Nintendo To Get Into Virtual Reality? Don't Count On It. Yet.

By Michelle J. Brohier on Aug 17, 2018

Nintendo has always been a company well known for being innovative, never allowing themselves to follow trends and always looking for new ways to entertain fans through their devices. The DS was a hit as a portable console, the Wii introduced different design controllers that leveled up gaming experiences, and now the Switch has successfully converged portable and home console gaming together.

But what about virtual reality (VR)? It seems to be the only aspect in gaming that Nintendo has yet to touch even with its rising popularity, and it's something that baffles us all considering that they enhanced the Switch experience with boxes.

As it turns out, some modders have discovered a way to activate VR on the Nintendo Switch, creating hype that maybe, just maybe, the Switch would eventually be used for VR. How was it done? Twitter user @random666_kys who is a Nintendo Switch modder shared this video:

His attempt showed the Switch screen briefly switching into a split-screen view, which is a common approach to stereoscopic rendering for VR applications. The text on the screen during VR mode reads (in French), “Please move the console away from your face and click the close button.”

Once the modder tapped close, nothing happens and it returns back to its former screen. This is a given, seeing as there is no official announcement of VR being used on the Switch. But it seems to show that Nintendo is looking into the possibility of entering the world of VR through the Switch.

Right? Well, maybe not.

Don't expect anything like this to come out anytime soon.
Don't expect anything like this to come out anytime soon.

Nintendo Switch is not meant for VR

While it's true that a VR system was put in place, it's unlikely that the set up really is meant for the Switch. According to Alan Martin from Trusted Reviews, the Switch screen can output at 1280 x 720. When you put that in half, with one screen per eye, the resolution becomes 640 x 360, making the visual and graphics less than appealing for a great VR experience. For comparison, consider the PSVR which has an output of 1080 x 1200.

But what if the system is in place for a future Nintendo console? The possibility is there after all, seeing as Nintendo has dipped their feet into the VR water before. Back in 1995 the company released the Virtual Boy, a console with a head-mounted display and was capable of stereoscopic 3D graphics. The Virtual Boy was a failure though, as the console wasn't exactly comfortable to use and was incredibly expensive at the time.

Ah, the Virtual Boy. You were definitely (not) ahead of your time.
Ah, the Virtual Boy. You were definitely (not) ahead of your time.

But surely after all those years, Nintendo would have learnt from their mistakes, like they did with the WiiU and the initial release of the 3DS. Could we really be seeing Nintendo taking that next step to VR?

The possibility is there, just not anytime soon

It's not as if VR is a gimmick that would last only for a short time, like Guitar Hero. Despite discussions of how exhausting VR can be to a player, the fact that the PSVR sold over 2 million in one year shows that there is a demand for more immersive experiences in gaming.

But to put it into perspective, the link earlier also revealed that PS4 sold 70 million units. If you calculate it, that means about 3% of PS4 users have a PSVR. That's not a lot, and it may not even be convincing enough for Nintendo to venture into it yet.

But considering that there is a system in place, the possibility seems to be high that at some point in the future Nintendo will likely release a console dedicated to VR, and as long as they learn from their mistakes, it will be better than the Virtual Boy for sure. The question is when, and the answer seems to be just not anytime soon.

What are your thoughts on this? We'd love to hear what you think about Nintendo and VR! Share with us your thoughts in the comments, or even on Facebook or Twitter.

Michelle J. Brohier
About the Author
Casual gamer with a lot of thoughts and dance moves to share.
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