This Video Shows Nintendo Switch VR Is Already Possible

by David Jagneaux • April 26th, 2017

The Nintendo Switch has been out for over a month now and it’s still going strong. I play mine almost daily, even after finishing the full main story in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. New games are coming out every week, including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe this Friday, and the portability and versatility make it easy to pick up and play in tons of situations. But the one big thing Nintendo doesn’t have their toes in yet that the rest of the gaming world appears to have embraced is virtual reality.

Zelda

Late last year the company patented a VR headset that appeared to be designed to hold the Nintendo Switch tablet, but naturally people questioned its feasibility. Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima also went on record earlier this year as stating that if comfort issues with prolonged play are resolved for VR, then the company “will do it.” Presumably they’re already testing it.

In the video below (also embedded at the top of this article), YouTuber Nintendrew decided to leapfrog past Nintendo’s R&D team and use some workaround solutions to see what the screen looks like inside of a VR device. Using a tablet-focused VR headset called the Durovis Dive 7 he found that the Nintendo Switch actually fit just perfectly. From there, he recorded his own footage of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D from the Nintendo 3DS and displayed it back as side-by-side footage on YouTube. Then, he just had to slide his way into the Switch’s web browser, pull it up on YouTube, and he was good to go.

It’s not ideal by any means. Based on his test, the screen width for each eye is only about 500 pixels wide and the overall resolution of the screen in general isn’t very good. The tablet is also a bit bulky and heavy when compared to something like a smartphone. All that being said though, it seems that it’s absolutely possible.

If the only real barrier between the Nintendo Switch and exciting new VR games from The Big N is Nintendo’s own willingness to develop them, it’s a good sign. Hardware limitations haven’t stopped them in the past, I’m sure if anyone can design around them for VR then Nintendo can.

© 2017 Antoine Beynel

© 2017 Antoine Beynel

Last month we got a glimpse of what an officially crafted Switch VR headset might look like from industrial designer Antoine Beynel and the possibilities (teased above) are quite exciting. What do you think about the feasibility of the Nintendo Switch as a VR device? Which games would you want to see on Switch VR? Is the resolution issue and size of the screen too much of a problem, or could Nintendo work around it?

Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below!

h/t: Digital Trends

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  • Sebastien Mathieu

    this is not VR…..

    • “What is VR” is an ongoing debate — with a tablet HMD the Switch can display 3D video content and with the Joycons attached 3DOF would likely be possible. Nintendo would need to throw some tech into an HMD of their own and perhaps offer an external tracker on a future Switch dock, but it’s totally possible.

      • IstDasDeinBecks

        Really, stop putting your comment everywhere as an answer. The Article really just sounds like a big commercial.
        Btw. i do not think, that the Hardware is really capable of good VR stuff. Even PSVR has its limitations. Nintendo should stay where they are. Deliver some good quality family games.

      • Marc

        It’s not at all, there is absolutely ZERO way the switch can be used as a VR/AR device. Hardware limitations for processing power and screen resolution gimp this thing. Think of how bad DK1 was for Oculus, its probably worse than that for screen door effect.

  • KUKWES

    any moron including myself amongst the morons can do this…this is not news

  • Tommy

    Agreed. That is not VR.
    With the already low resolution on the Switch, I can’t imagine VR to be even mildy acceptable.

    • Harry Starzec

      The only thing I could see them doing that would not result in eye strain (due to weight and super low resolution) would be a USB-C solution like what LG did for their G5. But we all know how that turned out…

    • Replied elsewhere, but “What is VR” is an ongoing debate — with a tablet HMD the Switch can display 3D video content and with the Joycons attached 3DOF would likely be possible. Nintendo would need to throw some tech into an HMD of their own and perhaps offer an external tracker on a future Switch dock, but it’s totally possible.

      • Tommy

        I agree they could. We were referring to the 3D video from the article. Also, how poor VR would be on Switch.
        I hope they can pull it off though. I would buy a Switch to play Mario in VR!

        • The world isn’t ready for first-person goombas.

          • Tommy

            Hahaha, true

  • Brenden

    Why is this article so bad? I’d expect better from Upload VR, like say maybe recognizing what actually constitutes VR or not.

    • Replied to someone else below, but “What is VR” is an ongoing debate — with a tablet HMD the Switch can display 3D video content and with the Joycons attached 3DOF would likely be possible. Nintendo would need to throw some tech into an HMD of their own and perhaps offer an external tracker on a future Switch dock, but it’s totally possible.

      • Jeff Recobs

        You guys know the limitations just as well as we do. 500 pixels wide ain’t gonna cut the mustard. 90FPS per eye? Come on…we all know if anything this is gonna be bad for VR on the whole, because people are gonna watch this thing bellyflop and point at it and say Virtual Boy again..

    • daveinpublic

      Probably because they disregarded all technical reasoning to craft an article around an interesting title.

  • Gerald Terveen

    Yay 3D video playback on the switch … that will likely fuck with your visual perception given how the center of the image and the center of the lenses do not match.

    The switch can very well turn into a VR platform – but that headset will come with a screen of its own instead of utilizing the screen of the Switch that is just not a good choice for the task. It will also solve the input problem and potential heat problems – they might even throw in an extra power supply to get the Switch to run at full performance for VR.

    • Chris J Williams

      Nintendo will have to recreate a whole new switch and brand it the “Switch VR” beside the normal switch and it will have to be better probably have a better processor and we’ll everything and especially the screen. I don’t have one and I haven’t seen it in action but from everything I’ve gathered on everyone playing it were a whole lot of problems but everyone tries to sweep it all under a rug and say “oh no the switch ha ha the switch is fine there’s nothing wrong with it honest. It may be nice to play anywhere but I can play my PS4 on my Vita really any game except the vr ones of course but every game comes with remote play and if you have everything connected to the internet then you can play your PS4 from anywhere in the world as long as you have a good connection but still it works great I love my gadgets. I would like to have a switch too because Im not like everyone else who likes console wars and a big fanboy I want all gaming platforms but my pockets aren’t deep enough I guess lol I have to wait till I get bonuses and income tax before buying anything like my Vita psvr and most recently my PS4 PRO and my 25 games and counting. But I’ll have an Xbox Scorpio or a one a switch a Wii U a Wii and other Nintendos along with a built PC and all the old consoles. That’s my dream. If your a real gamer then you love all gaming devices seriously to play any game that comes out is the best feeling and I miss that feeling. Game on!

      • Ryan Nalod

        Even with a great connection (I’ve tried it on even a 500/500 connection at my work place), remote play sucks unless you are close to or in your own home due to latency. I guess a lot of gamers play on giant TV sets with lots of post-processing and just generally horrible input latency thus think remote play is a decent experience.

        • Gerald Terveen

          for VR remote play is no option right now – but I do hope we will solve the latency issue, the bandwidth seems to be solved for many places 🙂

      • Gerald Terveen

        care to explain why they will have to recreate that?

        from rendering monoscopic to working with a lower fov there are plenty of ways to get VR working within the performance envelope of the Switch.

        • Chris J Williams

          The switch wasn’t designed for be and it don’t split the screen and the screen anyways isnt but what a 720 p or so. They would have to creat another switch and put a better processor and everything to make be smooth and able to run without making people sick. They will have to make it atleast as good as the PSVR.

  • Shu Ran

    To the Question: what is Virtual Reality:

    Getting immersed in a “reality” that is virtual – a reality is more then a scene, it is more then watching a video. In the past we talked about “virtual worlds” now we talk about virtual reality and a reality transcends all. You can also say VR is more then one game, it is the sum off all games and experiences within its own system/universe. The Internet is such a space. You will find games, social apps, news, etc. there. The best shoot for a “virtual reality” will be Sansar or High Fidelity, most probably Sansar.

    As for the power and capability of the Switch to be a VR device – sure, why not, even an Amiga 500 with a 800×640 px monitor could be a VR device if you only want to render a 3d cube and if you are able to put the monitor infront of your face, so to say. Nothing against the Switch but with the 1 Terraflop it got.. It would only be able to play simplest games.. and for watching 360 Clips.. with the tablet and that resolution.. and why should Nintendo release a VR-HMD for the Switch with this specs and this “big success of VR” in 2017?

  • Marc

    Switch is 1 not powerful enough in the slightest, 2 the screen is garbage.

    Nintendo has shown to be a failure for the future of gaming only building to support a portable platform.

    • daveinpublic

      They tried creating the ‘most powerful’ gaming system of console wars, and it didn’t do much for them. They tried creating interesting new form factors, and that had varied success depending on how you look at it. I’m not sure what else you want them to do to prove they’re pushing the industry forward despite continually trying new things and having tried the most powerful console thing.

  • Paul Bryer

    You asked for my thoughts, so here we go…

    This is an incredibly misleading title: This video shows nothing, other than playing SBS 3D video on a device with a display screen in a VR headset appears 3D. This is not new information, and to call it VR in the context of a gaming system is, at best, an overreach.
    It also totally ignores the specs of the Switch screen, which are not up to par compared to every other commercially available alternative.

    Everything else in this article is purely speculative. I read your website for industry information on THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED, ARE IN DEVELOPMENT, OR HAVE ALREADY BEEN SHIPPED, AND ARE INFORMED BY PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE PRODUCTS INVOLVED. Please keep it this way.

  • Thomas Freitag

    I think it could work as a VR Device. An additional VR Headset could be quite cheap, like 50€. The 2 Joycons could work quite well as simple VR Controllers. The low resolution is an issue, but Nintendo could decrease the Field of View, so it would be less of an issue, also it would decrease Motion Sickness.

  • Buddydudeguy

    ugh. Smart phone “VR” and potentially this crap isn’t doing the Rift and Vive and favors. This will not be a quality experience. the damn console cant even handle breath of the wild at 30 fps without dipping let alone VR.

    • Candy Cab

      It doesn’t have to do Rift or Vive any favors as the people who are actually interested in buying the technology will look at every option open to them. VR sells itself to those interested so word of mouth means nothing.

      • Buddydudeguy

        If you say so. Meanwhile noobs think 360 videos are VR, try it and go ” VR sucks”.

  • I pointed this out elsewhere, but this has been used with the Nvidia Shield Tablet (close cousin to the Switch) and even Google’s Project Tango tablet – its main reason for existing. However I doubt this will be the direction Nintendo will go due to the size, weight and resolution. I see a lightweight, low cost HMD solution like the Sony Playstation, which you connect directly to the base station, allowing for a higher resolution screen to be supported, and a high sample rate external IMU, and even limited positional tracking to be added. If we keep the headset between the $200-$300 and at least 1080P, I can see this being used along with the BT handsets much like the Daydream controller. It is also worth noting since they switch tablet in the base allows for higher performance out of its NVIDIA TX1, this would be very much like what I have done with a modified kernel of the of NVIDIA Shield TV with promising results. If you question a low cost headset, it is known that the upcoming Microsoft Mixed Reality headsets coming out at the end of the year will be in the range of $299-$499 depending on resolution and manufacturer.