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Nintendo not a believer in current VR tech

Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime says the VR efforts so far are simply not fun

The entire industry is seemingly consumed with VR mania these days, and while virtual reality has been a big focus for many companies at this year's E3, Nintendo is certainly not one of them. In fact, Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime hasn't liked what he's seen so far in the field of VR.

"What we believe is that, in order for this technology to move forward, you need to make it fun and you need to make it social. I haven't walked the floor, so I can't say in terms of what's on the floor today, but at least based on what I've seen to date, it's not fun, and it's not social. It's just tech," he remarked to Polygon.

Of course, Nintendo was one of the first gaming companies to attempt any VR experimentation when it released the oft-derided Virtual Boy back in 1995. The monochromatic system was quickly discontinued only months after it launched. Nintendo has also played around with augmented reality efforts, offering AR games on the 3DS portable, but it's never been a major focus, and indeed the 3D aspect of the 3DS itself was downplayed after Nintendo witnessed a lack of excitement from consumers.

Needless to say, Nintendo's R&D group is always working on things, and for all we know the upcoming NX platform could offer some sort of VR, AR or both. "We have knowledge of the technical space, and we've been experimenting with this for a long, long time," Fils-Aime said.

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Latest comments (12)

James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada4 years ago
It's not fun? What? Nintendo, you're killing me here.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
@James: To Nintendo, a puppet show E3 presentation is FUN, so take that into consideration. :D
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James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada4 years ago
Haha, too true. For E3, I think Nintendo was -very- Nintendo, and was catering to more mainstream audiences, rather than the specialist game press. It was weird to my sensibilities, but that's nothing new from Nintendo :)
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Show all comments (12)
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
I think Nintendo will always put a fans-first attitude into what they do because despite what some of us think and write about them it's all those people who've been supporting the company for years as well as the new fans they get that are more important to them. Once you start making games for critics, to appeal to a small group of online ranters or just to win a bunch of awards, things get kind of weird and telegraphed (to some extent).

At least I think so.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.4 years ago
Think of their audience. Think of their local 4 player mentality. Think of their hardware price points. Think of their approach to 3D on the 3DS. Think of their approach to hardware specs.

An enclosed, wearable HMD, played by 1 person that requires $2,000 worth of hardware.... They tried something like that once. For all the low sales of Wii U, their Virtual Boy flopped harder than Microsoft Bob (look it up).

Don't expect Nintendo to touch the VR space until it becomes affordable, uses minimal resources and is social.
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I think we all understand that Nintendo is not happy being reminded of the painful flop and embracing back down they made with Virtual Boy - especially coming at a time when they seem to be weathering another flop with the Wii-U!!

Having to apologies for a lackluster E3, and now having to admit they will be placing content on mobile phones and other manufacturers platforms - must all come as hard blows; so any chance to be contraversal must rate highly at NoA (and Reggie needs the exposure)!

http://playeressence.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Reggie-Virtual-Boy-.jpg

There is a rumor doing the rounds that Nintendo Japan is looking at a new mixed-reality peripheral to launch for the home with their new console, so distancing themselves from the rash of VR interest may also be a important move for their future positioning in the market!
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
For all the low sales of Wii U, their Virtual Boy flopped harder than Microsoft Bob
@Jim: Or Sony's Polygon Man: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygon_Man
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
So .. let me get this straight.
With current VR tech .. you can't find any way to make it a fun and social experience? So all those people using it ... and having fun .. where not actually having fun. Guess this spoon in front of me .. must also not actually be spoon.

There are times that Nintendo makes some really ... really weird comments that I just can't comprehend or understand what it is they are thinking.
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Jon Martin4 years ago
Nintendo was wrong about setting up an online infrastructure, mobile gaming, HD graphics, the list goes on and on. Nintendo can't function as a modern console maker/videogame company when it refuses to just go along with the industry. The Wii U was a flop because it was underpowered, graphically, online, and had no third party titles. Nintendo just started making games in HD this generation, that's a serious problem.

Reggie does not make gamers excited, and either do 70 year old japanese men. Nintendo needs to get a grip and stop running a business like this, it's why they are failing.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.4 years ago
Nintendo was wrong about setting up an online infrastructure, mobile gaming, HD graphics, the list goes on and on. Nintendo can't function as a modern console maker/videogame company when it refuses to just go along with the industry. The Wii U was a flop because it was underpowered, graphically, online, and had no third party titles.
So explain the Wii again? You know that console that had a poor online infrastructure, no HD graphics, underpowered and didn't have 3rd party support yet went on to sell 100 million units in less than 5 years.
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Jeremy Glazman Programmer 4 years ago
So all those people using it ... and having fun .. where not actually having fun. Guess this spoon in front of me .. must also not actually be spoon.
But are they having fun? "Fun" is rarely the word I hear describing these experiences, it's mostly people being blown away by the technology and the 'presence', and maybe that's fun as a novelty but not in terms of something like Legend of Zelda. But so far only small demos have really been shown off, with little to no gameplay. Eve Valkyrie looks nice and launching out of the pad is really cool, but the game itself (at least the last version I saw) wasn't really fun yet. I'm sure fun and compelling experiences are coming, but even though it's probably just PR talk I can see where Fils-Aime is coming from.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeremy Glazman on 22nd June 2015 8:55am

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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
Harsh words but even the pioneers of modern day VR admit that it is expensive and lacking a killer app. Fun is definitely subjective at a point where there aren't that many VR ready games.
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