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Nintendo ‘Interested’ in VR

The virtual reality (VR) industry enjoyed a late-E3 2014 surprise last week when Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, the iconic developer behind the likes of Mario and The Legend of Zelda, was seen using the Oculus Rift VR headset in an image posted online. At the time the famed creator didn’t reveal his thoughts on the technology or if Nintendo itself would be working with it. Now an interview published this week has revealed just what Miyamoto makes of VR.

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Speaking to Time, Miyamoto revealed that Nintendo is ‘interested’ in VR, though its very nature was somewhat at odds with its current home console, the Wii U.

“As game designers, we at Nintendo are interested in VR technology and what it can do,” Miyamoto said, “but at the same time what we’re trying to do with Wii U is to create games for everyone in the living room. We want the Wii U to be a game system that brings video gamers into the living room. As I explained last night [Sunday, June 8], it’s intended to be fun not only for the person who’s playing, but also for the people who are watching.

“When you think about what virtual reality is, which is one person putting on some goggles and playing by themselves kind of over in a corner, or maybe they go into a separate room and they spend all their time alone playing in that virtual reality, that’s in direct contrast with what it is we’re trying to achieve with Wii U. And so I have a little bit of uneasiness with whether or not that’s the best way for people to play.”

Miyamoto isn’t to mention this issue with VR. In fact, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) has addressed concerns of VR being ‘anti-social’ with its second screen iniative for the Project Morpheus VR headset on PlayStation 4. Essentially, the device can display what it’s showing inside the headset on a TV at the same time. Players can also interact with the headset user’s experience at the same time. In fact the company revealed second screen applications for two of its Project Morpheus tech demos last week.

“So from Nintendo’s perspective, there’s interest in the technology,” Miyamoto concluded, “but we think it might be better suited to some sort of attraction style of entertainment, say something at a video game arcade or things like that, rather than something that one person plays alone.”

It certainly doesn’t sound like Nintendo will be getting into VR itself any time soon, then. Of course, the company made its own run at the technology in 1995 with the Virtual Boy, a device that lasted less than a year before the company discontinued its production. Currently the Nintendo 3DS provides a 3D solution for Nintendo videogames, but this is unlikely to be adapted into a headset of the company’s making in the near future.

VRFocus will continue to follow any and all companies working in VR, bringing you the latest on their progress.