The co-CEO of Netflix gave his reasoning for why it isn't supporting Apple Vision Pro at launch.
Netflix confirmed last week to Bloomberg that it didn't make a visionOS app and that its iPad app won't be available on visionOS either. Instead, Netflix recommends Vision Pro owners access it via the web browser. Apple previously announced that iPad & iPhone apps are available on the visionOS App Store "by default" and developers have to intentionally opt-out if they don't want theirs to be.
Netflix does have a VR app on Meta Quest, with a cosy cabin environment, but it's capped at 480p and hasn't been updated in years. It was developed partially by John Carmack in 2015 for the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR.
In an interview with Stratechery, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters was asked about the reason for snubbing Vision Pro at launch. Here's what he said:
"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."
Peters' answer seems sufficient to explain why the company didn't make a visionOS app, but he doesn't address why it's specifically opting out of making its iPad app available.
Netflix and YouTube are the only major video streaming platforms not supporting Apple Vision Pro, while competitions like Disney+, Max (formerly HBO Max), Amazon Prime Video, Discovery+, Paramount+, and Peacock will have apps available at launch.
Some tech industry analysts have speculated that the "real" reason could be an unwillingness to support Apple after years of fierce debate on the iOS & iPadOS platform fees, which demand a 30% cut of subscriptions for the first year and then 15% thereafter. Spotify, which is also not supporting Vision Pro, has been locked in the same debate.
Watching traditional media on a giant virtual screen is a key focus of Apple's marketing for Vision Pro so far. You can choose between watching in your real room (optionally darkened), a fully virtual environment, or a blend of both. As well as the plethora of 2D streaming content, Apple says Vision Pro will have access to over 150 3D movies at launch.
Some Vision Pro buyers may struggle to keep the headset on for the full duration of a show or movie, however, as early impressions suggest it feels very heavy - at least with the default strap.