Apple Vision Pro gaming set to get a whole lot better — but can it beat the Meta Quest 3?

Surreal Controllers for AR/VR on Apple Vision Pro
(Image credit: Surreal Interactive)

Apple's Vision Pro headset hasn't quite taken the world by storm. Still, it has proven itself to be one of the more premium and powerful AR/VR headsets on the market — even if its productivity-first approach to spatial computing does lack much of the fun and gamer appeal of similar devices.

In fact, that shortcoming gave Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg all the ammunition he needed when highlighting the difference between Apple's ultra-swanky spatial computer and his company's Quest 3 headset, indicating that the Vision Pro seemed like a headset designed for lonely couch potatoes.

However, the gaming fate of the hand-gesture-only Vision Pro isn't yet sealed, and one company has been hard at work trying to solve the headset's biggest gaming hurdle by bringing a pair of dedicated gaming peripherals to the platform via the Surreal Touch controllers.

Surreal Touch: Bringing the best of Quest to the Apple Vision Pro

The Surreal Touch controllers are a set of more traditional VR/AR input and racking peripherals that closely resemble the offering of the Quest 3's Touch Plus controllers.

Not only that but with a proprietary VisionOS Steam Link-like app called Surreal Link, the creative minds at Surreal Interactive hope to provide Vision Pro users access to SteamVR with up to 4K resolutions and 120Hz refresh rates.

On paper, the Surreal Touch controllers feature some impressive tracking stats from its dual fisheye, omnidirectional sensors, offering positioning accuracy precise to less than 10mm and under one degree — with a 100Hz refresh rate for responsiveness.

Interested to see how these controllers perform on Vison Pro? Surreal Interactive have already been kind enough to showcase exactly that, posting real-time demos of the peripherals being used in popular VR titles like Half-Life: Alyx and Beat Saber on YouTube.

Better still, the new controllers offer effortless porting through the company's own SDK, allowing for non SteamVR titles to make use of the peripherals also.

While there's no guarantee that Surreal Interactive's controllers will mark an important turning point for the Vision Pro and gaming, it does solve one of the platforms most lacking elements — precision controls that aren't based around hand tracking. But even then, is this enough for the Vison Pro to gain on the gaming prowess of the Meta Quest 3?

Like it or not, Quest 3 is still the VR/AR Meta

Despite the impressive potential of Surreal Interactive's controllers, at best this only somewhat evens the playing field with Quest headsets when it comes to engaging in PCVR gaming.

While that's one of the best use cases for either headset, the new Surreal Controllers do little to take advantage of the processing and graphics power housed within the Vision Pro itself. Instead, Surreal Link will mostly have to rely on the computer it is connected to for overall performance and quality.

With that being the case, Meta's $499 Quest 3 headset (which works with PCVR gaming in much the same way) is still the better option, if for no other reason than price alone — even if Apple's $3,499 Vision Pro headset is technically capable of handling higher resolutions and smoother frame rates — more so when you factor in the cost of a machine that would be capable of PCVR performance in 4K resolutions and 120Hz refresh rates.

However, Surreal Interactive's SDK could prove invaluable as taking better advantage of the Vision Pro's powerful hardware, and help VisionOS developers create titles with more gaming-friendly controls that are able to better target those specs.


With that being said, Meta's incredible VR/AR value could potentially be challenged by Apple in the near future, after it was reported that the Vision Pro 2 would take a backseat to a cheaper spatial computing headset.

This cheaper model is likely to use less sophisticated displays and target a much more friendly price bracket similar to a high-end iPhone model. This would place the "cheaper" Vision Pro model of he future closer to Meta's Quest Pro in terms of pricing, but would do little to detract from the main Quest headset's unrivaled affordability.

Surreal Interactive's Vision Pro controllers will be available to preorder in August, 2024.

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Rael Hornby
Content Editor

Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.