The past 18 months have been huge for virtual reality gaming, with the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive headsets all being released for consumers. But while the VR industry has the hardware, one Nintendo executive isn’t so sure that the software side of VR is able to deliver.
During Variety‘s Entertainment and Tech Summit, Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America President and COO, had some heavy criticism for VR content creators. Fils-Aime told the publication that “[the] problem with VR is that there aren’t a lot of experiences that are truly fun,” echoing comments he made at E3 2015. As such, Nintendo will not be entering the virtual reality gaming market any time soon. However, the Nintendo boss didn’t rule out VR altogether, suggesting that the company may get involved in future.
In recent weeks, rumors have continued to circulate about whether Nintendo is preparing to launch a virtual reality headset for its Switch console. Code that seemingly relates to VR content was found in the Switch’s operating system, and the discovery left many convinced that an announcement was imminent. However, Fils-Aime’s comments now confirm that a launch any time soon just isn’t in the cards.
The code also followed other, VR-supporting comments from Fils-Aime’s fellow executives. Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima once teased accessories for VR and even a VR headset for the Nintendo Switch. At that time, the executive also suggested that Nintendo could make its own virtual reality gaming software.
If Nintendo did make its own software, that would certainly solve the “not fun” problem that Fils-Aime has been highlighting for a few years. Nintendo was a pioneer in the motion controlled gaming sector, as the motion controls of the Nintendo Wii completely changed the industry. That control scheme was so popular that it saw Sony and Microsoft jump into the motion control game too, with the Move and Kinect technology, respectively. It stands to reason that Nintendo could do that again, but for VR.
That may well be Nintendo’s goal, but if it is, it will take some time. The sales of VR headsets suggest that the medium does have some legs, and now that Nintendo has seen that, it can get started on making the most of the hardware’s capabilities. It’s unclear what a Nintendo VR game would look like (perhaps a first-person Mario game?), but hopefully Nintendo will provide an answer to that at some point in the future.
Nintendo has yet to confirm it has any VR hardware in the works.