Nintendo: VR Isn't There Yet, We'll be on Board When it is

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Nintendo: VR Isn't There Yet, We'll be on Board When it is

Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime doesn't think virtual reality products such as the Oculus Rift are ready to hit the market.

Lots of people are getting pretty excited over Oculus's fast approaching Rift virtual reality headset, but Nintendo of American president Reggie Fils-Aime unfortunately isn't one of them. Fils-Aime says he can see the potential of VR, but doesn't think it's quite ready yet. He says that when it is ready, Nintendo will definitely be on board.

"For us, it's all about fun gameplay," Fils-Aime said at E3 according to the Associated Press. "That's what we want. We want a fun, compelling experience. Right now, the technology isn't quite there yet, in our view." Nintendo's own Shigeru Miyamoto was spotted trying out the Rift demo unit at this past E3, as you can see in the image to the right.

Fils-Aime went on to add that "Certainly, [VR is] something we're looking at," stating "We look at a wide range of technologies. When it's there and enables a fun experience, we'll be there, too." So, it looks as if Nintendo is going with the "wait-and-see" approach to VR, rather than diving in with its own competition.

Another reason Nintendo may not be too keen to jump into VR is the catastrophic failure that was the Virtual Boy. If any product was released with technology that "wasn't quite there yet," it was the Virtual Boy, so you can understand why Nintendo is playing this one a bit more cautiously.

Sony, meanwhile, is hard at work on its own virtual reality headset: Project Morpheus, while Microsoft has yet to weigh in with any sort of VR product.

Source: Game Spot

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Devices like the occulus are a niche fad. A very nice niche fad mind you but seriously. They will be the domain of people who:

Who do not Actually require glasses
Don't mind wearing what amounts to a sensory deprivation hood.

In short, when you're playing something like the occulus... you are basically blind to your environment, and perhaps deaf...

BigTuk:

In short, when you're playing something like the occulus... you are basically blind to your environment, and perhaps deaf...

In other words... the state you want to be in when you got your hands on your $200 racing wheel/flight stick and a hardcore simulator on the PC.

I certainly don't see this working for most of Nintendo's style, but I see it working for sim heads.

Yes it's a niche market, but that niche has repeatedly shown it self willing to plunk down 3 figures for peripherals, It'll likely work.

I honestly don't feel VR will really take off as anything more than a gimmick. It has interesting applications, I'll agree but as far as games go I'll say it does fall into the uncanny valley. I had opportunities to use various iterations of VR equipment that was in development in different periods, and each of those experiences were extremely disorienting.
I'm not saying it won't work correctly, but I don't think its going to be mainstream. Doesn't mean I think they shouldn't go ahead and develop these things, on the contrary this type of technology does have more applications than just gaming and I support the development of such.

NO, they'll be a gen behind and then offer it in a package that's not competitive with the contemporary hardware, and it will be considered "innovative" because they once messed around with a single-colour headset back in the days it was completely impactical.

TheSYLOH:

I certainly don't see this working for most of Nintendo's style, but I see it working for sim heads.

Yes, but will it reach a wide enough audience? Maybe I'm just speaking for my circle of friends, who can't put their phones down for three seconds, it seems like this is the opposite of what people will want.

Of course, they could integrate Facebook and Twitter and maybe people would never leave....

Zachary Amaranth:
NO, they'll be a gen behind and then offer it in a package that's not competitive with the contemporary hardware, and it will be considered "innovative" because they once messed around with a single-colour headset back in the days it was completely impactical.

TheSYLOH:

I certainly don't see this working for most of Nintendo's style, but I see it working for sim heads.

Yes, but will it reach a wide enough audience? Maybe I'm just speaking for my circle of friends, who can't put their phones down for three seconds, it seems like this is the opposite of what people will want.

Of course, they could integrate Facebook and Twitter and maybe people would never leave....

you know I was going to ask if you had seen "gamer"...the social networking bit on that movie definitely would attract quite some people (especially the role playing part of it I'm sure.)

Also, put minecraft on there, and you'll have waves of people coming to it for that alone. I'm not a huge minecraft fan, but you can't ignore the ridiculous audience it has.

OT: Well no shit you will be on board when it is, nintendo has to squeeze every ounce of "innovation" out of everything it possibly can, regardless of feedback on it. Unless it becomes super cheap I don't see this being feasible for them with all the games they typically do, especially making it a requirement part of a console (easier to work with on a pc since that's where all the simulator games go, which is who would probably want this the most) but what the hell, would be better than the waggling dildo remotes last gen.

VR isnt there yet but tablet controllers are?

ok that was a cheap shot, sorry

its their opinion, but they are going to miss out

Anyone else starting to feel that people saying 'I don't think x technology will be anything more than a gimmick' is getting to feel very hipster-ish?

Anyways, in Nintendo's case they generally don't make the sort of games that could make use of VR... but in my opinion if they could make a new Metroid Prime with it that would be absolutely amazing!

Well Nintendo I'd just like to remind you that Valve approached microsoft about helping to develop steam. Microsoft said that sort of technology was at least 5 years away. Valve released steam anyways and then five years later the orange box which has driven steam to be the giant in the digital distribution it is today.

If you wait for the tech to be there, you might develop your own product and find someone has already gobbled up all the market. Just look at Windows Live, Origin, and Uplay. They might sell stuff occasionally but they aren't steam.

BigTuk:
Devices like the occulus are a niche fad. A very nice niche fad mind you but seriously. They will be the domain of people who:

Who do not Actually require glasses
Don't mind wearing what amounts to a sensory deprivation hood.

In short, when you're playing something like the occulus... you are basically blind to your environment, and perhaps deaf...

To the first two sentences I say this was exactly how I felt from the start about the 3DS. The rest is kind of similar to how I feel even now; it's a limited gimmick for a niche. It hasn't been well utilized outside of adding an unnecessary or mostly irrelevant dressing to games, the 3D itself is iffy and easily broken. As they say it "isn't there yet".

Why that would stop them now is confusing, but outside of press like this I figure there's some hidden internal reasoning behind it, and maybe none too much of it about the technical aspects or limitations.

I see much more potential in this (despite facebook bullshit) than in motion control, stylus control, or 3D. I can imagine the total immersion in a lot of games I've enjoyed, this is why I loved Descent as a kid and wanted more than anything to really experience the cockpit. Mirror's Edge, Skyrim, Resident Evil; my mouth is watering at the things this could change (not necessarily improve, just change).

Well none of the consoles are capable of VR anyway so he's not wrong.

It's true. The current VR fad is the same as the 90's VR fad, just with better visuals. It's all niche stuff.

Even when they develop full tactile feedback, it'll still be niche because a controller with buttons or keyboard and mouse, will always be faster, more effecient, and more accurate than waving your hands and head around to do the same thing.

Though the moment they can harness full feedback with a virtual world where you can be anything you want and R34 is possible, I'll buy the gear and never leave.

There are still too many problems with the current VR shit, its likely it will just burn out with out really anything worthwhile coming from it just like all the other times we where on the edge of the VR breakthrough.

NuclearKangaroo:
VR isnt there yet but tablet controllers are?

ok that was a cheap shot, sorry

its their opinion, but they are going to miss out

I agree with Reggie on this, head sets like the rift feel more like a part of a greater whole we dont have yet.

RandV80:
Anyone else starting to feel that people saying 'I don't think x technology will be anything more than a gimmick' is getting to feel very hipster-ish?

Anyways, in Nintendo's case they generally don't make the sort of games that could make use of VR... but in my opinion if they could make a new Metroid Prime with it that would be absolutely amazing!

I agree with both your points.
OT If you count the Virtual Boy as a VR Headset, Nintendo has already played the field before and burned terribly. If anything I'm predicting the Oculus to be a hit given the past with other innovations/peripherals.
i.e. The Powerglove being an early motion control thing, didn't work right and decades later the Nintendo Wii (while slightly wonky) was a huge hit.

VR will absolutely be a niche, but on the long term I still expect it to be a bit bigger than the console gaming niche.

RandV80:
Anyone else starting to feel that people saying 'I don't think x technology will be anything more than a gimmick' is getting to feel very hipster-ish?

Err what? You got it reversed there, those slathering over VR are what you'd call hipsters.
Just like with 3D.

Alterego-X:
VR will absolutely be a niche, but on the long term I still expect it to be a bit bigger than the console gaming niche.

So you're telling me they are going to get millions (10s to 100s) of VR goggles into peoples homes? In the span of what? 200 years?

Rozalia1:

So you're telling me they are going to get millions (10s to 100s) of VR goggles into peoples homes? In the span of what? 200 years?

I agree with their official analysis of the CV1 selling just above 1 million units, but it will have next generations much quicker than consoles do, each with more ways of being a self-evidently superior medium compared to TV screens.

RandV80:
Anyone else starting to feel that people saying 'I don't think x technology will be anything more than a gimmick' is getting to feel very hipster-ish?

Anyways, in Nintendo's case they generally don't make the sort of games that could make use of VR... but in my opinion if they could make a new Metroid Prime with it that would be absolutely amazing!

Yes, 100% agreed, all of the above.

People are throwing the words "gimmick" and "fad" around far too carelessly. VR is not a fad, the pet rock was a fad, the mohawk hairstyle was a fad, vr is a technology and even if it never catches on it will not have been a fad, anymore than Betamax was a fad. It's also not a gimmick. A gimmick is a feature thrown onto a device purely for the sake of making it stand out but with little to no relevance or usefulness. That's the dictionary definition, look it up, and VR definitely isn't a feature that exists solely to sell a product. It's a feature that exists for it's own sake, even if it ends up not being worthwhile to most people.

Now I find it somewhat strange and ironic that Nintendo of all people would say VR isn't there yet when they've been on the leading edge when it comes to new hardware ideas that had not yet been tried. A lot of people said motion controls weren't there yet with the Wii, and frankly they were right, but Nintendo was willing to try it.

That said, Nintendo is kinda the last bastion of local multiplayer and coop and VR couldn't be less friendly on that end.

Considering you need to produce two images at 1080p and 60FPS, it's not like Nintendo actually have a choice.

Nintendo hasn't made a good hardware decision in over a decade. Them saying they don't like it doesn't mean anything.

Rozalia1:

RandV80:
Anyone else starting to feel that people saying 'I don't think x technology will be anything more than a gimmick' is getting to feel very hipster-ish?

Err what? You got it reversed there, those slathering over VR are what you'd call hipsters.
Just like with 3D.

No, I think you got it reversed. People who slather over new technology are what we call "early adopters"

Hipsters are people who slather over things that are clearly retro or vintage.

BrotherRool:
Considering you need to produce two images at 1080p and 60FPS, it's not like Nintendo actually have a choice.

You mean like almost every game on the Wii U?

It has more games running 1080p @ 60FPS than the Xbox One... just FYI.

And moving forward that only looks to be on the rise, Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors and almost every Nintendo first party title are set to be in 1080p @ 60FPS

Rozalia1:

RandV80:
Anyone else starting to feel that people saying 'I don't think x technology will be anything more than a gimmick' is getting to feel very hipster-ish?

Err what? You got it reversed there, those slathering over VR are what you'd call hipsters.
Just like with 3D.

Actually, there's a term for people that adopt new developments in technology early. It's not hipster, but I can't quite put my finger on it. It's on the tip of my tongue, really...

Honestly, though, the Oculus Rift is definitely going to be niche. It(and other future HMDs) aren't likely to be a fad though. There is a definite market for such devices, particularly among sim enthusiasts that either can't afford or haven't room to build a full fledged simpit with surround displays. It's the same market that is currently using TrackIR for positional head tracking(and given that they are on their 5th hardware version, the market is obviously enough to turn a profit).

In other words, it may not be for you, but that's just because you don't get it, man.

Wait. What was that about hipsters again?

Mcoffey:
Nintendo hasn't made a good hardware decision in over a decade. Them saying they don't like it doesn't mean anything.

The touchscreen wasn't a good hardware decision? Nintendo obviously thinks it was.

BrotherRool:
Considering you need to produce two images at 1080p and 60FPS, it's not like Nintendo actually have a choice.

Why does it need to be 60 FPS? Why does it even need to be 1080p for that matter?

Also, the WiiU has lots of 1080p 60fps games, and supports 2 screens. The cartoony aesthetic many of it's games have actually lets it get away with higher resolutions and framerates than the competing consoles. If the other current gen consoles can support VR then Nintendo can.

Let us all hope it'll never get there.

I can't think of a worse way to play games than to have my eyeballs shoved against an LCD screen. To have my senses be taken away yet be fully aware that what I'm expreriencing isn't real.

At best I can see this go the way of 3D; That little bit of gimmicky extra for the people who want it. That is if the industry isn't going to force this shit on us... like 3D. :(

Olas:

Mcoffey:
Nintendo hasn't made a good hardware decision in over a decade. Them saying they don't like it doesn't mean anything.

The touchscreen wasn't a good hardware decision? Nintendo obviously thinks it was.

The touch screen as implemented in the DS? Yeah, not that great. Most of the time the game was better off when it completely ignored it. At best it was vestigial, only useful for looking at menus at the same time as gameplay (Neat but doesn't justify the second screen), and at worst it was a hindrance that was forced on the player (Both of the DS Zelda games were worse off by forcing touch screen controls).
Nintendo thinks it's a good idea, because of course they do. Just brings me back to my original point.

That said, it's use in many of the 3DS games I've played is more enjoyable, but only because they haven't used shitty gimmicks and mostly stick with my above "At Best", and keep it for maps and menus. Still doesn't justify it's existence, and has never made me say "Okay, I could not have had this great experience without the touch screen".

Olas:

BrotherRool:
Considering you need to produce two images at 1080p and 60FPS, it's not like Nintendo actually have a choice.

Why does it need to be 60 FPS? Why does it even need to be 1080p for that matter?

Also, the WiiU has lots of 1080p 60fps games, and supports 2 screens. The cartoony aesthetic many of it's games have actually lets it get away with higher resolutions and framerates than the competing consoles. If the other current gen consoles can support VR then Nintendo can.

Basically, when you're sticking a screen right in front of your eyeballs and it's tricky your eyes into believing you're actually there, graphical fidelity is hugely important. If the framerate isn't consistent and very high then your brain won't be able to figure out whats going on with the image and it will give you motion sickness as a result.

As for 1080p, the VR trick doesn't even work without it. The closer your face is to a screen, the smaller the pixels need to be in order for them to not be visible. When the screen is literally strapped to your eyes the pixels are really obvious on anything less than 1080p. If your brain can clearly see the pixels then it doesn't get tricked into believe it's in another space.

VR isn't just like a really nice screen, the way your brain treats VR is completely different from the way it responds to a TV image, and this creates a lot of new technical demands that are very challenging and not completely solved yet. Shamus Young from Experienced Points has gone into some of the problems this introduces into game making. For example, if you're game is running along normally and but it's a little slow in crunching the numbers for something, then traditionally a game developer would tell the game to repeat the last image and wait for the new numbers before sending the next one. But if the frame rate drops in VR the brain gets confused and becomes motion sick.

The Wii U supports two screens, but it doesn't create two incredibly detailed separate images on both of them, it's a very different proposition. The Wii U can get games to run at 1080p and 60FPS with good programming and optimisation and art style right now, but getting it to run on an Oculus Rift is literally twice as hard as that. I think this is one of the reasons that LAN really halted on the 360 and PS3, because they were working so hard to get to their HD targets they didn't have system resources left to process a second image. (Even if both images needed only half as many pixels)

The Wii U has a lot less system resources than the PS4 and Xbox One. Whilst it's possible that with clever programming and good art decisions you might be able to make a PS4 or Xbox One game run twice as well and keep the 1080p and 60FPS, the Wii U has already had to make those compromises to get to the 1080p and 60FPS in the first place.

Casual Shinji:
Let us all hope it'll never get there.

I can't think of a worse way to play games than to have my eyeballs shoved against an LCD screen.

There is a fine line between being sceptical, and being so malicious that you actively HOPE that your scepticism will turn out to be justified.

How about we hope it WILL get there to the point where it doesn't really feel the way you just interpreted it, while we stay prepared for the worse alternative too?

If you are right about inherent problems with VR, then you have nothing to fear or hope, because it will never in fact be "There". And if it does get "There", then you don't have to worry about anyone forcing "this shit on us like 3D", because it will not be shit, will not be like 3D, and will not be forced but demanded by people like you.

Mcoffey:

Olas:

Mcoffey:
Nintendo hasn't made a good hardware decision in over a decade. Them saying they don't like it doesn't mean anything.

The touchscreen wasn't a good hardware decision? Nintendo obviously thinks it was.

The touch screen as implemented in the DS? Yeah, not that great. Most of the time the game was better off when it completely ignored it. At best it was vestigial, only useful for looking at menus at the same time as gameplay (Neat but doesn't justify the second screen), and at worst it was a hindrance that was forced on the player (Both of the DS Zelda games were worse off by forcing touch screen controls).
Nintendo thinks it's a good idea, because of course they do. Just brings me back to my original point.

That said, it's use in many of the 3DS games I've played is more enjoyable, but only because they haven't used shitty gimmicks and mostly stick with my above "At Best", and keep it for maps and menus. Still doesn't justify it's existence, and has never made me say "Okay, I could not have had this great experience without the touch screen".

Vestigial at best? A whole lot of great DS games would have been virtually unplayable without it, Kirby Canvas Curse, Scribblenauts, Elite Beat Agents, Meteos. The touchscreen made those games. Some games implemented it poorly, which often happens when the idea is new, but poor implementation is not the fault of hardware.

BigTuk:
Devices like the occulus are a niche fad. A very nice niche fad mind you but seriously. They will be the domain of people who:

Who do not Actually require glasses
Don't mind wearing what amounts to a sensory deprivation hood.

In short, when you're playing something like the occulus... you are basically blind to your environment, and perhaps deaf...

Glasses, fair point. But as someone who mostly plays games alone, sensory deprivation would be fantastic. It's in the name of the website. That's what I'm there for.

OT: Let the others take the risk and make a Nintendo version when it gets practical, actually a good idea. Surprising coming from the company who will pretty reliably go big on a gimmick, but probably the best course of action honestly.

Olas:

Mcoffey:

Olas:

The touchscreen wasn't a good hardware decision? Nintendo obviously thinks it was.

The touch screen as implemented in the DS? Yeah, not that great. Most of the time the game was better off when it completely ignored it. At best it was vestigial, only useful for looking at menus at the same time as gameplay (Neat but doesn't justify the second screen), and at worst it was a hindrance that was forced on the player (Both of the DS Zelda games were worse off by forcing touch screen controls).
Nintendo thinks it's a good idea, because of course they do. Just brings me back to my original point.

That said, it's use in many of the 3DS games I've played is more enjoyable, but only because they haven't used shitty gimmicks and mostly stick with my above "At Best", and keep it for maps and menus. Still doesn't justify it's existence, and has never made me say "Okay, I could not have had this great experience without the touch screen".

Vestigial at best? A whole lot of great DS games would have been virtually unplayable without it, Kirby Canvas Curse, Scribblenauts, Elite Beat Agents, Meteos. The touchscreen made those games. Some games implemented it poorly, which often happens when the idea is new, but poor implementation is not the fault of hardware.

Meteos and Scribblenauts are both multiplatform games, and they both did just fine without the touchscreen. Elite Beat Agents is just Guitar Hero, and doesn't do anything that couldn't have been done with a gamepad. Kirby is the only one that needed the Touchscreen, and even then it wasn't a good game, as most games built around gimmicks aren't.

Alterego-X:
If you are right about inherent problems with VR, then you have nothing to fear or hope, because it will never in fact be "There". And if it does get "There", then you don't have to worry about anyone forcing "this shit on us like 3D", because it will not be shit, will not be like 3D, and will not be forced but demanded by people like you.

And yet 3D is still forced on us despite adding nothing of value. Just because something doesn't work doesn't mean publishers won't try their damnedest to make us use it anyway if they think it'll add an extra buck.

RandV80:
Anyone else starting to feel that people saying 'I don't think x technology will be anything more than a gimmick' is getting to feel very hipster-ish?

I don't know, anyone starting to feel people saying "This is going to be totally awesome" is starting to feel rather fanboy-ish?

Some of us are just more cautious about it, and really, I don't think VR becoming mainstream at this point would be a good thing (as was noted, people with glasses, and the entire OR set is kind of heavy to wear for a while, stuff like that...). 'sides, keeping up with one reality is hard work, switching between two sets of sensory inputs would just give me a headache >.>

MeChaNiZ3D:

Glasses, fair point. But as someone who mostly plays games alone, sensory deprivation would be fantastic. It's in the name of the website. That's what I'm there for.

I don't agree, even in escapism I like to keep at least one foot in reality, just in case something comes up. Reality's a tricky and impatient creature. So yeah, turning my brain to autopilot and just getting myself distracted with some gaming is great, but I like to keep enough awareness of my surroundings to be ready to spring into action should I be required to.

BrotherRool:

Olas:

BrotherRool:
Considering you need to produce two images at 1080p and 60FPS, it's not like Nintendo actually have a choice.

Why does it need to be 60 FPS? Why does it even need to be 1080p for that matter?

Also, the WiiU has lots of 1080p 60fps games, and supports 2 screens. The cartoony aesthetic many of it's games have actually lets it get away with higher resolutions and framerates than the competing consoles. If the other current gen consoles can support VR then Nintendo can.

Basically, when you're sticking a screen right in front of your eyeballs and it's tricky your eyes into believing you're actually there, graphical fidelity is hugely important. If the framerate isn't consistent and very high then your brain won't be able to figure out whats going on with the image and it will give you motion sickness as a result.

Eh, I can believe the framerate needs to be consistent, but as far as needing to be 60fps or higher? I'll believe it when I experience it.

As for 1080p, the VR trick doesn't even work without it. The closer your face is to a screen, the smaller the pixels need to be in order for them to not be visible. When the screen is literally strapped to your eyes the pixels are really obvious on anything less than 1080p. If your brain can clearly see the pixels then it doesn't get tricked into believe it's in another space.

Why is 1080p suddenly the benchmark? I would think even 1080p would be far too low if you truly want to fool the eyes, I'm not even sure 4k would do it. So you're saying that 1080p, which just so happens to be an industry standard for displays, is also coincidentally the lowest possible resolution that would work and anything lower would break the experience? I'm doubtful to say the least. I'm sure 1080p is better than 720p, and I would think 4k or 10k would be better than 1080, but it seems much more like it would be on a sliding scale than have a breaking point.

The Wii U supports two screens, but it doesn't create two incredibly detailed separate images on both of them, it's a very different proposition. The Wii U can get games to run at 1080p and 60FPS with good programming and optimisation and art style right now, but getting it to run on an Oculus Rift is literally twice as hard as that. I think this is one of the reasons that LAN really halted on the 360 and PS3, because they were working so hard to get to their HD targets they didn't have system resources left to process a second image. (Even if both images needed only half as many pixels)

You say it's literally twice as hard, but that sounds like complete bullshit to me. Both images are nearly the same, they're just rendered from slightly different angles. You're saying the system needs to perform every single calculation in the game twice for that? Give me a break.

The Wii U has a lot less system resources than the PS4 and Xbox One. Whilst it's possible that with clever programming and good art decisions you might be able to make a PS4 or Xbox One game run twice as well and keep the 1080p and 60FPS, the Wii U has already had to make those compromises to get to the 1080p and 60FPS in the first place.

Considering the fact that games like Doom and Minecraft are being made for Occulus, I don't think the outcry will be too terrible if Nintendo's games look a bit worse than whatever the others can do. If the scale truly is 2:1 across the board then Nintendo will be at the exact same disadvantage they're already at in terms of graphics.

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