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September 24, 2023


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Apple WWDC 2023: What Bog Iger and Hideo Kojima’s appearances at WWDC says about Apple’s future plans

4 min read

The 2023 edition of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) had two key appearances — one from legendary game maker Hideo Kojima, and the other from Disney CEO Bob Iger. While Kojima said he’s looking to bring his games to Apple’s devices, Iger said Disney Plus will be available on Apple’s new Vision Pro headset from the day of launch.

Together, Kojima and Iger seem to be signaling the future of computing as Apple sees it — one that’s driven by powerful but pint-sized chips, and headsets on our faces. But also one where these chips and headsets are only enablers for Apple to make money from everything you can do on them.

Let’s face it, celebrities at Apple events aren’t really a new thing. But Iger and Kojima’s appearances are all about the time and place.

 Legendary game maker Hideo Kojima

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Legendary game maker Hideo Kojima

In the last couple of years, Apple has made two big changes to its products. The first, of course, are the ‘M’ chips that run its Macbooks, iPads and Macs today, and the second is the Vision Pro headset that the company announced at WWDC 2023 on June 5.

Between the two of them, Kojima and Iger represent the two industries that are best poised to take advantage of this, and also the two industries from which Apple hopes to rake in the big bucks from.

Apple’s shift to focus on services over products has been quite apparent since 2019. The company routinely markets its AppleTV streaming service, and it even has a bundled subscription service for users that offers them access to all its services — AppleTV, Music, iCloud and even an Apple-only virtual private network (VPN) of sorts.

Moreover, at WWDC 2023, Apple announced a new dedicated ‘game mode’ for Macs, which will ensure games get more resources from the processor when required.

While Apple devices have always been powerful, gaming is that one arena where Apple has failed over and over again. Despite Macbooks and Macs being powerful enough to render the more graphically extensive movies, game makers have always stuck to Microsoft’s Windows or Xbox and Sony’s Playstation.

Kojima, who designed and wrote the Metal Gear series of games — considered the foundation for all stealth games that followed — is well regarded within the gaming industry. Death Stranding, the director’s cut of which is coming to MacOS, was the first game that Kojima created after leaving Konami, where he developed the Metal Gear series.

Apple needs the Kojimas of the world right now. Because the Vision Pro needs games, as does every mixed, augmented or virtual reality headset. Even if the powerful network effects of Xbox and PlayStation keep gamers glued to those platforms, Apple has a second (more like fifth) shot at gaming with the Vision Pro.

To be sure, Kojima said nothing about the Vision Pro in his presentation at WWDC, but Apple’s headset is starting off with 100 games from its Apple Arcade gaming service. Are we really supposed to believe Kojima’s next productions are going to be for Macs alone?

Yes, Kojima only teased a ‘VR experience’ instead of a game on Twitter back in September 2022, but given that Apple’s headset seems to mostly put floating screens in your room, is it so hard to add a controller in your hand to play games on said floating screens?

On the other hand, Iger’s appearance is simpler to decipher. Apple emphasized on how the Vision Pro helps watch movies in a new ‘immersive’ manner multiple times during the product’s reveal, and Iger’s the one to supply those movies, with titles like Avengers in his bag.

It doesn’t end there though. A partnership with a company as big as Disney is exactly the kind of thing that Meta hasn’t been able to get, despite being more than a year ahead of Apple in the mixed and virtual reality (metaverse, if you will) game.

Iger showed an episode of What If, where the viewer seems to wear a magical bracelet that gives them some sort of power within the show. Another demo seemed to put the viewer on an alien planet (likely Tatooine) as they watched an episode of a Star Wars spin-off. According to Iger, a headset of this kind will allow Disney to provide “deeply personal experiences” that weren’t possible earlier.

Iger and Kojima represent two of the largest industries in the world — movies and video games. Apple’s Services revenue hit $20.9 billion in the quarter ended April 2023, slightly higher than the $20.8 billion in the quarter before. Kojima and Iger’s appearances are a sign that despite the new chips and headsets, Apple’s focus firmly remains on earning from these services in future.

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Updated: 06 Jun 2023, 07:00 AM IST

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