One video game phenomenon that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon (despite the manufacturer’s best efforts in the eyes of some fanboys), the Nintendo Switch has made everyone rethink what it means to be a portable game machine or a home console device.
So, naturally, rumors that the Switch could be getting in on the virtual reality game are pretty weighty whispers to be sure but rumors are just that – unless they aren’t.
Multiple outlets are reporting that Nintendo is planning a virtual reality-related announcement sometime soon.
And, unless it is the resurrection of the failed Virtual Boy console, most people think this has something to do with Nintendo’s uber-popular device.
Specifically, people think that somehow Nintendo is going to come up with a peripheral that will transform the Switch into a VR headset. In a way, this would be the resurrection of the Virtual Boy but we doubt we’ll see that name.
A major issue that many are raising with this rumor is that the Switch isn’t the world’s most powerful console and not by a longshot. In order to accommodate its need to be both a home and portable device, Nintendo made some sacrifices to performance that puts the Switch a little bit behind current-gen competition from Microsoft and Sony.
Geek.com is quoting reports from traditional Nintendo rumor mill grister Emily Rogers who describes some kind of device that the Switch screen slides into, sans controllers we’re assuming.
By itself, the Switch is basically a thick and very capable gaming tablet without touch screen functionality. But just because it has the screen doesn’t mean the system has the guts to pump out true 3D. This where everything becomes murky because the report doesn’t clarify whether or not the VR peripheral will add processing power to the Switch in a modular fashion or if it is some kind of Labo-esque headset a la Google Cardboard.
As Geek.com points out, a 720p screen is not nearly a high enough resolution for big-budget VR titles but it can make some concepts work. What all of this boils down to is that Nintendo’s entry into the VR segment in any way would be a huge deal – and might just be the thing the console market needs right now.
Microsoft has shown no signs of supporting a VR future for its Xbox consoles, and Sony is pretty much the only dedicated player in the game when it comes to VR units. This presents a unique market opportunity for Nintendo to trade on its already established name for a part of the VR pie.
While it isn’t the most lucrative segment in video gaming right now, the advent of future tech like 5G and more and more powerful processors are promising that VR will be with us for a long time to come. We can only hope that this is a future that Nintendo wants to be a part of either now or in the future.