The way I see it, Nintendo are the Virtual Reality hipsters. Let me explain myself. Miyamoto recently explained the company’s denial of the technological trend, speaking to Yahoo, he described how “The current types of virtual reality aren’t really a good fit for Nintendo’s philosophy of trying to create entertainment that people can play together in the living room,”.
Which is fair enough. Nintendo have always been a social company, their biggest break was the social gaming revolution of a machine in the Wii. For them to denounce a piece of technology designed around individual experience in which players actually physically separate themselves from the outside world by the way of a big old headset sounds like a predictable and smart move.
But Nintendo was the first company to bring up the topic of Virtual Reality with their 1995 Virtual Boy console. It was obscure and no one really understood or valued it. Though it sank in the 90s market, they were, as they often are, talking about technologies and capabilities way beyond their time. Back then it was a novelty, a way of interacting with a game world in a cool little experience – you get it out the box for ten minutes and then put it back for another 6 months. Nintendo are, and always have been, revolutionary in their imaginative capacity for game design. The area outside the box is pretty much Nintendo’s thinking domain. They hit it at the right time with the Nintendo Wii, but the Virtual Boy was a little too early. It’s interesting to consider if the Wii U is another example of Nintendo rushing into their ideas without fully conceiving them. The dual screen has been firmly in possession of the company since the Nintendo DS, but using this second screen in console gaming had the potential to revolutionise many game mechanics. Instead it too became a fad, a novelty used to its full potential in a handful of first party titles.
In essence. Nintendo were doing Virtual Reality before it was cool. Forever the 21st Century hipster, now that the technology has become current and mainstream, the angsty teenager company has distanced itself and will do it in their own, unique way when they’re ready to shock the market again.