Of the many takeaways from the Apple Vision Pro announcement during WWDC in June, one of the more interesting aspects was input. The company has decided that hand tracking, in combination with eye tracking and Siri voice commands, is the way to go. That left a lot of people wondering about VR controllers for Vision Pro, enabling games and apps to be ported across. According to a new report, the Cupertino-based tech giant has no plans for either a first or third-party-supported physical interface.
As reported by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, during Vision Pro’s development Apple tested finger-worn devices as well as VR controllers from the likes of HTC. None of these were deemed as elegant solutions, whereas hand tracking was. Crucially, Gurman notes that Apple has no plans to make its own physical controllers or support any third-party VR accessories.
No controllers no VR games
Devices like Meta Quest 2 have shown that hand tracking can work effectively in a number of immersive situations, but there are many hindrances when it comes to immersive locomotion. Apple’s hand tracking is undoubtedly sophisticated, especially when used in combination with eye tracking and voice input. However, moving around a virtual space is far easier with a physical controller. No matter if it’s a game, travel app or immersive design software.
This will be of great consequence to any developer with a VR project they hoped to bring to the device. Games like Cubism and The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets have effectively applied hand tracking to their interfaces, yet they require little to no movement. Even those that do, Little Cities for example, only work because of the more sedate style of gameplay.
No VR controllers for Vision Pro effectively mean no VR games, for the most part. The Vision Pro will still support PlayStation 5 and Xbox controllers. So gamers can select titles from the Apple Arcade to play on a virtual screen.
Or quite possibly the issue is moot because of the Apple Vision Pro price. At $3,499 sales figures won’t be massive and may not justify the effort porting titles across. For those that do, Apple Vision Pro Dev Kit applications should open this month.
What do you think? Should Apple Vision Pro support physical VR controllers? Let us know in the comments below.