After much anticipation, Nintendo finally entered the virtual reality (VR) market earlier this year with the Labo VR Kit for Switch. While fun and enjoyable for kids, when it came to proper VR gaming the kit well way short of expectations in comparison to all the other VR tech on the market. Now its seems Nintendo isn’t stopping there with a recent patent filing seemingly indicating plans for a most robust plastic version for the portable console.
Spotted by LetsGoDigital, Nintendo applied for the original patent in February 2018 at the Japanese patent office JPO (Japan Patent Office). Only published last month – on 22nd August 2019 – the patent has several detailed images showcasing a much more rugged design with an ergonomic shape for comfort.
It looks, in essence, to be a more advanced version of the Labo design, without the finicky need to build anything or the worry that the housing can easily be damaged by a knock or liquid finding its way onto the housing. Attaching to the Nintendo Switch also seems to be more secure with a wrap-around housing secured at the bottom.
A device of this nature would suggest that Nintendo has more VR software plans for Switch beyond the limited titles available currently, moving content away from the gimmicky designs focused on the Labo VR Kit components. Those were actually made for VR, while the other ports – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey for example – have been less than stellar; in some case’s just pointless, detracting from the original.
If this is truely the avenue Nintendo is still exploring then it seems like a competitor to Samsung Gear VR, back when the device was still relevant in 2015/16. Both Samsung and Oculus have long since dropped their interest in the mobile device, the former going to create the Samsung Odyssey while Oculus has the Go and Quest to support.
Back in July veteran designer Shigeru Miyamoto addressed speculation Nintendo was ‘behind the curve’ when it came to VR, saying that “We have actually been conducting practical research on these technologies from the very beginning.” What is very possible is the addition of VR to the Nintendo Switch Lite. The new console is due for release next week but won’t support the Labo VR Kit because of the all-in-one design. The new headset pictures indicate an original Nintendo Switch but could the design also accommodate Switch Lite? If this does become a possibility, VRFocus will let you know.