Nintendo’s been flirting with VR functionality on the Switch for a while now. There was that patent that surfaced last year, then this recent interview with Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima stating the company was currently “studying” the viability of VR on the Switch.
But Nintendo fans aren’t the type to wait around. Dream-realizer Nintendrew took matters into his own hands by hacking the console and testing its VR capabilities in a YouTube demo. After attaching a Switch to a Durovis Dive 7 headset, Nintendrew hijacked the Switch’s web browser to display side-by-side 3D 720p footage of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS remake. And low and behold: Switch VR was born.
Don’t get too excited, though. The home setup pointed out some technical limitations. The nature of stereoscopic 3D and the size of the Switch’s screen mean it can only currently display at the low resolution of 500px across.
As Nintendrew argues, though, this doesn’t mean Nintendo is out of the VR game. They’re a company known for doing the exact opposite of everyone else. In the 2006 console wars, while Microsoft and Sony chased technically robust hardware, Nintendo opted to innovate with cheap motion sensor controllers. And, considering the Wii sold over 20 million more units than the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, I’d say they won that gamble.
It’s easy to imagine Nintendo pulling a similar out-of-left-field move in the VR race. While everyone else scrambles for graphical fidelity, Nintendo could be hard at work on a cheap, low-res solution. In part, the Wii sold so well because it was $50-$200 cheaper than its competitors. And, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but one of VR’s biggest problems right now is that no one can afford it.