute virtual reality content to Oculus Go headsets, this is a feature you should be using!
With non-Direct Publishing, for making a change to an app, you have to package in InstaVR->download the .apk->upload the .apk to the Oculus Store for the replacement/updated app (and remember to change the Version # or name of the app). A certainly non-ideal workflow. Plus, you have to keep track of all the .apk files you’re generating on your laptop.
Direct Publishing bypasses these steps and allows you to make changes in the InstaVR Console, that when re-packaged, automatically update on your Oculus Go headsets. Users just navigate to the App Update section of their headset, and the new/updated VR experience is ready to download and use.
How does Direct Publishing work?
We have a whole guide with step-by-step instructions on our web site. You can read it here or watch the video below.
The main things you have to remember are to cut & paste your “App Secret” from the Oculus Store project to the InstaVR Console & turn on the “Direct Publishing” button before packaging.
Once you’ve used this feature once, you’ll see how easy it is.
Examples of When to Use Direct Publishing:
A.) You’re publishing daily/weekly/monthly updated content to a headset or fleet of them – If you’re using Oculus Go for employee training, there’s a good chance you’re routinely pushing out new content. Rather than having your employees find and download each new app you’re publishing, you can publish one app and use Direct Publishing to send out the routine updates. They’ll get a notification in their headset there’s an App Update. It’s simpler for them and saves you time as the author.
B.) If you just want to use a single app for all your content – A very common use case we’ve seen for the Go is as a communication tool between a company and its clients. Because of Oculus Store distribution, you don’t need physical access to the headset to publish content. So if you’re a visual designer, you can create one app for your architecture client, and then continually update the renderings in that app for them. Or if you’re a marketing director, you can have your sales team download just a single app you’ve created for their presentations, and then push out using Direct Publishing updates to the app as your product or service evolves.
C.) To test out changes to your app – In lieu of downloading our Live Previewer app, you can quickly view changes such as adding Navigation Links or Hotspots on your published app using Direct Publishing. And if you don’t like the changes, just delete them, and hit the Package button.
3. Use the “Stream/Download” Feature (Found in “Branding”) to Enable Long-Form Apps
Oculus Gos come in two models – 32 GB and 64 GB. Not a huge amount of storage, especially given the size of 360/VR media.
And even if you have the space, our Packager doesn’t create long-form 5GB+ apps by default. You can, however, use the “Download/Stream” feature in InstaVR Pro to enable your users after downloading your app to choose how they’d like to view your long-form content.
Meaning you can use InstaVR to generate long-form training, educational videos, 360 tours — whatever.
How does Download/Stream work in the Oculus Go?
While authoring your Oculus Go app, in the Branding section of InstaVR, go to “Add-on Screens”.
Select “Download or Streaming” Dialog.
Then when you package your long-form apps, after your users open it, they will have a choice to download the entirety of your VR experience or stream it. Because Oculus Gos work via WiFi, and download times can be several minutes, you’ll want to budget the necessary time when you’ll have access to WiFi to get the app onto your Go. Or use Stream if you know your WiFi signal is strong.
Other Considerations for Long-Form Oculus Go Apps:
Because Gos are pretty comfortable on the head, it’s not surprising that many InstaVR users are inclined to create-long form content for the headset. But before you do so, here are some things to think about…
A.) Optimal VR Headset Content is Still Relatively Short (5 minutes or less) – With a 110 degree (diagonal) Field of View, the Go is throwing a lot at you visually. Though it may not be as heavy as a Vive or Rift, your eyes are still getting bombarded with pixels. So rather than focusing on longer length, focus on shorter, more impactful content. Your viewers will appreciate it.
B.) Make it Interactive – The Oculus Go comes with a nifty, easy-to-use hand controller. Incorporate choice — Navigation Links and Hotspot Overlays — into your long-form application. It will make for better recall of your VR material and a better user experience.
C.) Add the Video Player Control feature – The Video Player Control — found in “Global Settings” in the authoring platform — allows you to Pause, Fast-Forward, and Rewind. If you’re doing long-form VR video, your users may want to take a break (pause) or go back to a specific point without re-starting (rewind). So add the Video Player Control to give your users a little more control of the video playing experience.
4. Publish to the Actual Oculus Go Store (for Wide Distribution!)
When Oculus Go launched, it had 1000 apps already listed on its Oculus Store for download.
That may sound like a large number, but… it’s tiny compared to iTunes and Google Play. And it was mainly apps ported over from Gear VR, with little or no promotion.
There is a thirst for good Oculus Go content. And the built-in Oculus Store makes it easy to download apps over WiFi to the headset. New, compelling content has a good chance to succeed and be seen. According to research firm SuperData, upwards of 1.8 million Gos could be sold this year. (InstaVR note: that’s a very aggressive estimate, but even if it’s off by 2x, that would still be 900,000 addressable headsets)
As part of an InstaVR Pro subscription, you can publish to the public Oculus Store. Now Oculus Store does have a lengthier and more difficult review process than iTunes or Google Play, as they want to curate better apps. But if you create an interesting branded VR experience, or an educational application, or a compelling 360 tour — you have a good chance of your InstaVR-created app being accepted to the Oculus Store for anyone with a headset to download.
What kinds of apps are likely to be approved for the public Oculus Store?
A.) Educational Content – If you’re authoring an app that has educational value — like a museum tour or a how-to guide or a training app for a specific profession — you’re more likely to get it approved. Just like on the Daydream Store, an educational app is viewed as furthering the medium of VR for good.
B.) Entertaining Branded Content – There are a ton of brands that want to get into VR. It’s memorable, fun, and cutting edge. But Oculus doesn’t want to flood the Store with overtly commercial apps. So how do you avoid that rejection trap? Make your branded content entertaining! Like with how our client Rapid Films worked with Jeep & The World Surfing League… their Jeep Sessions VR experience isn’t just a blatant ad for Jeep. It’s a fun 360-degree off-roading adventure through Hawaii, combined with some of the best VR surfing scenes we’ve scene filmed.
C.) Interesting 360 Tours – Travel apps have always been a popular form of content in the 360 world. So if you create a professional, visually interesting 360 tour, there’s a good chance Oculus Store will approve it. What do we mean by professional? Organized well, filmed using a good (read: 4K+) camera, with easy navigation. Of the three types of apps we’ve listed here, this one is the hardest to get approval on, so spend a bit of extra time to make your presentation strong before submitting.
5. Use Spatial Audio
One of the cool features of the Oculus Go is built-in speakers. You no longer have to plug in headphones to a mobile phone (Google Cardboard) or Gear VR. Which means your users will have a more natural audio experience.
So why not take advantage of the headsets and utilize Spatial Audio?
For those new to Spatial Audio, you can read more about it here. You’ll need to use a 360 camera with built-in spatial audio capabilities (which many cameras now do, even lower cost ones like the Ricoh Theta V) or use special microphone set-ups that can capture the audio from multiple locations.
After formatting your Spatial Audio using Facebook’s 360 Spatial Workstation, you can upload to InstaVR and sync to your video. Users can then experience your surround audio using those surprisingly good built-in speakers on the Oculus Go.
When should you use spatial audio?
There’s no cut & dry answer to this. But here are a few examples where you may benefit from adding Spatial Audio capture for your Oculus Go app…
A.) You’re trying to drive viewer attention to something – A full 360-degree landscape means app users can focus on any part of a scene that they want. But maybe you want to draw their attention to a certain location in a scene. What’s the easiest way to do that? By incorporating a noticeable sound, which should get viewer attention and draw focus to the part of the scene you’re trying to highlight.
B.) If you’re going for realism – Real life audio is heard in multiple directions, not just left-right. For our human ancestors, that was vital for survival. So if you go with a standard, non-surround audio approach to a scene, you’ll lose a bit of the verisimilitude of life.
The Oculus Go is the first mainstream, affordable, all-in-one headset. It’s been very valuable to companies that are serious about VR — for internal company use, for external presentations, and for reaching a wide audience.
Publishing to Oculus Go is easy with a platform like InstaVR. There’s no coding, and you can literally create and publish an Oculus Go app in minutes.
But using some of these aforementioned advance features — Release Channels, Direct Publishing, Stream/Download, Oculus Store Wide Release, and Spatial Audio — will help you stand out and get an even more positive response to your VR experiences.
If you have any questions on the Oculus Go, visit our Oculus Go overview pages or connect with us over Live Chat on weekdays. We can’t wait to help you make the most of your Oculus Go headsets!