If Nintendo Switch ever gets VR games and accessories, the current console will be powerful enough to support them, according to Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima. The executive left the door open for the company to hop on the VR bandwagon in an interview with Time, but he added one important stipulation.
"The question, of course, is 'What is the best way to bring virtual reality to our customers as a form of entertainment?'" Kimishima said. "Not just, 'Hey, look! It's realistic!' or whatever, but what is the best way to use this technology to bring something fun to our consumer base? We are definitely looking at that."
I'm glad Kimishima raised that question, because GR+ sister site PC Gamer recently found one very compelling answer: playing Metroid Prime and other GameCube games on an HTC Vive, using a special version of the Dolphin emulator (these gifs are from JoshDub's videos, FYI).
"I am now absolutely convinced that Nintendo needs to get into VR, and this is how," PC Gamer editor James Davenport wrote. "They’re infamous for selling their games over and over again, but what better way to archive and celebrate an achievement like Metroid Prime than by letting you walk around that space and appreciate it up close? Lauded at the time for pretty frills like rendering Samus’ HUD in-game, it nearly feels like a UI designed for VR. I drool at the thought of revisiting Wind Waker in the same way."
High-speed racer F-Zero GX was also impressive in PC Gamer's testing, playing out "almost like racing Micro Machines" that frequently break the sound barrier. Neither of these games were designed for virtual reality and yet - glitches and some awkward movement aside - they worked incredibly well. Just imagine what Nintendo could do if it actually created games with VR in mind!
Pikmin 2 was more divisive: James enjoyed it while fellow PC Gamer editor Wes Fenlon felt ill almost immediately, despite being pretty accustomed to VR. But again, if Nintendo actually made a Pikmin game with VR in mind - letting you peer around a literal sandbox as you direct your tiny plant army - it could be incredibly cool.
Many questions remain for Nintendo Switch's theoretical VR support, chief among them being how good of an experience its 720p screen could create just inches from your eyes. Headsets HTC Vive still have a bit of the "screen-door effect" at 2160x1200 resolution. But the potential is clearly there, and that's pretty darn exciting.