Nintendo President Kimishima says his company is interested in providing VR support for the Switch, granted that they can make the headsets more comfortable.
In an interview with Nikkei, Nintendo President Kimishima Tatsumi said that the Nintendo Switch may, “in some form or another,” support VR in the future. The main consideration, however, would be whether the Japanese corporation could figure out a way to make the technology comfortable to wear. Currently, Nintendo has several patents pending in the U.S. for VR peripherals to use with their new hybrid console.
Kimishima’s remarks aren’t the first time he has alluded to possible VR support for the Switch: in an interview with Bloomberg a few months ago he said that his company was looking at the possibility, but left it rather vague beyond that. That Nintendo is interested in virtual reality is no secret, but details are seemingly kept purposefully vague by all concerned. This may be due to the tough competition in the games industry, almost every major player is interested in doing more with VR, but may also have something to do with the hardware of the Nintendo Switch being less than ideal for virtual-reality support.
The Switch will most likely come with the Nvidia Tegra graphics card which is, quite simply, not powerful enough to support high-quality VR. The minimum GPU necessary for headsets like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift is a GeForce GTX 1050 or 960, which is several degrees stronger than what the Switrch will be rocking. The Tegra was developed for lightweight (in more than one sense of the word) devices like tablets. How any of the current patent-pending Nintendo VR peripherals would deal with this problem is as yet unknown, unless they opt for a less immersive experience like the Google Daydream offers.
If Nintendo does decide to go that route, it will be interesting to see how it affects sales: the Nintendo Switch is aimed at people looking to game on the go, not at gamers that want to get the most out of their system at any price. As it stands, the new hybrid console is looking to do very well with one particular section of the market, a group of people of whom it is unclear whether they even want VR support. Kimishima’s stated goal to make any peripherals focus on comfort rather than power may be they key to increasing sales; only time will tell.
The Nintendo Switch is set to release on March 3, 2017.