There’s a lot we still don’t know about Nintendo’s latest console, most of which will likely be revealed in their upcoming presentation. One thing in particular has gotten people talking, and that’s as to whether or not Nintendo will hop on board the VR train with Sony and Microsoft. Of course Nintendo is known for their failed attempt with the Virtual Boy in the past and there’s no doubt they could make a better attempt at it today, but it still feels like it’s too early for Nintendo to dive into VR seriously. It’s not just that Nintendo’s console that isn’t ready, which has yet to be seen, but VR as a whole still has a way to go before it’s more than just gimmicky.
The Switch is Nintendo’s console that needs to make up for the many mistakes they made with the Wii U. While VR is a possibility for the future, it isn’t a necessity by any means. Nintendo likely knows it would be better to focus on offering a good lineup of games, both first and third party, instead of trying to integrate with VR which is still be considered by many to be an in development technology. Many VR setups are expensive where they are and would only reach a very small portion of Nintendo’s overall audience at the current $600 and above price tag. Trying to release VR on the Switch now would be a bigger flop than the Wii U by a large margin, and likely would be canceled before it really took off.
PlayStation, VIVE and other VR sets are seeing a decline in sales because the people who are interested have already bought theirs and a large amount of the gaming audience just isn’t moving forward with it until it comes with more benefits. Not to mention many PC versions of VR needing an incredibly powerful computer to even use, meaning it just isn’t quite the upgrade many people thought it would be. Even the Final Fantasy XV VR experience, which was supposed to be released at the same time as the full game, has yet to even have a hint of a release date. This might clue at Sony realizing that their VR set isn’t meeting their expectations and they may be quick to abandon it until they can make it better.
It’s not uncommon to see people talking about how VR will be the next step in gaming, but right now it’s impossible to take that step when simply grabbing a controller is still giving players a more expansive experience. VR might eventually get to the point where it will be found in every household, but it needs to first get out of the beta-testing feel it has right now. VR was hyped up quite a bit through 2016, but has still not made that huge impact that gamers wanted. It’s made for some great enjoyable moments, but isn’t quite the game changer it was meant to be just yet.
The most important thing for the Switch right now is stability, but VR on it would instantly be niche and likely last about as long as Nintendo’s Virtual Boy unless they were able to make it less expensive than the Switch itself. The Switch has already set itself apart from Xbox and PlayStation with its handheld aspect while still looking like an enjoyable home console. The handheld gimmick this time seems like it has a chance of working out, but trying to move into VR is still too early for Nintendo. The VR rumors surrounding the Switch should remain just that, since Nintendo needs to focus more than anything on luring the part of their fanbase they lost with the Wii U with a hopeful success with the Switch.