Nintendo is riding high following the announcement of its upcoming Switch console, with many fans seeing it as a return to the innovation that made the Nintendo Entertainment System, Wii, and DS so popular, but the company isn’t ruling out the possibility of also entering the ever-growing world of virtual reality, as well.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said that the company is “interested in VR” technology, though it is unlikely that the Switch will be compatible with third-party virtual reality headsets.
“If you ask us whether there are any possibilities, we can’t say no. It may be that we will build VR software titles,” Kimishima added. “I think that opportunity is available to us.”
Nintendo’s caution to entering the virtual reality space is likely rooted in its failed 1995 console, the Virtual Boy. Forcing players to view games through a small, stand-mounted display and only offering red and black colors, the system is Nintendo’s biggest failure to date.
It only managed to sell 350,000 units during 1995 — the Wii U, which has consistently undersold as well, managed to move more than 3 million units during its launch. In total, the Virtual Boy was supported by less than 25 games, all of which released within a year of the system’s original launch.
Though the Nintendo Switch may not be supported by virtual reality, it will reportedly offer its own take on “augmented” reality. A patent filed by Nintendo appears to show a small projector on the system’s right side, which can be used to virtually place objects in players’ hands. It also appears to offer some form of “gesture detection,” as well.
We’ll know more about Nintendo’s plans for the future on January 12, when the company will reveal the Switch’s release date and price, as well games currently in development.
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