The rollercoaster ride that is trying to gauge Nintendo’s interest in VR took another nosedive this week.
After years of on-and-off statements about the company’s interest in VR, Nintendo France General Manager Philippe Lavoué recently expressed doubts about the technology’s mainstream viability, though that’s nothing new.
“If you look at VR headsets, I doubt they can appeal to the mainstream,” Lavoué said in a translation of an interview with Les Numeriques. “Consumers are not patient with entertainment if you’re not able to deliver an all-inclusive package.”
You can see where Lavoué is coming from; high-end VR headsets currently require expensive PCs to run and even Sony’s affordable PlayStation VR (PSVR) costs considerably more if you need a PS4 to go along with it. However, the promise of upcoming standalone headsets that don’t require PCs, consoles or smartphones could soon address his concerns.
Tacking Nintendo’s interest in VR is getting increasingly tricky. In September of last year the company’s Reggie Fils-Aime stated that there weren’t many “truly fun” VR experiences out there right now but, despite this, the company has already patented what looks like a VR headset add-on for its new Switch console. It’s also partnered with Bandai Namco to produce a Mario Kart VR experience currently showing in Japanese arcades. Switch itself doesn’t seem like the best fit for VR, but maybe more of these partnerships could be on the cards.
We’ll keep asking if Nintendo is going to jump into VR simply because the company holds the keys to some of the best gaming series in the world that we’d love to see inside headsets, including Zelda, Metroid and Fire Emblem to name a few. Despite these most recent comments, we’re still holding out hope.