Revolutionizing Gaming with APPLE VISION PRO's Immersive Experiences

Apple is the latest entry in a growing class of devices for virtual reality. Naturally, its APPLE VISION PRO device was pitched to us as a productivity tool. But more and more we start to see it being used for gaming – and gaming is being transformed by this turn of events. Here’s how.

The Arrival of Immersive Gaming on APPLE VISION PRO

Anyone who followed the developer Owlchemy Labs’ announcement that it was bringing its award-winning titles, Job Simulator (2016) and Vacation Simulator (2019) to APPLE VISION PRO would have known it was big news. It was something new – and seemingly different – for Apple. It added games to its platform. Blame the games themselves. Instead of simply taking the typical iPad ports we’ve seen and rendering them as fake monitors that occupy part of the user’s field of view, bringing these titles to the VISION PRO offers the kind of fully immersive VR experiences many have come to expect. It looks different and feels different. For gamers, this announcement was indicative of a shift in how Apple sees gaming on the VISION PRO.

Tailored for Perfection: Game Optimization for APPLE's Hardware

Applying technology so that Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator are optimised for the VISION PRO, hand-and-eye tracking eliminates the need for a dedicated controller and furthers Apple’s ‘royal’ gamble to offer the best VR experience available. Apple appears to be solving hardware challenges rather than merely succeeding, and their decisions are clearly based on user requirements.

A Glimpse into the Virtual World: Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator

For those unfamiliar with these titles, Job Simulator is a simulated goof on office life; it allows the player to carry out a number of different tasks, from brewing coffee to decorating their cubicle. Vacation Simulator allows the player to escape to a virtual beach where you can spend your days lazing on the sand, doing yoga and knitting. Both are laugh-out-loud hilarious experiences full of the kinds of playful interactivity that make VR such a blast.

Pricing and Availability: An Accessible Experience with No APPLE Tax

These games don’t cost anything extra to play on APPLE VISION PRO, sparing users from the dreaded ‘Apple tax’ that doomsday prophets have been predicting all along. Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator cost $20 and $30 respectively, the same as they do on the Meta Quest Store and Steam. So not only is this inclusion super affordable, but it’s also further evidence that Apple wants to fit into the existing VR ecosystem, not compete with it.

Beyond Gaming: Expanding the APPLE VISION PRO Library

The APPLE VISION PRO also has a promising future thanks to a continually expanding library of exclusive experiences and games, such as an upcoming interactive story based on the Marvel series What If…? as well as the tabletop role-playing game Demeo. Offers and sales might not be favouring the APPLE VISION PRO – at least not yet – but the development of software and games for their VR product could be the deciding factor for the company’s success long term.

Looking Forward: The Potential of APPLE in VR

But Apple doesn’t make just MMOs or just shooters for its VISION PRO – it’s looking to build a VR market from the top down, where you can play exclusive Apple games and buy exclusive Apple software from the top of the food chain before distributing it to the masses below. Yes, APPLE is designing games with portals in them, but those portals aren’t just portals to the next level of a game. They’re portals to the idea of virtual experiences becoming standard in our digital lives. Games like Job Simulator from Owlchemy Labs are the trials of that coming standard, a step on Apple’s path to connecting with its everyday entertainment users. While VRStart founder Emmett Shear entertains the idea of VR taking 30 years to reach critical mass in the market, it seems likely that Apple faces much less resistance by bringing VR from the top down. By including games of all kinds into its sprawling ecosystem for its flagship AR/VR product, and by including developers small and large in its platform, Apple is carefully building the VR industry. In the same way it disrupted the music industry by replacing downloaded media with streaming services, it’s ripping the guts out of gaming consoles and replacing them with streaming immersive VR experiences that render the need for gamepads and headsets obsolete. VR was fun and weird and full of possibilities back then, but now it’s growing up. It’s starting to resemble the VR you’ve already spent your whole life with.

Understanding APPLE in the Broader Tech Landscape

It now emerges with the APPLE VISION PRO – its latest foray into the world of virtual reality. How to sum up Apple’s relationship with new forms of immersive technology? The tech giant likes to position itself as a leopard that never changes in a world of frenetic Silicon Valley trends – and yet it has carved out its own distinct identity over the years. From its iconoclastic thinking to its reverence for great design, from its role in popularising the computer for casual users to its repeated attempts to do the same for video gaming, Apple has made its presence felt across the tech spectrum and won the wealth to prove it. The VR hits that are coming to the APPLE VISION PRO are only now – and only quite vaguely – rolling out their full potential to a wider audience. That Apple has arrived at VR has not been a haphazard development.

To conclude, the headset’s games Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator demonstrate its commitment to quality gaming experiences that fully utilise hardware. Apple is not only competing with other companies for the position of the AR/VR leader, but is also inviting new territories into the user experience. Given the current status of the VISION PRO’s library of games and experiences, our excitement to see what Apple will create next grows.

May 29, 2024
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