Certainly one of the biggest videogame announcements this week came from Nintendo with the unveiling of Switch, its new console previously code-named ‘NX’. The design came as quite a surprise, mixing a portable screen with a docking station to bring mobile and home console gaming together. While specifications and software haven’t been revealed yet, one thing that seemed glaringly clear is that Switch probably won’t be powering any virtual reality (VR) headsets due to its tablet design. But that doesn’t mean Nintendo aren’t thinking about the future and the possibilities of VR in relation to Switch.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg Nintendo president, Tatsumi Kimishima was asked about whether the upcoming console would have VR capabilities, and if the company was developing VR compatible with it. To which Kimishima responded: “If you asked as if this might be possible in the future, certainly we can’t say no. In terms of how it can be used for gaming, it’s something we must consider. It depends on the system specifications. I can’t say that we have no interest in VR because VR offers new ways of playing, but that depends on what kind of software can be played. But what kind of software works, that’s only something you only know once you actually experience it. And our games are ones that are usually played for a long time.”
Kimishima also gave his view on VR in general: “Miyamoto has talked about this several times. It’s not that we’re uninterested. In fact, we have a lot of interest. VR offers the experience of playing in a new way. But that depends on the software and how you use it to play. Especially when it comes to games. And beyond games, it also applies to other non-game things, so it is something to look forward to.”
Without knowing what’s inside Switch its difficult to say if it could ever power VR head-mounted displays (HMDs). Headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive for example need some heavy processing power, but this can still be achieved in a relatively compact form factor, just look at the Razer Blade.
While the company occasionally expresses interest in VR tech there’s still no confirmation on any sort of development ideas or plans. And this week Microsoft got into the field by announcing an affordable device made by some of its hardware partners.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Nintendo, reporting back with any VR related details.