Days before, Nintendo released a promotional video of a new Switch accessory for fitness purposes, which will be officially unveiled on September 12, 2019. A day later, news on the updated Joy-Con controllers that you can bend, which should contribute to intuitive gameplay came up. This time again news about the Nintendo Switch, but in the form of a Virtual Reality headset has arrived.
It has been talked about for a long time that Nintendo wants to release a VR headset for its popular console. Partly because the company added a ‘VR mode’ to the console’s operating system itself last year. In March this year, it was time, the Japanese game manufacturer released a VR device in the form of a Lab VR package.
For many this was a disappointment, after all, you have to take a considerable time to assemble the headset. Moreover, Labo is really meant for children, while you can ask yourself at VR whether this is really suitable for young children. A new patent shows that Nintendo is still investigating new VR possibilities for the Switch, this time aimed at somewhat older gamer – just like the new fitness accessory.
Switch VR glasses for playing 3D games
The patent was applied for by Nintendo Co. in February 2018. Ltd. at the Japanese patent office JPO (Japan Patent Office). The patent entitled ‘3D image display system and 3D image display device’ was published on 22 August 2019.
The patent contains an extensive description in which the operation of the headset is discussed, and two-color product renders are also included in the patent. The VR accessory basically resembles the Lab package, but this time the glasses are made of plastic instead of cardboard.
You must place the Switch handheld in the VR headset to look through the glasses and experience VR content. The inside of the headset is made of foam material, making it soft and comfortable for your face.
The glasses have a left and a right lens for both eyes. Sound is generated by the handheld itself, which has a speaker on both the left and right sides. The Joy-Con controllers can also be used by attaching them to the side.
It is striking that there is no headband, you simply press the VR viewer against your face. This was also the case with the Labo variant. Several expert reviews have shown that this is quite heavy for your arms, and finally, you have to keep it constantly on your head, making the device not suitable for long-term VR game sessions.
However, the patent only talks about the benefits, so the user can hold the Joy-Cons for extra stability and thus the gamer immediately has the necessary control buttons. The lenses are shielded through the housing, to block out external light as much as possible, which contributes to better virtual reality experience. Because you can also disconnect the controllers from the VR headset and the handheld, different playing styles can be designed.
Nintendo, the world of VR and 3D
The company patented a VR headset with a headband. From these patent sketches, beautiful 3D renders were designed by Antoine Beynel. With this design, however, it was not yet possible to attach the Joy-Cons to the headset. Possibly this design was also more expensive. Whatever the exact reason Nintendo maybe, this time the Japanese manufacturer seems to see more future in VR glasses without a headband.
Nintendo is not exactly new in the world of VR. In the 1990s, the company released the Virtual Boy to experience games in 3D. The Nintendo Virtual Boy was way ahead of its time, yet the device didn’t work. Partly because various users suffered from a dizzy feeling, the device also operated on AA batteries. You can still experience the Virtual Boy in the Bonami GameComputer Museum, in Zwolle many old and new Nintendo products are arranged playable for the public.
Some believe that VR simply does not fit with Nintendo. Finally, the Japanese game manufacturer is always strongly committed to ‘playing together for the whole family’.
VR is simply something you experience on your own. You close yourself off from the outside world by putting glasses on your head and then imagine yourself in a new virtual world. Yet the general expectation is that VR and AR will increase in popularity in the coming years when it comes to gaming applications.
Naturally, Nintendo does not want to miss the boat, after all, the PS VR is also well received by Sony PlayStation enthusiasts. In terms of price, you can assume that the device of Nintendo is cheaper than the advanced headset from Sony. Still, the question remains; how suitable is the current Switch for virtual reality. In handheld mode, you have a 720p screen. This low resolution is not really suitable for VR applications.
However, it cannot be excluded that Nintendo will eventually release a new variant of the Switch. Earlier this year, there was the talk of a Switch Pro with a larger display and a higher resolution screen. Instead, the Japanese game manufacturer introduced a new Switch with a more powerful processor and more memory.
However, this console did not get a larger and higher resolution screen. The cheaper Switch Lite was also not provided with a larger screen, but with a smaller display, which also has an HD resolution.