Vision Pro is nearly here, but Netflix, YouTube and Spotify won’t have their respective apps on the headset’s app storefront. Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters explains why.

Speaking to Stratechery, Peters says Vision Pro is “not really particularly relevant to most [Netflix] members.” Here’s the portion of the statement where Peters explains his reasoning:

“We have to be careful about making sure that we’re not investing in places that are not really yielding a return, and I would say we’ll see where things go with Vision Pro. Certainly we’re always in discussions with Apple to try and figure that out but right now, the device is so subscale that it’s not really particularly relevant to most of our members.”

It’s an odd take on things, since Vision Pro supports iPad apps in compatibility mode by default, requiring developers to opt-out rather than actively opt-in. This is why Apple can boast millions of App Store apps on Visio Pro day one, making it—for the lack of any better explanation—seem like a high-profile snub towards Apple.

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While not confirmed by either company, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggests another explanation: it could be that Apple asked Netflix to make a VisionOS native app after having seen poor performance with the standard iPad app in compatibility mode. Still, as Gurman notes, Netflix has created bespoke versions of its streaming app for equally niche hardware in the past, including Nvidia Shield and Facebook Portal.

For now, there are around 200 native Vision Pro apps; that doesn’t mean there are 200 full-blown XR experiences however, but that those developers have ported their apps to support VisionOS natively. While Vision Pro is largely being pitched as a general computing platform, we’re hoping to see a bigger push from the company to attract the sort of XR apps you’d come to expect on such an immersive device, including both AR and VR stuff. Whatever the case, if the company hopes to launch a cheaper and more consumer-accessible version of the $3,500 headset in the future, it will need more than just video streamers on its side.

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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.
  • Johna

    A good, high resolution app would be relevant on every VR platform, i think.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    not particularly relevant to our members

    Netflix has ~250mn subscribers, Apple sold 60K-80K AVP for launch and can only produce about 450K in 2024. So it is hard to argue that his statement isn’t true, for at least 99,97% of their customers right now, or 99,82% by the end of the year.

    • Dave

      I can see what you are saying, but this proportionality argument doesn’t really give a voice to the 450K AVP owners who are all most probably Netflix subscribers as well. Pretty sad decsion by Netlfix if I’m being honest.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Of course not, but that’s the problem with any niche technology. AAA developers ignoring VR also means that those users aren’t “given a voice”, and they stand for much more than at most 0.18% of all gamers.

        Arguing what companies should spend money on usually descends into them not supporting whatever someone wants seen as irrefutable proof of greed. But one has to at least ask why an industry that just went through a lot of huge layoffs, should take resources that would otherwise be spend to benefit the vast majority of users, and pour them into a very small group that effectively demands privileged treatment.

        Even if all these companies were greedy corporate monsters that only care about their stockholders and CEO compensation, they still operate with limited money and developer resources and have to decide where they are used most effectively. And reality is a lot more complex than bad capitalists denying users their toys because they’re evil.

    • Mi

      100 AVP users x 10 or 20 dollars for an app – one time purchase. I will buy it and all AVP users as well as everyone has netflix if they can afford AVP…

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        So USD 1000/2000 for Netflix to pay some developer to learn to develop for AVP, create/test the app, check compatibility with Netflix systems, train and provide service personnel. Just making the decision to try costs more.

        100 users is nothing. In a mass market business like streaming, 100,000 users is nothing. If Microsoft now releases Office apps for AVP, that’s not because of a few users, instead a strategic entry into what they consider a new platform (XR, not only AVP) with millions of users in the future. So investing millions now will pay off later. The only reason why Netflix would support AVP now is a strategic investment. Not for 100 users, even if they payed USD 1000 each, esp. since Netflix would look bad with Apple TV providing higher resolutions and 3D content.

        People don’t realize how little money they are paying. Meta so far made about USD 900mn from their 30% on Quest Store, which has to cover all costs, promotions etc. USD 900mn is less than 2% of what they invested. All of the software ever sold on Quest had a negligible impact, so users offering to pay more for AAA titles completely misses the financial realities.

  • ApocalypseShadow

    Ridiculous. Other streaming services are there day one to try to get the jump on others that would get them money and a bigger base. But the grand daddy of streaming isn’t interested in potentially 100 thousand plus more customers with potentially more revenue.

    It’s not like their app is complicated. They should be more than capable in having an app available. I hope the other companies embarrass them with Vision Pro revenue just to see them backpedal.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    The interview by Stratechery with Greg Peters the snippet is taken from is rather long, going into a lot of strategic decisions, so this isn’t simply an act of personal revenge.

    Stratechery: I do have to ask though, if that’s part of your ethos, you’re on all kinds of random stuff, everywhere — there’s always a Netflix button or a Netflix app — but no Netflix app on the Vision Pro at launch.

    Greg Peters: (Laughing) You got to a good one really quick there already. Not by any unwillingness or lack of desire to do that, but even when you note we look at as close to ubiquity on devices perspective, the decisions that lead to that are we try and be very rigorous about, “What’s the effort to integrate on any given set of devices and what’s the benefit for the members that we serve?”. We have to be careful about making sure that we’re not investing in places that are not really yielding a return, and I would say we’ll see where things go with Vision Pro. Certainly we’re always in discussions with Apple to try and figure that out but right now, the device is so subscale that it’s not really particularly relevant to most of our members.

    Stratechery: And I imagine there are ways that Apple could change the big picture strategic calculus for Netflix.

    Greg Peters: Always. And that’s something that’s been — we’ve worked together for a long time, we’ve always had active discussions to how we could help each other out. Sometimes we find a great space of overlap. We can move very, very quickly. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer.

    • xyzs

      Activating the Vision Pro compatibility from the iPad app was costing zero effort, or at worst, half a day small check for a release engineer.
      That’s definitely a chosen move.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Keeping the default iPad compatibility would take zero effort, aside from the decision process, which probably cost Netflix a five figure sum just in salaries. Disabling it meant removing a checkmark, no update required, nor a lot of developer time. Developers aren’t the only cost though, they also have to pay for support, e.g. by training help desk people to deal with AVP issues.

        AVP can run most iPad apps, but we don’t know yet how well that actually works. Eye tracking plus pinch emulates a single finger tap/drag. It is not clear how apps using rich interactions like multiple quick taps, pinch to zoom, dragging with multiple fingers or from the edge will do. You’ll definitely lose at least comfort when using an interface optimized for touch with AVP, sometimes also functionality. Try using your phone with a mouse: it mostly works, but it’s not a smooth experience.

        A company may chose to disable its iPad app on AVP for a number of reasons, and users can still watch Netflix movies on AVP in a browser with an interface optimized for mouse with all functions. I don’t know if this is what drove the decision, but there are more possible causes than just ill will/revenge.

  • Mi

    Just make a paid Netflix app for Apple Visio Pro users… they have money and ALL have Netflix. Can someone tell them his? One time purchase and later updates? Everyone will buy it for 10 backs or so… Cmon guys, profit from it, but don’t leave it!