Home Tech I spent an hour on Marvel’s Apple Vision Pro experience. I’m still not sure why

I spent an hour on Marvel’s Apple Vision Pro experience. I’m still not sure why

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 I spent an hour on Marvel's Apple Vision Pro experience. I'm still not sure why

At first glance, Marvel’s new “immersive story” And if…?, available to Apple Vision Pro users starting Thursday, it seems like a win-win. Marvel gets to experiment with combining storytelling and spatial computing, and Apple gets a big-name experience to appease everyone who ponied up $3,500 for their new technology.

But having recently spent about an hour on Vision Pro And if…? universe, I’m actually not sure if it’s a win for anyone outside of the big companies behind it. While initially intriguing and visually complex, the more time you spend within it, the flimsier the experience becomes.

There are wonderful things about the Apple Vision Pro: the transparent screen, for example, or the way it seems to perfectly follow the movements of your eyes. Marvel clearly takes full advantage of those advantages in And if…?, which draws on the popular Disney+ animated series about the multiverse to ask what would happen if you, the awkward person with the big headphones, were unwisely chosen to harness the power of all six Infinity Stones. The story finds you traversing different dimensions, fighting alongside Marvel heroes and against Marvel villains, all while sitting comfortably on your couch.

Not make mistakes, And if…? It is a story. All parties involved are responsible for calling it that. This seems significant given that it certainly isn’t a game, or if it is, it’s one with a ton of exposition and not enough gameplay.

The vast majority of the tasks you have to perform as a user involve hand movements: make a fist with your fingers towards you and you will get a shield similar to that of Doctor Strange. Twist your hand and extend it outward, and suddenly you’ll be able to control objects (literally just infinity stones, for what it’s worth) with telekinesis. You can open portals, alter the fabric of reality, seal away “dangerous beings” and send blasts of energy with your fists. However, all of these tricks are simply based on a series of similar and not very attractive moves, which I forgot on numerous occasions throughout my time in the story. (Thankfully, I had Apple’s publicists there to remind me, although even then it was sometimes hard to know what I was supposed to do.)

This lackluster dive could prove to be a problem. Developed with ILM Immersive, Lucasfilm’s interactive studio formerly known as ILMxLab, the And if…? The experience aims to expand Marvel Studios’ work beyond theaters and Disney+ shows. To, as Walt Disney Studios CTO Jamie Voris says, “understand how to tell bigger stories in these new media.”

It’s hard to imagine, though, considering the Vision Pro’s somewhat anemic reception, how important it is. And if…? could be. Headsets need more experiences and Marvel has been looking to move beyond its live-action offerings, but the Vision Pro’s hefty price tag puts the experience out of reach for many fans. Even if it’s free, which it is, And if…? it may lack the dynamism necessary to attract people.

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