MLB for visionOS strikes out on Opening Day – Six Colors

You can’t close the main window, and that’s not the worst of it.

As is typical for one of Apple’s best sports partners, Major League Baseball had a demo app for visionOS ready to go for the debut of the new platform. It used the device’s augmented reality functionality to display a live 3-D Gameday animation simultaneously with video playback from a demonstration game—one of the games from the 2023 World Series.

While the app was otherwise fairly basic, it was just enough of a taste to suggest that MLB would be using its amazing in-game data to create something new and groundbreaking for the Vision Pro.

That might still happen, but just before Opening Day the app was updated to support real, live baseball games, and all the exciting stuff is gone. Today I took it for a spin and was deeply disappointed—it’s essentially just a front end for watching games via MLB TV, and a buggy one at that.

Immersive Gameday action.

I couldn’t find support for Gameday when I first used the app, though later when playing back an archived stream, I did find Gameday available—from within the video playback, so you can’t use it for a game you’re not watching on the app. And it’s immersive, so you can’t put it up and then do something else, which is also probably a mistake.

The app also only plays back a single video at a time, even if multiple games are going on at once—despite the fact that watching multiple video streams at once is basically what VR was made for.

It gets worse. The main window is just not right. You can make it very small by pushing it very far away, which shouldn’t happen. Its control bar and close box are way below the bottom of the content of the main window. Controlling the window was also difficult—I had to bring it very close to my eyes before I could properly control it via eye tracking.

When you play a game video, the app spawns a second window, which some video player apps do. But if you close the main window, the entire app closes—and so the video window goes away. That’s not supposed to happen. And it means that in order to watch a game, you’ve got to keep that unncecessary main window around at all times.

Clearly this app shipped half-finished because MLB otherwise wasn’t going to have something ready for Opening Day. At least it does stream the games! But that’s pretty much it. There’s plenty of time left in the season, but right now MLB’s app is the tech equivalent of going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

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