Nintendo may not bring virtual reality to the Switch after all

The gaming giant walks back its interest in the platform
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Despite initial optimism, Nintendo appears to be turning cold on the prospect of bringing VR to its Switch console.

Back in February, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima revealed that the company was looking at ways of using the Switch for VR. However, this now appears to have changed based on comments made by Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime.

Read this: Sony PlayStation VR review

Speaking at Variety's Entertainment and Tech Summit, Fils-Aime indicated that although the Japanese giant has been working on the technology for decades, the "problem with VR is that there aren't a lot of experiences that are truly fun."

According to Variety, Nintendo currently has no plans to experiment with VR capabilities, though it may consider the technology further down the line.

The comments not only come after Kimishima's optimism earlier this year, but also after patents surfaced showing the company's concrete interest in the platform.

Back in December, a bunch of Switch patents, filed in June 2016, surfaced on NeoGaf. Among them was a patent for a headset that the Switch tablet could slot into, similar to how smartphone VR devices like Gear VR and Google Daydream View work.

The patent also described how the built-in sensors could let the headset detect movement, while the detachable controllers would work with the VR system.

Nintendo may not bring virtual reality to the Switch after all

Nintendo is the only one of the 'Big Three' console makers to not announce any solid VR plans: Sony has PS VR and Microsoft has confirmed its upcoming Project Scorpio console will be VR-compatible, although whether it will work with Oculus Rift or something else remains to be seen.

In addition to the above two notable breadcrumbs, Nintendo tipster Liam Robertson tweeted in January that the company had been working on a headset.

With conflicting noise surfacing, it's difficult to tell what's really going on with Nintendo and VR. However, what would appear most likely is that the company explored the concept throughout the Switch's development in the hopes it could fit in after launch, but found that the technology isn't yet viable.

It would be a shock if Nintendo didn't eventually offer widespread VR in some capacity - after all, the lucky folks in Japan now have Mario Kart VR in arcades - but it doesn't appear to be in the works for this console generation.

Nintendo may not bring virtual reality to the Switch after all


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Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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