The creator of one of the most popular VR games thinks Apple Vision Pro is important for VR gaming — and EU release date rumors suggest it could go worldwide sooner than you think

Pips and Pixels VR Vacation sim
(Image credit: 8BitDo)
Pips and Pixels

Pips and Pixels Boxout

(Image credit: Future)

Pips and Pixels is a new column from James Bentley, iMore's resident gaming expert, discussing all things gaming in the Apple ecosystem. Pips and Pixels explores the latest news, accessories, and titles you might have missed out on, and brings you commentary from the leading developers in the app market. As recent advancements in the Apple Silicon M processors and the brand new A17 Bionic chip show, Apple is becoming more serious about gaming. James looks to the rest of the games industry to see what could be next for Apple gamers.

The CEO behind the team who made one of the most popular VR games of all time has recently come forward in an interview, talking about Apple Vision Pro. In the interview, they said the Apple Vision Pro could be responsible for pushing AR, MR, and VR headsets even more into the mainstream than ever before. 

With recent rumors suggesting a worldwide launch soon, Apple Vision Pro’s leap into the international market could nearly be upon us. This week, in fact, we saw Apple Vision Pro selling for huge prices in a Turkish airport, but it’s probably worth waiting for the official launch. 

Also, with the launch of the new generation of iPads, a recent report suggests the iPad Pro M4 is a gaming powerhouse, capable of running some games better than both the best iPhone right now and the previous iPad Pro M2. This next year looks like it could be an interesting one for Apple gamers.

Read on for the rundown.

This week's Apple gaming news

1. Apple Vision Pro is 'one of the biggest steps towards mainstream adoption' of VR headsets, high-profile game developer says

Andrew Eiche, The CEO of Owlchemy Labs, known for popular games like Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator, recently spoke to In the interview, he spoke about Apple Vision Pro and what it means for the wider gaming industry. He says he sees it “as one of the biggest steps towards mainstream adoption,” claiming it is “one of the lowest friction devices” out there right now. It doesn’t require setting up your room, and can be simply placed on your head, ready to go. He praises how seamless the experience is and says “I think it represents the biggest step towards changing VR from a specific use case to a general computing use case.” 

Meta Quest 3, perhaps the biggest VR headset right now, has some impressive passthrough features for using it in a non-gaming capacity but it’s not quite comfortable or useful enough to use it during a full office day. Apple Vision Pro is a do-everything headset and other market leaders adopting this style could further push VR gaming in the future. Part of the reason the best iPhone games do so well is that you can own an iPhone and enjoy its games without being a gamer. The Apple Vision Pro could help make VR even more mainstream because the gaming component is only part of the reason why someone might buy it.

However, it’s important to note that Eich does not see the Apple Vision Pro itself as a mainstream platform. Though he doesn’t get into the specifics, this is presumably because of the pretty huge price point of $3,499, and its very limited market so far. However, one of these points of friction is set to change very soon.

8BitDo SN30 Pro Apple Vision Pro Gaming

(Image credit: Future)

2. Apple leak reveals where Vision Pro will launch next, and it’s good news for the UK & Canada

After previously reporting that China, Japan, Korea, Australia, France, and Germany will be in the first wave of Apple Vision Pro sales outside of the U.S., Mark Gurman has followed up by saying Canada, the UK, and Singapore will join them. We don’t yet have an official release date but we are hoping to learn more about it at WWDC 2024 on June 10. 

Even if you aren’t interested in Apple Vision Pro, getting the headset to a wider market will further encourage developers to work on software for the headset. I don’t think I’ll ever put down the frankly astronomical fee to get this headset but I’ll be following its development closely, tallying all the best spatial games for when the second-generation headset launches. 

3. The M4 iPad Pro is a gaming beast, playing Genshin Impact faster and at a higher resolution than the M2 and A17 Pro

Genshin Impact is one of the best free iPhone games right now, looking gorgeous and playing fantastically on my iPhone 15 Pro Max. However, a recent test shows the M4 chip in the new iPad Pro 2024 is a bigger improvement than some might think, as it outpaces both the Pro Max and the last iPad Pro from 2022. It manages an average of 113.6 FPS on Genshin Impact, running at a higher resolution than the Pro Max, which achieves 59.2 FPS. The M2 iPad Pro faired better at a respectable 90fps. 

Not only does the new iPad perform better but it looks crisper and more vibrant thanks to that excellent OLED screen. It seems the latest iPads are set to be genuinely powerful gaming machines. The best iPad games are sure to look mighty on it.

Gaming news from our friends

After 12 years, Stardew Valley creator still thinks he could "keep working on the game forever," but "at some point you have to move on” from GamesRadar

Stardew Valley, one of the best Apple Arcade games, has been popular for over a decade now. It’s a farming sim, where you take over a plot of land from your grandfather, which along with the town and environment around it, you have to restore. In a conversation with PC Gamer, the one-man developer of Stardew Valley, Eric Barone, said he could keep working on the game but has realized he needs to finally move on from it. 

You might be wondering what is next for Barone. The answer is Haunted Chocolatier, a game where you play as a chocolate creator. It has a similar pixel art style and looks just as engaging. After working on Stardew Valley for a significant portion of his life, he is almost ready for his next major step. Haunted Chocolatier does not yet have a release date and is still early in development. 

Sony CEO says although AI “has been used for creation” it’s “not a substitute for human creativity” from GamesRadar

Even if you don’t particularly care about how Sony operates, it’s impossible to ignore how much it affects the wider gaming industry, This week, Kenichiro Yoshida, its chairman and president spoke about game creation in a strategy meeting. Here, he says "AI can also be considered for computing technology. AI is not a substitute for human creativity. We position it as a technology that supports creativity. Creativity resides in people. We will continue to contribute to people's creativity through technology,"

It is not clear right now to what extent AI is being used in the creation of games but centering the conversation around the creatives behind it is a good one for a company that is founded on the back of that same creativity. This is, in contrast, much more reserved than the statements from Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, who stated “I expect a lot from gen AI in our games” earlier this month. The video shown alongside Guillemot’s statement was particularly eerie but the quality isn’t the main problem many creatives have with generative AI in games. Some worry that it will take away the need for humans in their own art, making the people who make games feel left out of their own creations. 

Calendar: May's Big Game Releases

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)
  • Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 has finally launched and, though some reviews are middling, GamesRadar gave it 5 stars in its glowing review, calling it Haunting, confrontational, and deeply cathartic all at once. I can't wait to give this one a go myself. You can't play this natively on Mac but you can stream it to iPhone via Xbox Game Pass. 
  • Multiversus is finally launching this month, after its beta went down in June of 2023. I played it back then and thought it was a fun Super Smash Bros.-like fighter. It's free and takes after the live service model of Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone with a battle pass to earn cosmetics. This is currently not available on Mac but we're hoping a port is in the works.
Swipe to scroll horizontally
GamesRelease DatePlatformsPlayable on Apple?
Abiotic FactorMay 2PCNot Natively
IndikaMay 2PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PCNot Natively
Hades 2May 6PCNot Natively
V RisingMay 8PlayStation 5, PCNot Natively
Imagine EarthMay 9Mac PortYes
Animal WellMay 9PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PCNot Natively
Crow CountryMay 9PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PCNot Natively
Little Kitty Big CityMay 9Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PCNot Natively
Athenian RhapsodyMay 14PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PCNot Natively
Dread DelusionMay 14PCNot Natively
Lorelei and the Laser EyesMay 16PC, Nintendo SwitchNot Natively
Caves of LoreMay 16Mac portYes
Read Only Memories: NeurodiverMay 16PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PCYes
Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2May 21Xbox Series X, PCNot Natively
MultiversusMay 28PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PCNot Natively

Level Up — Gaming accessories on our radar

This section is normally about the accessories that make your Apple gaming experience better, but I saw a reason for an exception this week as the M2 Mac Mini from 2023 is $100 off on Amazon. Capable of playing all the best Mac Games, this is one of the best ways to get into desktop-style Mac gaming. 

2023 Mac Mini | $599$499 at Amazon

2023 Mac Mini | $599 $499 at Amazon

With the still very impressive M2 chip, 256GB of SSD storage, and 8GB of unified memory, this is a great entry-level into Apple Silicon, and a particularly good choice for anyone who already has a monitor, mouse, and keyboard. As far as games are concerned, it can run some excellent experiences like Disco Elysium, Baldur’s Gate, Resident Evil Village, and Lies of P. 

Hitting the Arcade — What to play on Apple Arcade

Pips and Pixels Hitting the Arcade

(Image credit: Future)

Apple Arcade is filled with tons of exclusive experiences and fantastic games. However, with so many out there, it can be hard to decide what to play. Here are a few choices I've been testing out this week:

The Battle of Polytopia+ is a Civilization-like strategy game that feels perfect for Apple Arcade. Starting with one of a few tribes, you have to build towns, discover new areas on a broad map shared by other players, and continue without being killed by your enemies. 

Limbo from developer PlayDead is one of the defining puzzle horror games of the ‘00s and discovering you could play Limbo+ on Apple Arcade not only gave me a hit of nostalgia but made my night. Creepy, atmospheric, and incredibly dark, Limbo+ puts you in the tiny shoes of a small boy lost in a gruesome world looking for his sister. I’d advise playing this on iPad or iPhone as I had some issues on Mac.

Have you played any great games this week or seen some interesting Apple gaming news we've missed? Let us know in the comments!

James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.