Nintendo’s recently delayed follow up to its Wii U console, code-named NX, now seems unlikely to feature any core VR technology, according to indication from top executive Shigeru Miyamoto at an annual shareholder meeting this week.

Nintendo needs new hardware, badly. Its follow up to the hugely successful Wii games console, the Wii U, failed to ignite public interest and has fallen badly behind its competitors Sony and Microsoft in market share. The new hope for the company’s home console business is sailing in their new system, code-named NX, around which feature set rumours have been rampant these past months.

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Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto | Photo credit Wikipedia

Nintendo recently announced that it was to delay the new console’s release until March 2017, missing that all important holiday sales season to implement “… an idea that we’re working on,” according to Nintendo executive and all round gaming legend Shigeru Miyamoto, the man behind some of the firms greatest gaming creations, Mario and Zelda.

These comments led to a feeding frenzy of speculation in the press as to what the new feature could be, with most theories revolving around VR, thanks to recent hype in the gaming sector, helped by Sony’s forthcoming entry into the VR market with PlayStation VR and Microsoft’s assertions it would join them. The new feature was probably VR, reports suggested and the delay was to give Nintendo time to implement immersive technologies into its new console.

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Now, in a report at the Wall Street Journal, comments again made by Miyamoto, have been taken as strong indications that Nintendo will forgo virtual reality as a core feature of its latest hardware. At an annual meeting for shareholders, Miyamoto said of VR “We’ve been looking at the technology, but we should also see how it fits into our products that are designed to use for the long term and how parents would feel about their children mounting VR devices,” before also sharing concerns about shared gaming experiences with immersive technology like VR – something Nintendo is all about.

Meanwhile at E3, Nintendo’s biggest competitors Sony and Microsoft were positioning themselves to take advantage of the rise of the latest wave of interest in VR. With PlayStation VR on its way to stores from October 13 and Microsoft making some very strong moves towards setting up a VR platform with their high-spec Xbox Scorpio system next year, it’s hard to think that Nintendo may be missing out on an opportunity to enter the space now.

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But Nintendo has never been a company that followed suit, sometime to the exasperation of even its biggest fans, and some could argue its bottom line in recent years. And clearly this report isn’t a categorical denial for the inclusion of any immersion technologies in NX. If the new feature isn’t VR or AR however, what do they have up their sleeves?

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  • Ryans452

    Ha I’m not even sure if I want Nintendo doing virtual reality, I think the biggest threat to vr would be Nintendo, don’t forget the virtual boy.

    • brandon9271

      Yeah… like there’s never been bad VR besides Nintendo. Give me a break.

  • BrookG

    It will be a WiiU controller with two screens.

    • Charles

      The “Wii U DS”

    • Rayza

      lol

    • Adrian Meredith

      you might laugh but nintendo is obsessed with multiple screens even though it sucks

      • brandon9271

        Most of Nintendo’s billions have come from the DS. So apparently not everyone thinks it sucks

  • Sky Castle

    Nintendo has always been one generation behind it’s competitors from cartridges to mini cd to cd to bluray and now vr too.

  • After PIONEERING VR with the Virtual Boy, championing 3D with the 3DS, and just about inventing modern motion controllers with the Wii… they are going to bail on VR?! The very thing they’ve been working towards since the beginning??! Who is running that company???

    • DM

      Wiimotes would be bad for VR, and the Virtual Boy had no head tracking, so it was basically just a head mounted screen rather than what we would class as a VR headset.

      Nintendo would need to come up with a new tracking system and HMD, or make a deal with HTC, Oculus or Sony, and I can’t see that happening.

      Microsoft have already beaten them to the punch partnering with Oculus AFAIK, and I can’t see Sony licencing the tech or envisage Nintendo confusing their brand by attempting to partner with Sony anyway. Maybe a deal involving something like Samsung Gear VR might happen?

      I think Nintendo need to become a software company, or put new focus in their hardware, because they seem to be floundering these last 3 years and if they stay behind Sony and MS they will just fade away.

      • This is a Wiimote… https://vr.google.com/daydream …. and building a VR headset isn’t hard. Example: Google Cardboard. Head/Hand tracking is a bit harder, but Nintendo, thanks to the Wiimote, already has a start.

        This article nails the one, AND ONLY, issue Nintendo has: Is VR bad for kid’s eyes? We don’t know, and that’s Nintendo’s fear, because they’ve been VERY kid focused almost all of their existence.

        • Klasodeth

          While I’m sure there are ways VR can harm developing eyesight (such as devices designed for adults not accommodating a child’s IPD), I suspect the whole concern about harming a child’s eyesight is overblown. A person’s eyes are used roughly 16 hours a day, every single day. I have trouble believing that a child’s vision is so fragile that the eyes would willingly overcome thousands upon thousands of hours of constant training from popular visual stimulus in order to be adversely affected by a comparatively tiny experience within VR. Otherwise, I’d think the quarter century of mobile devices (GameBoy and now cell phones), even longer history of sitting too close to the TV, making children spend hours a day reading small print and bad handwriting up close at school, View Masters, deliberately crossing the eyes, etc. would have all contributed to blinding each and every one of us.

          • yag

            yeah sure, who cares about children vision ?

          • Klasodeth

            Some parents who claim to care about their children’s health make sure they get all their vaccinations while other parents who claim to care about their children’s health make sure they never get vaccinated. Out of those two groups of parents, only one is acting on well-established research. The other is acting on imagined dangers.

            When watching 3D movies at the theater, children are already focusing on one plane while their eyes are converging on another. If there’s a real problem with that sort of thing, why aren’t we hearing mass reports about kids who ruined their eyes watching Frozen and Despicable Me in 3D? Where are the adults who ruined their eyesight staring into View Masters as kids?

            If research ends up consistently showing that VR is inherently damaging to children’s eyesight, then sure, something needs to be done to protect them. But right now it sounds more like the people who insist that cell phones must be turned off to protect an airplane from falling out of the sky, while ignoring the active cell tower next to the airport that’s bombarding the airplane with the exact same radio waves. In the meantime, I’d rather people worry more about putting sunscreen and sunglasses on their kids when they go outside, than try to find some reason why VR is somehow worse than every other form of 3D that kids have been exposed to.

  • ॐ Ethan

    they’ve caused a lot of video game revolutions in the past but now they’re just doing things that people want to act excited about since it’s Ninty, but the past few years they’ve been not so interesting…

  • Raphael

    Nintendo skips VR… VR doesn’t skip Nintendo. For those who like those cutesy kid games there is Dolphin VR. I find that hilarious.

    VR is too complicated for Nintendo to think about right now.

  • cobra

    Maybe Nintendo will make VR HMDs for children, with range of IPD adjustments that fit smaller heads….

    • Joel Iuliano

      They say childrens brain younger than 13 are not prepared for VR..

  • marko

    Nintendo console emulator – Dolphin version 5.0 – does virtual reality and 3D stereo very nicely. And its open source.
    Nintendo better get real, as hackers are emulating older console systems and games and making them better than the next generation ones.

  • DiGiCT Ltd

    They might be more intrested in an AR game solution instead of VR as it prevents the children part.
    I would not be suprised they skip VR and go for AR instead, although it may not be in their next console but the one after.

  • tomer gilron

    If they don’t want an head set so maybe they found a way to do something similar without an head set.
    A projection or something similar.

  • yag

    It’s true that VR doesn’t suit at all Nintendo’s vision of video games…

  • Nintendo if you want to win the VR war, release a console that can support 4 VR headsets at once. Social VR play is the next big leap and no one can do it, currently.

    • Jemilo II

      Um it’s called online PC games lol. It’s been done already. Look at the space games, they are great examples

  • Mike

    They’re skipping VR. Ok, so that really means that once again they are behind the 8 ball on technology. They probably didn’t even consider VR until it was too late to implement it into this console. So again they will lag behind the rest of the world. Maybe they will have a headset-free VR console eventually.

  • Christian Blanco

    The Nintendo NX will be a glasses-free 3D system. Like the 3DS, but with MUCH better head/eye tracking technology. The 3D effect for games like Zelda BOTW will obviously look amazing, turning big screen tvs into, essentially, suped up, high-res 3DS displays. The system will also take 3DS cartridges (along with the main NX cartridges), and the second display/game controller will accommodate that, mimicking the 3DS. This alone will be huge for 3DS users, of which there are many.

    • Dubie dup dup

      Great, another switch to turn off.

  • mrtexasfreedom

    When EA did a horrible job implementing Scrabble on mobile, word-gamers revolted and built their own massively successful replacement– Words With Friends. This missed opportunity is happening with Nintendo IP right in front of our eyes.

    Consider how trivial it would be for an indy developer to build a room-scale Donkey Kong game… With motion controllers, the player could climb ladders, swing mallets to smash barrels, etc. I suspect the jumping could even be mapped, though I don’t have a Vive and have no experience with jump-tracking in games.

    I’d buy that game in a heartbeat if it just had the same five levels as the original arcade game- but in VR.