Switch may one day support virtual reality experiences, but not until Nintendo sorts out some of the issues.
Switch and VR? Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima says it’s going to happen.
Speaking to Nikkei, as translated by regular games industry commentator Dr. Serkan Toto, Kimishima said Nintendo is studying VR now, and will add it to the Switch once it figures out how to allow users to “play for hours on end without problems”.
This is likely a reference to the discomfort some VR users suffer – nausea, headaches and the weight of the headset have all been reported. Nintendo has said VR isn’t ready for mainstream adoption yet.
Adding Switch to VR may seem farfetched given the console’s portability and as yet unconfirmed tech specs, some of the processing load needed to power a headset display could be offloaded to a peripheral. The console already has some AR features, so it seems like Nintendo’s quite interested in this space. It’s been there before with Virtual Boy, of course, and this isn’t the first time the Switch has been linked with VR.
Switch launches in early March, and it sounds like Nintendo expects it to turn the company’s recent fortunes around, making a VR-friendly hardware revision possible. Elsewhere in the interview, Kimishima said Nintendo’s recent fiscal performance are as low as they can be, and that things will only improve from here.
He also said the unique features of the Switch position it to sell as well as the Wii, which is a pretty lofty target; the Wii is far and away Nintendo’s best-selling home console of all time with 101.6 million units sold, as compared to the Wii U’s measly 13.5 million. (Just for your interest, the top hardware sellers are the Game Boy family with 118.6 million units sold, the DS family with 154.02 million units sold, the Wii, the Game Boy Advance family with 81.5 million units sold, and then the 3DS with 65.3 million units sold.)
Whether adding VR functions to the Switch would improves its chances is debatable, but the VR industry could definitely benefit from Nintendo’s interest in the technology. Making VR affordable, easy to use and comfortable would go a long way to helping it gain traction – and attaching the Nintendo brand wouldn’t hurt awareness, either.