A couple days ago Victor Lerp, Unreal Engine XR Product Specialist at Epic Games, posted in a developer community thread mentioning that the company were, “exploring native Unreal Engine support for Apple Vision Pro,” with his full post separated into two bullet-points reading:
- Internally we’re exploring native Unreal Engine support for Apple Vision Pro, but it’s too early for us to share details on the extent of support or timelines.
- We have access to the public SDK’s like everyone else, and there’s nothing fundamentally stopping us, or you, from developing support, or shipping Apple Vision Pro applications with Unreal Engine.
This comes after the recent news that Unity, makers of another game engine and Epic Game’s primary competitor, were getting ready to implement a new payment structure for developers starting January 1st, 2024. A detailed report by Axios explains the egregious fees, outlining that henceforth developers using the software’s free tier would now need to pay Unity $0.20 per installation once their game hit a certain revenue threshold. Though, those paying the steep price of $2,000 for the software’s Pro plan will have to hit higher thresholds and be charged with lower fees; but charged they will be nonetheless.
Unity was a primary collaborator in Apple’s unveiling of the Vision Pro, releasing tools for developers for, as they put it, “creating spatial experiences.” CEO of Unity, John Riccitiello himself came on to morning talk shows to talk excitedly about Apple’s upcoming piece of tech, saying that “the experience [of the Vision Pro] is spectacular.” However, with these recent changes the company has made to its pricing structure, and with Epic Games looking into bringing their engine to developers interested in working with the Vision Pro, it isn’t difficult to see which company could be the better partner for Apple moving forward.
Personally, as a non-developer with very little knowledge of how these software’s actually work, I’d be more interested in seeing what sort of gaming experiences developers could bring to “spatial computing” with the use of Unreal Engine over Unity. This is only because of what I’ve seen done with both engines, and my understanding leads me to believe that though Unity may be better for mobile games and simpler web-applications, Unreal Engine is where more substantial, larger-scale softwares are able to be developed; at least as far as gaming is concerned.
It’s unfortunate—and I can imagine infuriating for developers—for Unity to be changing their pricing to such egregious extents. It would have been interesting to see developers using both engines to create unique experiences for Apple’s upcoming device. Though Unity is still slated to be a primary partner in its development, it seems Epic Games may just have an opportunity here to be the engine that propels gaming on this newfangled (and eye-watering-ly expensive) piece of tech.
This wouldn’t be the first time Epic Games have been at the forefront of gaming on Apple devices, either. Their classic mobile game, Infinity Blade, was often used to showcase the power of early iPhones. The company has since veered off into larger endeavours, but I’d be more than happy to see them return to create an exclusive title for the Apple Vision Pro.