With the metaverse and gaming on the blockchain taking off, the big three, Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation, are still trying to see how they fit in the web3 space. Virtual reality and XR technologies are one way they can fit in. PlayStation has already dipped its toes in VR with its PlayStation VR series of headsets. But what about Nintendo? What are the chances of Nintendo releasing a Switch VR headset? To answer this question, we need to take a look back into history.
Nintendo has a History with VR Headsets
To start, let’s go back to 1995. Yes, that’s right, Nintendo dabbled in XR technology that far back—introducing the Virtual Boy, arguably Nintendo’s least well-known piece of hardware. Released in 1995 and discontinued in 1996, the Virtual Boy was, at its time, a groundbreaking piece of technology that turned 2D Gameboy games into 3D spectacles. However, despite its innovative tech, the Virtual Boy was one of Nintendo’s biggest failures (financially). The console sold a mear 770,000 units and was met with poor critic reviews across the board.
Due to the Virtual Boys’ failures, Nintendo took a major break from virtual tech, a twenty-three-year-long hiatus, to be exact.
In 2018, Nintendo released Labo, a toy to life concept on the Nintendo Switch using cardboard. But what’s cardboard got to do with VR, you might ask? Well, a lot.
Toy-Con 04 was Labo’s VR headset creation kit, which enabled you to build a VR headset. And that’s not all! The VR-making kit also had additional add-ons, like a VR blaster, to increase the immersion.
Although for kids, the Nintendo Labo VR headset was a hit amongst the Nintendo community and was seen as a step in the right direction for the company. But how serious is Nintendo about virtual reality? Will we see a fully-fledged VR headset in the future? Let’s assess!
Labo Credit: IGDB
Nintendo has Strong IP that Could Make VR Headset on Switch a Reality
When evaluating the likelihood of something, we need to consider the pros and cons of such a business venture. In terms of the cons, Nintendo has had notable failures in the immersive reality space, something it definitely has not forgotten. Likewise, its console hardware is currently not up to scratch with its competitors.
Nintendo would find it hard to compete against competitors like Oculus and PlayStation VR without investing significant money in development. As a result, market competition is tough and could likely deter the company.
On the flip side, Nintendo has arguably the most recognizable IP of any video game company and could carve out its own segment of the market with ease. Similarly, Nintendo’s games are getting bigger, incorporating open worlds, for example, Pokemon Legends Arceus. Thus, there may be a great need for more immersive environments that show off these worlds.
Furthermore, Nintendo is known for thinking out of the box, and a new VR headset does not seem out of the realms of possibility. After all, there are rumors to suggest they could be looking at NFTs!
Overall, it is largely unclear whether Nintendo will invest in proper VR technology. Still, it definitely could be a possibility based on the market’s movement, the increased immersive nature of Nintendo’s strong IP, and the company’s bullish nature. Will you see Nintendo take on Occluls and PlayStation VR? Quite possibly!