Demeo is one of the first “immersive” games announced for Apple Vision Pro

Is this the new face of the tabletop RPG player? <em>Demeo</em> maker Resolution Games thinks it might be.
Enlarge / Is this the new face of the tabletop RPG player? Demeo maker Resolution Games thinks it might be.

Resolution Games today announced that a version of Demeo—the developer’s popular virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) tabletop RPG simulator—is in “active development” for the Apple Vision Pro headset. The title is among the first VR/MR games to be officially confirmed for Apple’s highly anticipated $3,500 wearable computing device, which is expected early next year.

After Demeo‘s launch in 2021, Resolution Games added a Mixed Reality update late last year that places in-game objects on top of a view of the real world (via passthrough cameras on compatible headsets like Meta’s Quest 2 and Quest Pro and the upcoming Quest 3). A “Mixed Reality 2.0” update for the game, launching today, adds support for controller-free hand-tracking as well as “co-location” of mixed reality items, which can now appear in the same place for multiple users in the same physical room.

Those kinds of MR features will be useful on the Apple Vision Pro, which doesn’t use handheld controllers and is primarily focused on MR apps that can be layered over a view of the real world. But Resolution Games says Vision Pro will also support a “fully virtual” version of the game that doesn’t integrate passthrough images.

“It’s the interaction between the real and the virtual that truly makes MR magical, and few real-world things are quite as interactive as the human hand,” Resolution Games cofounder and President Paul Brady said in a statement. “Advances in hand-tracking have made a controller-free future not only possible but incredibly appealing. We’re quickly entering into an era where your body is a far more effective controller than a handheld piece of plastic could ever be.”

A trailer showing off features of Demeo‘s “Mixed Reality 2.0″ update,” which is also coming to Meta Quest headsets.

Resolution hasn’t said whether it expects this port to be ready in time for the launch of Vision Pro hardware, which Apple says is expected “early next year.”

“This is something that we’ve been hearing plenty of demand for, so we thought it was finally time to spill the beans,” a Resolution Games spokesperson told Ars Technica. “Given the speculation around [Vision Pro’s] potential as a gaming device, I thought you’d be keen to know that one of the more experienced mixed reality gamemakers is now officially in the mix.”

Where are the other games?

Apple’s initial June announcement of Vision Pro included a brief mention that over 100 Apple Arcade titles will be playable on the headset via a traditional handheld controller and a virtual 2D screen. But examples of VR and MR games were almost completely absent from that splashy announcement event and the hands-on demo that accompanied it.

The closest Apple came to such a mention was the inclusion of social playspace Rec Room in a list of “Apps and Games We Love” on an in-demo menu. That “fully immersive experience” (Apple’s term for “traditional” VR apps without passthrough) was later confirmed to be coming to Vision Pro during a video tutorial highlighting how to port existing Unity VR apps to the Vision Pro. And in July, Unity officially rolled out visionOS support for its engine in a closed beta, making it easier for developers to port existing apps (such as the Unity-made Demeo) to Apple’s upcoming hardware.

VR social playspace <em>Rec Room</em> is also coming to the Apple Vision Pro.
Enlarge / VR social playspace Rec Room is also coming to the Apple Vision Pro.

Despite that kind of engine support, though, we have yet to see any other VR or MR game makers announcing plans to bring new or existing titles to the Vision Pro platform. Maybe those announcements will become more common as we get closer to next year’s expected Vision Pro hardware launch. Maybe those developers are simply waiting to see if the Vision Pro platform provides anything more than a niche market for traditional VR apps. Or maybe the VR development community is simply following Apple’s lead and accepting that the headset is not really designed with “traditional” VR experiences in mind.

Whatever the case, Resolution Games says it has big plans for mixed reality gaming going forward. The company said in a statement that fully half of its employee workload is currently focused on MR titles “across a number of devices for 2024 and beyond, including several with dedicated controller-free play.” Whether or not some of those experiences will also come to the Apple Vision Pro probably depends in large part on whether Demeo can find success on Apple’s new platform.

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