The big news this week has certainly been the fact that Nintendo is embracing virtual reality (VR) once again, although rather tentatively by creating a cardboard Labo VR kit for the Switch console. While certainly interesting news, until the kits are made available VRFocus isn’t entirely convinced this is a good idea. So much so we decided to see what the VR developer community thought of the announcement.
Having gone for the easy option of making a cardboard cut out kit for Nintendo Switch – essentially turning the popular hybrid console into a Google Cardboard like device – reactions to the VR adaption are mixed, to say the least, with Vertigo Games’ (Skyworld, Arizona Sunshine) Managing Director Richard Stitselaar saying in an email: “At first glance, the Nintendo Labo: VR Kit certainly feels like a step backwards for the VR industry. We hope it will pique rather than discourage wider consumer interest for VR.”
While Alexander Erdyakov, Fibrum’s (Desirium) Business Development Director was far more positive: “I’ve heard a lot about Nintendo Labo on release and our team can approve that using Labo was an awesome and unique experience. Labo VR kit seems to be game-changer because of amazing switch controllers and new mechanics from game to game. Needless to say, Nintendo is innovators and will surprise us once again. I believe that games for it will be great, but as for original Labo, I’m not sure that the content will be replayable and we will see must have titles.”
The most negative response – and one that aligned with VRFocus’ fears – came from Make Real’s (Loco Dojo) Director of Immersive Technologies Sam Watts on Twitter where he said: “Nintendo Labo VR is going to be terrible for perceptions of what
#VR is but still gonna buy one for the studio curiosities shelf. Hopefully not with the label “This is what killed VR, again.”
He went on to say: “We don’t need anymore 3DoF Cardboard to sully the waters…Google Cardboard has done more harm than good. Many people have only tried that and think that’s all VR has to offer and have dismissed it any further.”
Even with Nintendo’s skill at innovation, the Labo VR Kit may not be the best introduction to VR, seen as more of a gimmick than a reputable entertainment medium. When VRFocus gets its hands on one, we’ll let you know what we think.