Apple Reportedly Acquiring Game Dev Talent in its Latest Push to Prepare for AR/VR Headset Launch

Apple is reported to have acquired two co-founders of mobile games developer Playdeo. The UK-based studio has a background in working in the mixed reality space, something that proves attractive as Apple is long-rumoured to be preparing to launch its own headset early next year.

As reported by MobileGamer.Biz, Jack Schulze and Timo Arnall have left the company they both founded in order to work under the banner of Apple. While the project(s) Schulze and Arnall are now tasked with is yet to be determined, it’s likely that they are continuing work within mixed reality.

Playdeo self-describes the work it does to make “Mixed Reality production easy.” The studio’s most notable project is Avo, an iOS game. Avo sees players assume the role of an avocado brought to life. Players navigate the character through real-world environments by drawing lines for it to follow. Avo launched in 2019 and has since received quite a number of positive reviews. Below is a behind-the-scenes video based on the creation of the game.

Since working on Avo, Playdeo has wound down quite a bit. However, despite Schulze and Arnall leaving the company, it’s said Playdeo will remain in operation. The studio’s third co-founder, Nick Ludlam, is said to still be with the company and has not joined Apple. This isn’t the first time Playdeo personnel have left the studio to work with Apple. In 2019,  Apple hired Avo’s design lead Jonathan Topf.

The big assumption is this is Apple securing talent within the AR/VR division in order to prepare to launch its own mixed-reality headset. With a premium device rumoured to be on the horizon, Apple will require software to help expand that ecosystem for consumers.

According to previous reports, the mixed reality headset will feature two 4K micro OLED displays, 3D sensing modules, a mid-to-low camera, eye tracking, and hand gesture controls. It’s also expected that the headset will support a similar processor to the M1. Apple is also expected to position the headset as a premium device, with a rumoured price tag of nearly $3,000 USD (roughly $3,899 CAD).

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple is on track to reveal the headset sometime in early 2023. Given that Apple’s M2 MacBook Pros are now to launch in spring 2023, Apple’s headset may be the next big-scaled product launch to come.