Sections

VR not ready for the mainstream - Fils-Aime

Nintendo of America president says the company will adopt VR once it's mass market approachable

Last year at E3, the biggest complaint Nintendo president and CEO Reggie Fils-Aime had about virtual reality was that it simply wasn't fun. That may have changed a bit, because as Fils-Aime told Bloomberg West yesterday, his concern about VR now is about how mass market the tech can be.

"In my judgment, I think VR is a bit further out there for mainstream, mass market applications and applications that consumers can invest a lot of time in versus short snacks of entertainment," Fils-Aime said.

He preceded that remark by cautioning that he hasn't seen everything new about VR at this year's E3, but had previous experience with just about everything else previously announced. He also prefaced his remarks with a more general statement about Nintendo's approach to any new tech.

"For us, we want to make sure that technology is mainstream," Fils-Aime said. "We want to make sure the technology represents strong value to the consumer. So as an example, there was a lot of gyroscopic technology out there in the marketplace, but it really took the Wii and the Wii Remote to really make it mainstream. Even going back all the way back to the Nintendo DS, that was the first electronic device that really made extensive use of a touchscreen.

"So the way we look at VR or even AR, which we do have within our Nintendo 3DS system, for us the technology has to be at a point where it can be mainstream, and then it takes content creating companies like us to really make things that the consumer wants to experience, that they want to jump into the particular technology. That's how we move it forward. We've been looking at the VR space since the days of the Virtual Boy. With us, we want to make sure that our next content is going to be mainstream and mass market approachable, and when something like VR is at that point, you can expect Nintendo to be there."

Related stories

Nintendo continues marginal improvements to ethical mineral sourcing

Switch maker says it's "putting smiles on the faces of our supply chain," but efforts to ensure it isn't funding human rights abuses far from complete

By Rebekah Valentine

ELeague to broadcast Nintendo 2019 World Championships on CBS

Three-episode series to air summer competitions in Splatoon 2, Super Mario Maker 2, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

By Rebekah Valentine

Latest comments (17)

Daniel Trezub QA Analyst, Ludia3 years ago
Sounds like a shift in perspective for me. The Wii made motion controllers mainstream. It wasn't mainstream before.
Now Nintendo will wait that other companies will make VR mainstream and then they will hop in the train? Looks like the full-HD case. Let others do the hard work and we'll profit from it later.
For a company that boosts itself so much around innovation, it's weird.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Carson Taylor Junior Project Manager, Electronic Arts3 years ago
To me, it sounded like he wants to follow the same strategy as they did with the Wii and motion controllers: take technology that is proven and works well, and adapt it for a mainstream audience. He just doesn't think VR is quite at that point yet; it's still too new even for Nintendo to make it mainstream at the moment.
6Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Ben Link Video Game Enthusiast and Graphic Artist 3 years ago
I find this hilarious. Over the past few years, Nintendo has become the opposite of main stream. But now they will own VR when it becomes mainstream? Seems backwards to me.

They have 10-12 million hardcore fans that will buy whatever they dish out. Seems like they could hit that market.
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (17)
Emmanuel Dorée Studying Software Engineering, Open University3 years ago
While it was a shame that they didn't jump in when HD was blooming that still did not prevent them from succeeding with the Wii. But this time around not jumping in with VR is indeed the wisest move. You need very expensive technology and this technology is not even optimal yet (image quality still lacking, cables everywhere, the input methods are still experimental...). It's definitely wiser to wait. This will allows the technology to improve and to become cheaper and see if it indeed prevails.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Emmanuel Dorée on 16th June 2016 7:30pm

5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jordan Lund Columnist 3 years ago
Nintendo is an odd duck. Everyone talks about how they embraced motion controls, but look at all the tech they only adopted when they were forced to:

Disc based games - a generation late. Component cables - 2 generations late. HD video, 2 generations late. Networking - Well, we're still waiting for proper networking. DVD/Blu Ray? Hello? Bueller, Bueller?
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Bob Johnson Studying graphics design, Northern Arizona University3 years ago
He's just saying VR is too expensive which we all know it is.
9Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Kenneth Bruton Producer 3 years ago
Nintendo did VR first...anyone remember the Virtual Boy system? it came out in '95 from the (late) creator Gumpei Yokoi, to fill in the gap between systems (the soon-to come N64) It was red, and had a stand, the graphics were monocrome (red and black) and is now a collectors item. One of the first failures for Nintendo. Frankly, they should revisit it, but in color, this time...However, I do agree that VR, at this time, is more of a luxury item than early adopters would like to admit. I mean, it is a console itself, but needs the console for software, so, the hardware has to, as a result, get a jolt in power to sustain the graphical capabilities...expensive!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kenneth Bruton on 16th June 2016 9:57pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
Now Nintendo will wait that other companies will make VR mainstream and then they will hop in the train? Looks like the full-HD case. Let others do the hard work and we'll profit from it later.
They did the same thing with amiibo's. They waited until Skylanders and Disney Infinity were successful before jumping into the Toys-To-Life arena.
For a company that boosts itself so much around innovation, it's weird.
Nintendo really hasn't been very innovative in the console/handheld space for several years now.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Roberto Dillon Associate Professor, James Cook University3 years ago
From Nintendo's perspective it's perfectly understandable: everyone was crazy about tablets so they made a tablet-based system right away and that failed badly. Then tech executives were crazy about 3D so they made a 3D handheld, which was successful *despite* and not *thanks to* its 3D capabilities. It's only natural that now they are happy to let somebody else try the new "hyped" tech first and, eventually, follow suit later. Unfortunately, this might have actually been the right tech to pioneer before the competition... but we will know this only after the PSVR launch and initial reception.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Roberto Dillon on 17th June 2016 6:16am

2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
James Coote Independent Game Developer 3 years ago
The alternative theory is that Nintendo don't see VR going mainstream. Will there ever be a VR experience (including donning the headset and all the rigmarole around setting up to play) that can be described as "cute"?
4Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 3 years ago
@Jordan

The reason Nintrndo hasn't adopted FVD/Blu support is fairly straightforward. It adds essentially zero to their bottom line. One thing you have to remember is that Nintendo designs for the Japanese living room. The WIIU for example is designed around the communal living room/sleeping space reality in many Japanese apartments. There is a single television, and this way little Akira can play his games and watch his shows (original intended feature that I don't remember if it actually happened$ while Mom and dad watch the news.

Unfortunately Akira was already playing on his iPad and didn't notice.

DVD and Blu-Tay playback cost money. That's why the bigwigs make you download the app, because until you do they don't have to pay. $3-$5 a unit. Additionally this would likely require Nintendonto outsource its development due to security protocols. You should see what they're doing with UHD. None of this is Nintendo even remotely equipped to implement and support.

In this case, the best thing for them to do is what they're allegedly doing: make sure something like GearVR can connect and let others do the work. The PS4 and the X1 can't do Proper VR even in Neo format, and by all accounts the NX isn't going to even hit the One in terms of performance (the idea that they bailed for NVIDIA holds a lot of water for me). So why even bother to enter that complication with teams that are barely up to speed on HD graphics? Nintendo trains from within, and it just seems to me to be a distraction when they're already learning Nvidia or x86 depending on which tumors to believe.

Nintendinid also about social interaction, augmented reality like Hololens or s google glass is far more in their wheelhouse Theyrr definitely far more interested in Pokemon battling on the coffee table ;)
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Richard Browne Head of External Projects, Digital Extremes3 years ago
I totally agree with Reggie, not from a technology front but on a pricing front, totally agree. Nintendo aren't in the business of selling an $800-900 console, that is NOT mainstream, it's not FAMILY for sure ; arguably VR is incredibly anti-family. Sony is trying to get around that with their playground VR game, but still, person with VR helmet is detached from the World and everyone else can just strap their motion controllers around the dog's collar and go down the pub for a laugh. Microsoft seem to be waiting to holiday 2017, I can see Nintendo waiting longer to see where the adoption of VR/AR goes.
5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Not ready for VR?, what nonsense, try preordering a sony vr for example. The demand was so big in March , all retailers stopped taking preorders, You cant even pay full price right now and pre pay for a system.
arguably VR is incredibly anti-family.
you mean anti social/family like cellphones, which have basically anyone under 30 staring 24/7 at their phones. Yeah, pretty sure the anti social aspect hasnt hurt sales in the cell phone industry.I hate what cell phones have done to the family, people under 30 are losing the ability to master the art of conversation... yet the cell phone sales go on

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 17th June 2016 5:30pm

1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop3 years ago
what nonsense, try preordering a sony vr for example. The demand was so big in March , all retailers stopped taking preorders
Yeah it's really popular amongst the hardcore enthusiasts. That's not mainstream.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
@Jeff: Yes indeed, off-TV play is on the Wii U for many games that don't require both the GamePad and TV to play. It works quite well, too.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Christophe Danguien games developer 3 years ago
"Not ready for VR?, what nonsense, try preordering a sony vr for example. The demand was so big in March , all retailers stopped taking preorders, You cant even pay full price right now and pre pay for a system."
Artificially reducing the number of Headset available to create a demand is not the same as real mainstream. I thought you'd know that by now, with each console Sony produced, they used this same strategy...
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
I thought you'd know that by now, with each console Sony produced, they used this same strategy... so following your logic, you suggest that none of Sony's console were ever mainstream?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.