It’s seeming like the age of virtual reality technology is nearly upon us, with a number of high profile VR headsets currently lining up for release. The pioneering Oculus Rift, which was subject to a huge $2 billion buyout from Facebook, is currently lining up for an early 2016 consumer release. Oculus has also signed a partnership with Microsoft, allowing the Rift have compatibility with Xbox One games as well as usage with the Xbox One wireless controller.
That’s not the only VR project that Microsoft has on the go, however, as the tech giant is working on its own device in the form of the HoloLens, which was showcased with a stunning Minecraft video at E3 2015. Meanwhile, Sony has also stepped into the fray, with work on its ambitious Morpheus VR headset. The device, which is going to be compatible with both the PS4 and the PS Vita, is currently set to be released by June.
There is, however, one major console creator that is conspicuously absent from the VR headset battlegrounds. Nintendo has quietly stayed out of the race so far, but now it looks as though the publisher has decided to explain just why there is no Nintendo VR headset in the works. Speaking in an interview with Polygon, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime explained that Nintendo currently does not feel that virtual reality can yet provide players with a fun gaming experience.
“What we believe is that, in order for this technology to move forward, you need to make it fun and you need to make it social,” said Fils-Aime. According to the Nintendo of America president, the current batch of VR headsets does not live up to those two goals. “Based on what I’ve seen to date, it’s not fun, and it’s not social,” Fils-Aime explained, before stating that, at the moment, virtual reality is “just tech.”
From the sounds of it, however, it looks like Nintendo has at least toyed with the idea of virtual reality – but has made a finite decision to stay out of the race for now. “We have knowledge of the technical space, and we’ve been experimenting with this for a long, long time,” said Fils-Aime. Whether that means the company will eventually decide to make a move into the market, however, is unclear.
Nintendo has developed with virtual reality before, with the infamous disaster that was the Virtual Boy. Released in 1995, the console was a critical and commercial bomb, with the parallax red and black graphics and awkward build of the device criticized for being responsible for headaches and nausea. With Nintendo currently focused on pushing amiibo technology, as well as working on the mysterious NX console, perhaps virtual reality is going to be one area where Nintendo waits for other console creators to make the first steps.