While Microsoft have stayed relatively quiet on the topic on virtual reality when compared to the PC market and Sony, they still have the HoloLens on the horizon and a new console to support the technology. Nintendo however, have been completely silent on their management of the VR revolution. It’s not uncharacteristic, the only thing we really know about their new console is its name and we had to wrestle that out of the company. Yet Shigeru Miyamoto has come forward to address concerns over Nintendo’s VR involvement.
It seems that while Nintendo was keeping a low profile at this year’s E3 convention, it was also scouting reactions to virtual reality technology. Among the issues highlighted by Miyamoto in his statement is the fact that the headsets often exclude those not directly experiencing them. They are therefore researching ways to make virtual reality technology accessible to everyone in the room, rather than the lucky one who jumped into the headset first:
“At this year’s E3, I was on the show floor, and it did not feel like VR was that big of a topic. This could be because VR is not that much to look at for the spectator, even while it might be highly appreciated for the person actually experiencing it.”
They are also sorting a way to promote the virtual reality experience “as a product” – assumably something they can demonstrate without the use of shop-floor headsets for one person at a time.
Perhaps most integral to Nintendo’s family friendly ethos is parental concerns over their children’s use of the tech. True, it will be tough for Nintendo to sell a product that relies on placing a screen in front of all fields of vision raising not only concerns over the isolating nature of the tech but also the logical limitation of effectively blinding a child and letting it loose in your living room…
The third issue brought up by Miyamoto concerned the length of play time. Due to a number of factors ranging from motion sickness, to the physical weight of the headset itself, VR is not currently suited to those all night play sessions we’ve grown used to. Nintendo also plans to address this in its research.
Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima also pitched in, reassuring fans that Nintendo was actively pooling resources into VR as a viable component of its consoles in the future:
“We are well aware that other companies are developing games and game-related products using VR technologies, and that consumers are interested in all of this. I cannot say anything specific at this time, but understand that we also consider VR to be a promising technology, and we are conducting research with much interest.”
It’s not a bad idea for Nintendo to hold off until they’ve developed a headset that solves these highly prominent issues in the market. Though if research continues into NX hardware development, they may run into issues of compatibility that wouldn’t even present themselves at this early stage of tech development. Both Sony and Microsoft have already had to release their upgraded consoles to keep up with the advancements, but Nintendo do have a handy few months extra to merge VR with the NX. Working on pitching the VR idea to parents is a necessary move for Nintendo too, as they need to convince the breadwinners of its merits despite their unlikeliness to actually experience it for themselves prior to a pretty hefty purchase.