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Will Apple Arcade be enough to push the Vision Pro?

At least 100 titles will be available on launch. But is that it? And where's the metaverse in all this?

Will Apple Arcade be enough to push the Vision Pro?

The Apple Vision Pro is here (or at least it's been proven to exist) and with it, speculation about what this device is and its part in Apple's future.

Overall the reception of the new device - a mixed reality AR/VR headset with a carefully curated set of Apple-centric apps - has been positive, despite inevitable contention about its $3,499 pricing.

For many, the Vision Pro reveal was to be an “iPhone moment”, an announcement on par with the historic launch of the original iPhone in 2007 which kickstarted the era of the modern smartphone. Taken to its logical conclusion you could successfully argue that without the iPhone, mobile games and the industry around them that we know and participate in today would not exist.

But the Vision Pro is different from a smartphone, and amidst the hype and excitement, maybe it’s good to take a step back and ask the hard questions. So far there's one hard promise on the table and that's that Apple Vision Pro will run 100 Apple Arcade apps on day one - something that - for the mobile games industry - was the only thing to really key into from the product's reveal.

But is access to headset projected versions of the games inside Apple’s premiere mobile gaming service worth the hefty price-tag of the Vision Pro alone?

An Apple Vision Pro a day…

The main appeal of Apple Arcade, which offers a vast catalogue of games for a low monthly subscription, is its amazing value for money. Add onto that the relatively reasonable price of an iPhone (now that we've all admitted that they're essential for everything from knowing the time and the weather, to providing everything from tube tickets to groceries) and you have a huge variety of games at an attractive price in one package.

Meanwhile the Vision Pro enters at the other end of the arena. It will debut at an eye-watering $3,499. A price vastly more than even the highest-end iPhones. So while Apple Arcade is great value for money, and we're confident that devs will do a great job of porting (most) of the content there, it seems like the service will have a hard time being the killer app that Apple needs to truly shift Vision Pro.

So what else could we need or want to justify a purchase?

Don't say the 'm' word…

It's caught more than a few eyes that while everyone else's headset pitch sells the lumpy device as the ticket to the metaverse, so Apple's Tim Cook notably didn't mention the nebulous (fictitious?) otherworld once.

This in a landscape where Apple's biggest threat in the arena comes from Meta, with an existing, capable and popular line-up of headsets and a company that changed their name to prove just how metaverse they intended to go.

Instead Apple is side-stepping what has become a quagmire for its biggest proponent. Instead, they're focusing on a suite of very Apple-only uses that will wrap hardcore Apple fans in the Mac/iPhone/iPad world they already live in. Only now, moreso.

And it’s a refreshing break from the often lofty and unrealised ideas promised by Meta. For too long the metaverse undercurrent has read "Look, we don't know what or when this is… But it's going to be amazing. Just trust us, eh?" Instead Apple are trading on a simple parity with their existing, hugely popular devices and the things that millions of users love them for.

OK. Movies, TV, Internet, Photos… That it?

Be under no illusion however. This (3D, real and rendered hybrid) picture is not complete.

Now the real magic happens. What Apple needs now are devs willing to push the boundaries and begin developing the new, killer games and apps that will really bring people to this new platform.

It's the strategy that made the iPhone a success - allowing smart minds around the world create things far beyond Apple's expectations. After the iPhone's rocky (and similarly derided start) this move certainly worked last time and - given the amazing developers we meet and products we see every day - we too are confident that the same lightning can strike twice.

At the moment, it’s far too easy to downplay the Vision Pro as another expensive toy. But as we come closer to launch and find out more about the device, and see what devs can bring to the table, it's likely that rather than the inward-looking use cases seen so far seen, it'll be the amazing new games and apps from mobile and more that will really be what makes Vision Pro worth buying.


Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who only occasionally refers to himself in the third person.