VR Could Be Nintendo Switch's Secret Weapon

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VR Could Be Nintendo Switch's Secret Weapon
February 3, 2017

Nintendo may be giving its new Switch console a virtual reality feature - and this information comes straight from the horse's mouth.

 

Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima has revealed that Nintendo is looking at ways of using the Switch for VR, but it has some hurdles to overcome first.

 

In an interview with Nikkei, Kimishima said Nintendo is "studying" adding a virtual reality component to the console, which launches this March. "If we are able to resolve the issues with playing [VR] comfortably for long hours, we will support it in one form or another," he said.

 

The Switch has a 6.2-inch tablet, so we can understand why comfort might be a bigger problem to solve than on, say, a Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

 

However it's not the first we've heard about a potential Switch VR headset. Back in December, a bunch of Switch patents, filed in June 2016, surfaced on NeoGaf. Among them was a patent for a headset that the Switch tablet could slot into, similar to how smartphone VR devices like Gear VR and Google Daydream View work.

 

The patent also describes how the built-in sensors could let the headset detect movement, while the detachable controllers would work with the VR system.

Nintendo is the only one of the 'Big Three' console makers to not announce any solid VR plans: Sony has PS VR and Microsoft has confirmed its upcoming Project Scorpio console will be VR-compatible, although whether it will work with Oculus Rift or something else remains to be seen.

 

In addition to the above two notable breadcrumbs, Nintendo tipster Liam Robertson tweeted in January that the company had been working on a headset.

Nintendo has dismissed VR in the past as being anti-social and not yet ready for the mainstream. And of course, most of its first-party franchises don't feel suited for the medium. Yet it also has a potential edge over PS VR as presumably we'd only need to buy a empty headset to hold the tablet inside, which could offer a low-cost entry to virtual reality.

 

It wouldn't be Nintendo's first venture into VR either, of course, having pioneered a portable virtual reality-type console with the Virtual Boy in 1995. The console was a disaster and discontinued a year later, but maybe it's time for a second coming.

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