The Nintendo Switch could one day be capable of playing virtual reality titles. Even Nintendo itself acknowledges the thought, having detailed such functionality inside the Switch's patents released a while back.
Now, a YouTuber has tested that ahead of everyone else, and the results are, well, ample food for thought.
Nintendo Switch: Is Virtual Reality On The Cards?
First off, virtual reality on the Switch is indeed possible for possibility's sake. YouTuber Nintendrew tested this out with theDurovis Dive 7, a specialized VR headset for tablet-sized devices. He slid the Switch in, created a VR test footage to test the Switch with, and exploited the console's browser hack to access YouTube.
Nintendrew was able to watch the said content on his Switch in 3D, which suggests that VR is entirely doable. That's of course if Nintendo gives the feature a go-signal, which it seemingly will.
The YouTuber was also able to find out that the Switch can only output a horizontal resolution of 500 pixels per eye. Higher-resolution screens are a must for VR devices, since lower-resolution displays, while serviceable, will produce the screen door effect. That's when grid lines appear because of a low pixel count, and its presence might take the player out of the experience — a big no-no for VR, to be sure, since it's all about immersion and fluidity.
Also, because the Switch has a larger display size than traditional VR headsets, only a portion of its screen was visible, at least in the YouTuber's custom setup.
So, it is possible, if that's your question. But there's a more important one — is it ideal?
Why VR On The Switch Could Work, And Why It Also Might Not
First and foremost, because of the Switch's 720p screen, there would most certainly be a screen door effect. It also wouldn't tout the same top-rank specs seen on the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or the PlayStation VR. This insufficiency might hamper gaming performance. But Nintendo has always championed great gaming experiences despite low-profile hardware, so who knows?
Pushing the Switch to do VR certainly opens a gamut of gaming experiences, but it's hard to say whether a low-resolution screen is a sacrifice gamers are willing to make.
Second, and more importantly, the Switch already has a pitch: it's a home console and handheld gaming device in one, and you can "switch" between the two with no sweat. After Nintendo failed with the Wii U, it's clear that it tried to do right with the Switch's marketing. The console's reveal video didn't even go as far as to reveal motion controls or the touchscreen — features that are a part of the console, but could have distorted the core message if Nintendo made them more pronounced.
People buy the Switch for a number of reasons, and it being a potential VR device isn't one of them. People would gladly shell out $299 to play Zelda, Mario, Kirby, and any upcoming first-party AAA titles on the machine. This has always been the company's strong suite.
Nintendrew's test shows that VR can be done, even with his makeshift setup. Mario VR? Zelda VR? Instant-buys, no question. However, these titles probably won't come to the Switch, but perhaps on a future Nintendo device instead.
Check out the Switch VR test video below. Thoughts? Sound off in the comments section!