Nintendo Explains Its Goals for Researching VR

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

22 Comments

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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vampyren

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For once I agree with Nintendo, everyone buying VR is basically beta testing and paying for a unfinished product. I bet in a year or two the headsets will be much slimmer and new technology will revive the need for several USBs among other things. I don't want to waste money on it now myself. Regular games are enough for my leisure time?

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TJDMHEM

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@vampyren: I also agree with Nintendo.

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megakick

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@TJDMHEM: VR is not new it is the same tech it just a lil bit more affordable.

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wookietim

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Edited By wookietim

I am not yet really sold on VR for games. There are a couple that show the techs promise but they feel a bit like they are about two generations from fulfilling that promise. So, for me, I will sit back and wait until it get's polished just a tad more.

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SkyHighGam3r

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I agree that VR just isn't that exciting... yet.

I do however want to play the Metroid Prime Trilogy in VR. THAT would make me buy a headset right now.

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so_hai

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so_hai  Online

Imagine the Virtual Boy themed retro release of their new technology...

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SkyHighGam3r

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Edited By SkyHighGam3r

@so_hai: There's a Virtual Boy Emulator that supports Stereoscopic 3D and I play it on an HMD that supports 3D
It seriously couldn't be any better lol.

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so_hai

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@skyhighgam3r: I meant a new piece of hardware with VirtualBoy styling - much like a NES styled Wii U or something like that...

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SkyHighGam3r

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@so_hai: No, I know. I was just saying you can get an awesome Virtual Boy experience like that right now.

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atherworld

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Considering the disaster that was The Virtual Boy, can't blame them. Once bitten, twice shy.

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lostn

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This is going to be vaporware. They're only saying they're researching it because they don't want to be seen like they're being left in the dust. Everyone else is on board, and they are paying lip service to it. They won't make anything. They will say they're researching it, but when asked they'll say they were unable to solve the issue of long gaming sessions, and then you never see anything.

It's Vitality Sensor 2.0, which they canceled because they could only get it working on 90% of people. Sure. Whatever.

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deactivated-58183aaaa31d8

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Long duration use isn't going to be a problem with the current game lineup.

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Kriket44

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I agree with Nintendo, that VR is not here yet. The headsets are bulky and are hard to play for long periods of time. It's basically the same technology from 20 years ago, with an updated graphics engine. At the same time, VR is promising. The full investments of all these companies will drive the technology forward and hopefully make it a more attractive and reasonable product. In a few years, VR could be a lot of fun. As it is right now, I'm not sold.

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snugglebear

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Miyamoto will personally solve the problem by just wearing costumes and gamboling in front of you.

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yencanwasu

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Their concern about the length of time a headset can be used I assume could be fixed by increasing the frames per second that the content is seen at on the screen, to more closely resemble what we see in the real world, as well as making the motion controls and movement associated with playing games in VR more lifelike and accurate as well. I will probably wait to get serious about VR until this content reaches 120fps per eye or even 240fps per eye, and I would really like to see VR experiences that more closely resemble the graphic fidelity of a game running on Xbox One or PS4.

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Hvac0120

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I could see Nintendo being the first to really hit that core Family audience in VR. They have the spirit of a toy company and they put that into most of their properties. We'll see how Nintendo approaches VR, but it'll probably be a long wait before we do. No reason to be first on this one (Virtual boy doesn't count!).

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hystavito

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@Hvac0120: Maybe, but I really think the mobile style VR is the one that has the best chance of going big mainstream.

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catsimboy

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"looking into development with a mind to how our current core products are meant to be played for a relatively long period of time" And yet you have nag messages in your non-VR games telling people to take a break.

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SkyHighGam3r

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@catsimboy: You realize that warning is present in some form for every video game since the 90s right?

Taking a 15 minute break every hour doesn't take away from the long-duration of play. It's just a break.

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

@skyhighgam3r: In Link Between Worlds when you went to save the game it literally pestered you to stop playing and take breaks.

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catsimboy

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@skyhighgam3r: I don't remember any games but Nintendo games being the ones that have messages that pop up to nag you like in Ocarina of Time 3D or all their games that look at the system clock and nag you for playing so late.

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SkyHighGam3r

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@catsimboy: lol I thought you meant the warning on boot and in the manual etc. I guess I've never played my 3DS for long enough to get the popup lol that is annoying as hell.

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