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Is the Nintendo Switch Secretly Implementing VR Capability?

VR is one of the hottest commodities in gaming, and it looks like Nintendo may be prepping for their own VR experience.

VR is one of the hottest commodities in the gaming industry, and it looks to only continue pushing new boundaries and setting new standards for the next generation of gamers. Currently there are several big names leading the charge into virtual reality.

  • Oculus with the Rift
  • HTC/Valve with the Vive
  • Samsung with the GearVR
  • Sony with the PSVR
  • Microsoft with the HoloLens (Augmented rather than Virtual)

And now it appears as though #Nintendo may be prepping for their own VR experience. In a recent interview, Tatsumi Kimishima told us that Nintendo is "studying" the possibility of incorporating VR to their latest hybrid console, the #Switch.

Now those words may not be concrete or give you the sensation of being entirely hopeful, but lets take a look at why Nintendo could implement VR sooner rather than later.

What's the appeal for using VR?

Honestly it's pretty easy to see why so many companies are scrambling to get their virtual reality games and hardware in the hands of gamers, just look at everything that Zenimax has gone through with Oculus. VR looks to be the next big stepping stone for countless studios and developers, and rightfully so considering that VR gives the gamer the ability to be totally immersed in the gaming environment.

Heck, virtual reality is even becoming a medical tool to help patients cope with anxieties, phobias, and other illnesses. VR is definitely a big next phase for gaming and everyone wants to jump on board because the possibilities seem endless with the constantly improving technology.

Nintendo is very close to implementing VR.

Ultimately, Nintendo is already primed for VR. Just think back to when the Wii was introduced, it was an interactive gaming console that used nunchucks to capture hand movements and gestures. It was this technology that in essence is used now in the full #Oculus Rift system. You hold controllers and based on the surrounding system your hand movements can be captured and referenced in game.

Since the Nintendo Switch gives you the ability to use the two removable controllers in a similar fashion to the nunchucks of the Wii, it makes total sense that they would be able to incorporate that into a VR system. Just imagine playing the Switch's launch titles in VR, games like ARMS or even the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Imagine taking control of #Zelda and being completely surrounded by the world. That would be a huge move by Nintendo to offer that to gamers.

It appears as though Nintendo is well on the way to introducing VR support, considering that back in December 2016, they filed several new patents surrounding the hybrid console and interestingly enough within the official patent for the Switch is a section detailing the functionality of a HMD (Head Mounted Display). Within the patent we see that Nintendo plans to use the HMD to do several things:

  • Present images of a wide viewing angle to a user, which can enhance the sense of immersion for the user.
  • Calculate movement and perform a predetermined process in accordance with the movement, which includes but isn't limited to changing the camera angle.
  • Use the hand controllers to affect the onscreen display of the head mounted display.

I don't know about you, but that sure looks like the basic description of what a Switch VR headset should do. It would work similarly to how Google Daydream View and the #Samsung #GearVR function, which is a great move for the Switch.

When will the Switch get VR?

Nintendo has been pretty quiet about the whole VR era, and that makes sense considering that since back at E3 2015, the President and CEO of Nintendo America, Reggie Fils-Aime, went on record, saying:

We have knowledge of the technical space, and we've been experimenting with this for a long, long time. What we believe is that, in order for this technology to move forward, you need to make it fun and you need to make it social. I haven't walked the floor, so I can't say in terms of what's on the floor today, but at least based on what I've seen to date, it's not fun, and it's not social. It's just tech."

Now, many Nintendo fans know that Reggie was referencing that Nintendo was the first developer to really dive into the VR field in the '90s with the ill-fated Virtual Boy. From then on, there has been no real visible inclination towards developing VR any further. As the current President of Nintendo Tatsumi Kimishima has agreed, he wants the technology to be comfortable for long hours before they jump into the VR field head first.

Mr. Kimishima went on further to confirm that the Nintendo Switch would support virtual reality "in one form or another" someday.

SOURCE | Polygon

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