Owlchemy Labs, the Google-owned VR studio, announced it’s bringing the chart-topping VR games Job Simulator (2016) and its sequel Vacation Simulator (2019) to Apple Vision Pro.

The studio’s seminal ‘Simulator’ franchise has had its fair share of success over the years, with both garnering over a million downloads across all major VR headsets. As testament to its staying power, the studio’s successful job place parody Job Simulator regularly shows up in the top most popular VR game charts since its launch on the original HTC Vive in 2016, with both titles making for great beginner VR experiences since they largely focus on family-friendly, room-scale fun that anyone can easily pick up.

Owlchemy Labs says both games—Job Simulator priced at $20 and Vacation Simulator at $30—will include their respective free content updates when they launch on Vision Pro, which are slated to arrive “soon,” the studio says.

Both games were originally designed around VR motion controllers, which the $3,500 Vision Pro notably lacks, which has put many developers in a pickle as they either seek to adapt their existing VR titles to Apple’s controllerless XR platform, or create a new IP entirely.

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That said, it’s safe to assume the studio has adapted both titles to use the headset’s hand-tracking capabilities, which will not only be interesting to see since they’re such object-oriented experiences, but also to watch whether other VR studios follow suit to cater to the new platform that deemphasizes immersive gaming in favor of casual content consumption and productivity apps.

Founded in 2010, and later acquired by Google in 2017, Owlchemy is also known for the Emmy-nominated title Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality (2017), and its latest VR game Cosmonious High (2022). We’re still waiting to see what the studio has in store from its GDC 2022 teaser, which promised to be it’s first-ever VR game built from the ground-up for hand-tracking, and first to feature multiplayer. Whatever the case, it’s clear the studio is continuing its mission to release its most popular VR games on every headset possible.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Christian Schildwaechter

    Quoting myself from almost a year ago:

    At Gamescom 2022 Owlchemy Labs of Job Simulator/Vacation Simulator/Virtual Rick-ality fame showed a teaser for an unnamed, hand-tracking only multiplayer game. Commenting on the input technology their CEO said

    “Hand tracking has provided an unprecedented level of communication between players. Bundle this new technology with players experiencing our quirky worlds with friends and you have all the ingredients for a magical VR experience.”

    The COO added

    “The first time we saw and used our own hands in VR we realized this is the future of the platform. Hand tracking lowers the barrier of entry into VR, making games more accessible and intuitive to more people. Playing games is much more fun when you’re using your actual body as the controller. Ever since we launched Job Simulator, VR players have been requesting a multiplayer game from Owlchemy. Our next project lets friends enjoy the classic Owlchemy experience together, with hand tracking opening the door to a whole new world of VR interactions.”

    Now of course this doesn’t mention Apple anywhere since the Apple HMD is still unannounced, and the headsets shown in the teaser are all Quest 2. But the teaser, which doesn’t show any in-game gameplay at all, has a very Apple vibe, with three women talking to each other in VR while sitting in different real world locations: at a table eating from a bowl, on a sofa stirring virtual tea in mid-air, and outside on a beach, chilling on a lounge chair. They discuss an object they just found in VR, then the woman on the sofa puts down her virtual tea, pokes the invisible object, lifts it with two fingers and finally grabs it with both hands and leads it to her mouth to eat it, while the other two yell that she shouldn’t, indicating they could see her (avatar) open her mouth.

    That’s pretty much the whole teaser. Not only does this play well with Apple’s critique that VR is mostly an isolated experience by emphasizing the collective exploration, a lot of that is also technically impossible with a Quest. The most trivial being using a Quest outside during a bright day, which will cause the tracking to fail due to all the environmental IR light, while Apple’s iPhone depth sensors work just fine there. Sitting at a table with a bowl full of food in front of you would also be a very bad scenario for pure VR, meaning this requires at least decent passthrough to avoid accidents while gesturing and interacting with the virtual world, matching Apple targeting AR. But also all the delicate hand movements simply not recognized on Quest 2, and tracking hands very close to the face, out of sight for the Quest 2 cameras. And of course there is the fact that any mayor game developer creating a hand-tracking only title for Quest 2 with the improving, but still very lacking hand-tracking there, would pretty much have to be insane from a commercial point of view.

    [roadtovr_com/report-apple-xr-headset-release-date-wwdc/#comment-6136881206]

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    Owlcademy ported Vacation Sim to hand tracking a while back, and I’d be surprised if Job Simulator didn’t work easily since it’s such a dead simple game of grabbing things.

  • I told you this news a few weeks ago! There was a leak in the Unity forums… :P

  • Kenny

    The Tetris of VR find’s its way to another platform.

    • ViRGiN

      Imagine owning rights to Job Simulator that you did nearly a decade ago. It’s infinite money glitch for many of these early titles, incl Super Hot.