Just recently, the “Business Insider” published an article on Nintendo’s latest addition for the Nintendo Switch. The game company has recently put in a new patent detailing a virtual reality accessory for their upcoming console. I think I should talk about a few things before I get into Nintendo’s revisit to virtual reality.
First let’s briefly go over the Virtual Boy. The Virtual Boy was released around 1995 as a “portable game system” to give them time to finish up the Nintendo 64 project. This console was a complete commercial flop; there were health concerns over it, it had inaccurate advertisement (not very portable), and the library was lackluster with games that could have done much better on the Game Boy. The Virtual Boy was so bad that Gunpei Yokoi (the creator or the Game Boy and Game & Watch series and General Manager of Nintendo’s R&D1 at the time) got grief about it from inside the company to the point he put in his resignation. You can find plenty of videos on the system and the library on the Internet.
As for my own bias on virtual reality in general, I have no problems with it. I’m just not interested. Why? Well, I think it would hinder my multitasking preference, my eyes in general, while still functional, may not survive long exposure of have a screen or two up close and personal, and I may have trouble adjusting to the “immersion.”
Now onto the accessory. The patent covers a head mount strap that you can slide your Nintendo Switch into, turning it into a VR headset (as seen in the diagram). You may have seen something like that around for smart phones at your local electronics dealer. Now this may be simple (and maybe cheaper?) and seems like a good idea on paper. It may also handle better than the Virtual Boy. However, I don’t think it fits with the system’s overall shtick.
When I’ve watched the announcement video for the Nintendo Switch, I saw this was for gamers that are into party games, competitive eSports, and just gaming in general (from casual to hardcore). The Nintendo Switch, in my opinion, would be a nice console for these people since it’s versatile for a home/portable-hybrid console. The only place I can see VR fitting here would be under the eccentric. Given the pitch of what the Nintendo Switch is the virtual reality head mount is a superfluous feature that would be tacked onto the console’s gimmick. VR just doesn’t seem to be an addition that could be inserted into the vision that Nintendo has for their new console.
While it’s interesting to see Nintendo trying VR again I honestly don’t see the Nintendo Switch as the kind of console that would naturally house virtual reality games. The Nintendo Switch had sold me on the home console that turns into a portable game system idea, but VR is something I least, or at least not, expected from it. I won’t cause a fuss when Nintendo starts selling these head mounts, but I just don’t see it tie in with the nature of what the Switch is.
What do you think of Nintendo revisiting virtual reality? Do you think it’ll add to the immersion or are you seeing red and black? Leave a comment and join in on the discussion.
Robin Ek – Editor
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
The Gaming Ground
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