Despite their insistence, there is a possibility fans could see what can be expected when it comes to the plans for Nintendo Switch VR. Virtual Reality has been something that Nintendo has been on record as saying they are not planning for in the near future. However, according to recent patent filings as well as a few hints dropped in their mobile app Miitomo, Nintendo Switch VR may be closer to reality than a lot of people originally thought.
Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo of America, spoke in 2015 with Polygon about what he considered to be the state of virtual reality as in pertains to the gaming community. Needless to say, he was not all that high on the idea.
“We have knowledge of the technical space, and we’ve been experimenting with this for a long, long time. What we believe is that, in order for this technology to move forward, you need to make it fun and you need to make it social. I haven’t walked the floor, so I can’t say in terms of what’s on the floor today, but at least based on what I’ve seen to date, it’s not fun, and it’s not social. It’s just tech.”
While naysayers might think that this is Nintendo trying to divert attention away from VR for their own gains, Fils-Aime received confirmation of the limits virtual reality has from an unlikely source. In a Ted Talk, the head of content for Oculus, one of the major platforms promoting virtual reality, explained the current lack of quality content for the next-gen entertainment platform.
“I don’t think we’ve quite struck gold yet when it comes to the content that consumers want to buy for VR. The next 12 to 24 months are where the real creativity is going to happen in VR. These are the experiences that will truly strike the consumer and that’s where greater [hardware] adoption starts to happen.”
As many as 50 big budget titles have been mentioned in the upcoming year that will utilize virtual reality in one form or another. While his comments 18 months ago represented the company’s feelings at the time, Nintendo Switch VR maybe closer to “reality” than originally expect.
On December 15, NeoGAF users leaked patent findings that were very close to what the final Switch product looks like. To go along with those diagrams, Figure 60 suggests that the Switch will slide into a contraption similar to Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR. The Joycons would act in a similar manner to the PlayStation Wand.
While many times patents are applied for that are never used, Miitomo users received an interesting community question around the same time. On December 20, one user was asked, “What would you use virtual reality for that’s hard to do in real life?” While not the smoking gun, it shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that Nintendo is thinking about the aspects of VR in the era of the Nintendo Switch.
Some websites including Polygon have gone as far as to say further proof of Nintendo Switch VR came from company President Tatsumi Kimishima. In a March 2016 call with shareholders, Kimishima reassured shareholders that the company had “plans for new businesses.” Polygon deduced that this included virtual reality.
What do you think of the possibilities of Nintendo Switch VR? Virtual reality was supposed to be a major player in gaming for 2016. While that doesn’t seem to be the case, more companies are looking to release VR games in 2017. Would it be smart for Nintendo to use a system similar to Samsung Gear VR, or do you think they need a piece of hardware similar to Oculus Rift?
[Feature Image by Nintendo of America]