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Nintendo Explains Its Goals for Researching VR

The company wants to deal with issues from using VR for long periods of time.


While Nintendo pooh-poohed virtual reality for several years, it recently revealed--unsurprisingly--that it's in the process of researching VR. It's now opened up a bit more regarding what exactly it's looking into, though it still isn't offering any hard details regarding what its plans are for the technology at this point.

"We are well aware that other companies are developing games and game-related products using VR technologies, and that consumers are interested in all of this," Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said during a Q&A with investors. "I cannot say anything specific at this time, but understand that we also consider VR to be a promising technology, and we are conducting research with much interest."

VR was again brought up during a later question, prompting Shigeru Miyamoto to address the subject.

"As for VR, we are researching not just VR but [augmented reality] and many other technologies," he explained. "We have a range of core technology including 3D, and we are also considering the possibility of implementing these in our own hardware development.

"For VR in particular, we are continuing our research, and looking into development with a mind to how our current core products are meant to be played for a relatively long period of time. We are looking into the possibilities of providing an experience that gives value when played for a short time, and how to eliminate the concerns of long-duration use. We are also looking into how to make sure that a parent doesn't need to worry when their child puts on a VR device in their living room."

Miyamoto in 2014
Miyamoto in 2014

Miyamoto also discussed the presence of VR at this year's E3. While it was certainly there, with Batman: Arkham VR and VR support in games like Final Fantasy XV and Resident Evil 7 being showcased to varying degrees, it didn't necessarily stand out in the way one might expect.

"At this year's E3, I was on the show floor, and it did not feel like VR was that big of a topic," Miyamoto stated. "This could be because VR is not that much to look at for the spectator, even while it might be highly appreciated for the person actually experiencing it. It might also not be clear how the experience can be made into a product."

Miyamoto was famously photographed (above) trying out the Oculus Rift back at E3 in 2014. At the same event, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime was asked about VR, and he described it as "not being quite there yet" in terms of being able to offer a "fun, compelling experience." A year later, he doubled down on this, stating what he had seen from VR was neither fun nor social. Translated info from Nintendo's recent shareholders meeting then made their way online at the end of June, though the company itself only just published its official English transcript.

During the meeting, Nintendo also discussed the prospect of making movies.

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