Apple Vision Pro Owner INTERVIEW: “Definitely Wouldn’t Recommend for Gamers” says PGM Member Mike DG

By Todd Russell Feb8,2024

Had the chance to interview PGM Member Mike DG on 2/5/2024 about his new owner experience with the Apple Vision Pro (see: February 2 Apple Vision Pro – The Day Spacial Computing Breaks VR Gamer Wallets).

The interview was conducted in our group Discord and included below, pretty much unedited and verbatim. With a small exception of moving some of Mike’s replies to related questions, because sometimes in a text discussion comments about things can bounce around out of logical order and it reads better to have those replies in the answer to a question that was intended during the interview. Mike’s words were not changed.

Before getting to the interview on this shiny new piece of tech, which is very substantive and revealing IMO, it’s worth restating that people that have bought something with their own money are often excellen, reliable sources of information. People that bought the product or service with their own hard-earned money (see: Are Review Copy Gaming Experiences Less Trustworthy Than Owner’s Experiences?). Mike DG bought both the Apple Vision Pro and Atgames Legends Pinball 4K.

Why did you buy the Apple Vision Pro? Did the cost concern you in anyway? Why/why not? What was your desired purpose for this? Gaming? Desktop? Business?

Mike DG: I buy a lot of new tech. I’m the classic early adopter for many things. I was there day 1 for Android phones, Web OS, all the game consoles in the last 2 decades. I bought and wore Google Glass for a year straight. Realy only ever stopping because battery life got terrible, then support got terrible. I bought Snapchat Spectacles, I got NReal “AR” glasses, I got a 27 gallon bin full of VR headsets.

The AVP seemed like a natural extension of all that. Hey, why not be the first and experiment and maybe guide the product direction forward.

Cost was a big concern. I wasn’t really committed to buying it until a few weeks ago. I did start using an iPhone as my day to day phone for the first time last year, thinking I’d really need to get used to iOS if I got a Vision Pro. So I was considering it since they announced it but probably still leaning towards no for a while. After almost 15 years of Android phones, I’m actually really enjoying the latest generation of the iPhone and that enjoyment was part of what pushed me over to more heavily consider paying that ridiculous cost.

The other half of the justification was, Google Glass was $1500 and a lot less capable. I bought that, developed some very interesting and popular things, so it probably paid for itself in terms of bonuses, jobs, and press. Maybe the same will happen with AVP?

Gaming is definitely low on the list, unless you count using it as a display for streaming games. Not having motion tracked controllers is a killer for gaming. Even on the Quest, I feel like the hand tracked games are mostly terrible. So far my time has been split between streaming Xbox games to it, playing a few apple arcade games with an xbox controller, doing some software development for it, and watching media. 3d movies are amazing. Avatar 2 on Disney + supports 3d AND High framerate.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t play too well with non apple keyboards/mice so the business side will probably wait until they release a usb c magic keyboard/trackpad(edited)

I’ll jump in the movie talk. This feels like by far the best display I’ve ever owned. The colors are great, black levels are great.

The other AR/VR headsets have always kind of been a novelty for movie watching, the colors are usually terrible and the res is usually way less than you’d want.

And the 3d movie support is amazing. I got rid of one of my 3d tv’s, and my projector, a few years ago and have always been upset. I just need to figure out how to play 3d blu rays on this now.

So, you really want to sit and watch movies through the Apple Vision Pro vs. watching on a 70″ (or however big your 4K TV is) instead? You want to have strapped on headset to sit through a movie? How big equivalent is the Vision Pro screen floating out there? What about motion sickness? Any issues there, yet? Several are complaining about motion sickness?

Maybe 120+ screen, it’s hard to say they let you make different sizes depending on how far. like 2 ft in front seems like maybe 60″, 8 ft maybe 120″? kind of wild guesses though. it changes size as you push and pull the window away and then does have limits on how big you can scratch it. but it’s basically a little less wide then your full fov.

One nice thing about this, you can lay in bed and look up and throw the movie on the ceiling.

Having the headset on for a movie doesn’t bother me.

Yesterday, I was watching ant man in 3d while on a treadmill.

I haven’t really seen anything that would cause motion sickness, maybe if you goto an imax screen and get sick in real life, this might be a bad idea for you. but overall it’s far tamer than any VR headset out there.

I’ll probably be using this for almost anything i watch where im the only person watching.

It’s definitely not the most comfortable headset by far. i’m sure someone out there has the perfect face for it, but the lenses often sit on my nose and the nose support is just sheer material, so it’s basically no support.

Just ate some soup and tortillas with it on. It’s so nice to be able to do stuff without getting your tablet or phone dirty while eating. Terrible habit of course.

What about the weak battery life and no hot swapping? What is the workaround for that(?)

Battery life really is terrible though.

No hotswap. It’s hard to tell since I don’t use it straight through without plugging in. But it’s always got less left than I expected. I just got a 20% warning and swear I was only unplugged for like a half hour.

I find most of my usage has been tethered to a charger in my office or bed.

I screwed up my neck earlier this week trying to do shit with my 4kp alone [Ed. Atgames Legends Pinball 4K – ALP4K- Mike, also bought this recently]. The Vision Pro has made that so much worse. Think I might need a few day break.

Really? How tall are you? Uncomfortable posture over the ALP4K?

6 ft. I had it in an awkward position while I was trying to plug in the wires

What is your most and least favorite single feature (or lack thereof) of the Apple Vision Pro?

Least favorite is the lack of tracked controllers. I’d love more conventional be styled games. Hand tracking sucks here for games, it sucks on the quest for games. It’s just not good game input no matter how good the hand tracking itself is. Battery life sucks. I can probably deal with it. But I don’t think the average person would handle it well.

Favorite is probably the movies or just having a bunch of general purpose iOS apps all over the place.

Favorite completely meaningless thing is the hand occlusion. It’s almost mind-blowingly good if you stick your arm in front of your view and cover the screen or reach out and try to touch a dinosaur.

How does being unable to read your phone screen through the goggles impact you? Seems like taking off to answer phone destroys the immersion?

I think you can answer the phone through the headset if you have an iPhone. Like how you can do it in a Mac too. Not 100% sure on that. I do so few phone calls.

If the headset is set up correctly your phone is readable. It’s not pleasant but it’s readable.

Initially mine was a totally blurry mess I have to refit it and realign the lenses to make my phone readable.

How long does that process take?

It look a few minutes to realign the lens and rerun eye tracking calibration. I think you can realign the lenses without calibrating and that does like a few seconds.

As you setup the device more and more you’ll need to use your phone while wearing it less and less. For example, I got discord on it now. I got my password manager and 2 factor authentication on it.

How often do you still use the Quest or other VR device? Do you anticipate you will still use the Apple Vision Pro as much as prior VR devices, significantly more or about the same?

I haven’t used the quest much lately. My house is a mess and the quest really benefits from having a good amount of space. Vision Pro at least for now is tailored to keeping you mostly in one spot.

I do use the quest a lot on the summer. And anticipate I’ll still be using it then. They really do feel like two largely different devices.

Very disappointing to hear that from a gaming perspective this device seems less geared … so it’s more of a productivity and non-gaming entertainment device in your eyes? At least until they work out the hand tracking mentioned? We are a gaming publication here, focused on gaming, so this doesn’t seem like something you’d recommend for gamers yes/no?

Definitely wouldn’t recommend for gamers. Maybe next gen? I’ll be using it for a lot of game streaming. But it’s definitely not worth buying just for that.

For $3500, I would want to see this device used 3500 hours which if used 20 hours a week would take roughly 170 weeks. … or like 3 1/2 years. How much/long will you want to use this for before you feel like the purchase is worth it?

At this price it’s never going to be worth it. By the time you hit the usage of. $3500 piece of tech there’s probably gonna be a new version. I’m pretty sure this cost more than any piece of tech I own. Even my fridge wasn’t this expensive. My most expensive tv was 2k 20 years ago.

It’s like is spending 3500$ to goto Disney world really ever worth it. Probably not. But it’s still fun and enjoyable.

Well, those are family memories, not quite the same metric for a vacation with family/friends. Tech toys/games .. different metric at least for me.

Yeah, I kind of have a weird metric. Just some intangible enjoyment metric.

It’s fair if this is all you can verbalize on it.

If we got through three years and I was still using it I’d say it’s a huge win. If they haven’t released a new version then it would make me feel even better.

When I bought the first iPad Pro. I was so happy that they didn’t keep the yearly upgrade cycle for it

Is there anything about the Apple Vision Pro you think is important that we haven’t discussed that someone interested reading might want to or shoul know about?

It’s much less easy to share than an iPad Single account just like iPads. Except every time you swap you gotta rerun eye calibration. No way to save guests. So I doubt I’ll ever let anyone else in the family use it outside of the initial week or so. It’s just ok much of a pain.

Another neat feature that isn’t talked about much is that if you have a Mac with a trackpad and you mirror the display to your Vision Pro, you can look at your apps and use the trackpad and keyboard to interact with them.

Thank you for your time and great information, Mike!

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