Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s President and COO, took the stage Thursday at Variety’s Entertainment and Tech Summit to discuss the company’s immediate future, including the likely (and entirely predictable) shortage of Nintendo Switch this holiday season. According to Fils-Aime, who spoke briefly about the company’s plans for VR, there still isn’t any reason for Nintendo to go head-first into the medium.

Reggie Fils-Aime, image courtesy GDC

“It’s technology that we have been looking at literally tens of years,” Fils-Aime told the crowd. “There’s not a lot of experiences yet that are truly fun.”

While Nintendo may still not be ready delve into the world of VR, the company seems more hopeful about augmented reality though, pointing to games like Pokémon Go as an example (despite the glaring fact that it really isn’t AR). “We have a lot of experience with AR. The potential for AR is here and now,” he said.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard some wariness about VR coming from Nintendo. A year before the release of Switch, reports speculated whether the convertible home-to-portable device would also be used to drive VR experiences. Shortly before its release, a translated statement by Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima held that the company might “add VR to Switch once they figure out how users can play for hours without problems.” Despite Nintendo’s patent for a Cardboard-style headset fitting the Switch, there’s still no official VR support in sight. Combined with Fils-Aime’s statement, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see it.

image courtesy US Patent and Trademark Office

Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, the mind behind some of the company’s most iconic franchises, told USA Today last year he agrees “that adapting Mario to new platforms is a key to keeping him relevant, but we want families to play together, and virtual reality (which requires players to be closed off from the real world) doesn’t really fit well there. We also like people playing for a long time, and it’s hard to do that in VR.”

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In a strange twist of fate, Bandai Namco’s VR Zone arcade in Shinjuku, Japan currently plays host to a VR version of Mario Kart, which lets Vive-wearing arcade-goers race in a multiplayer kart sprint through Thwomps and Piranha Plants, while battling against an AI-controlled Bowser and Wario. As a move by Bandai Namco, the creators of the Mario Kart franchise, and not Nintendo itself, it’s unclear when we’ll see a VR version of the game available for general purchase.

Nintendo historically tends to keep its most iconic IP strictly exclusive to Nintendo hardware, so these sorts of edge cases may continue as the company feels out when the time is right to finally dive into VR.

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  • Jeff Axline

    It seems to me that if “There’s not a lot of experiences yet that are truly fun” then that would be a huge opportunity for Nintendo, right?

  • CoffeeBuzz

    So after Power glove, and Virtual boy, when technology can really delivery VR, Nintendo says no thanks ? Classic :). Nintendo intentionally stays a generation behind in hardware.. maybe they cannot handle VR on their consoles yet?

    • GigaSora

      The hardware isnt even close to VR capable unfortunately. Even the ps4 is debatabley not capable, as seen by the graphicly dumbed down experiences :/

  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    That is why Nintendont is not relevant today and will be gone soon. They are clinging to the past. Only stupid weebo loosers buy Nintenwont. They sell 2 generations behind hardware at premium prices. They only make Mario, Zelda and Metroid games over and over again. We are all tired of their endless sequels and spinoffs.

    • Mike McLin

      Maybe you’re letting your bias cloud your judgement? I have no interest in the Switch console or the new Zelda game, but to say they aren’t relevant when they sell more systems in one day than both Rift and Vive combined do in over a year is a bit of a stretch. I doubt a company that has been around for over 100 years and reinvented itself time and time again is going to be gone soon, especially after selling out of their latest product.

    • CoffeeBuzz

      I get mad at nintendo too.. but they arent going anywhere. They rehash popular franchises because people want them and to imo the titles you mentioned are just great games every time.

    • David Herrington

      I think you don’t have any idea what you are talking about…
      “Nintendo’s new Switch console sold out everywhere on launch and is breaking sales records worldwide”

      • Mr. New Vegas

        IN JAPAN!!

        • David Herrington

          So I guess you have a hard time understanding the word “worldwide”

          • Mr. New Vegas

            Learn to read, this link you provided talks about JAPAN and has sales numbers in JAPAN.

          • danman1979

            The article also mentions that the Switch is selling like hotcakes WORLDWIDE.

            “Nintendo’s new Switch console sold out everywhere on launch and is breaking sales records worldwide.”

            “Nintendo has already sold 4.6 million units globally, according to a previous note from Goyal, and it expects to sell about 10 million units this fiscal year.”

          • Mr. New Vegas

            Another Infantile?! I know you people dont use candy anymore, you just tell kids “hey kid, i have mario, lets play on my “Switch””

            He said that the pedoplastic breaks record worldwide, thats Not what that article says.

          • danman1979

            Of course, that’s what the article says. I quoted it. He quoted it. It’s the very first sentence in the article. How can you miss it?

          • Mr. New Vegas

            OMG, let me try again.

            The article only provides sales numbers from Japan and global world sales.

            So which records does it breaks? Wiiu? Wii? ALL previously sold consoles EVER?

            The ONLY concrete numbers are from Japan

            In the first week it was available, the console sold more than 329,000 units, about 20,000 more units than the PS4 did after its launch.

    • Mr. New Vegas

      You are 100% right, personally I dont have friends that play Nintendo games, all of them own or two of course of their kids (im almost 40, but we still have families with young kids, some couples just having their first, not in hurry LOL), all of these people have good PC and PS4 or PS4PRO for their TV, After I got my first 4K OLED, all my friends moved up to one too and move their previous premium TVs to otehr rooms.

    • Caven

      Nintendo has enough money in the bank to weather literally almost 40 years of consecutive losses. At that rate, there are children alive today who would become grandparents before Nintendo runs out of money.

  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    When a VR has low resolution, low field of view, low framerate, ugly graphics, no motion controllers and boring games… we call it AR.

    • CoffeeBuzz

      Good point. I have asked dozens of times why AR headsets have lower FOV than rift and vive.. nobody will answer.

      • Caven

        AR has to display an image without distorting the real world behind it. It’s not nearly as simple as making a VR headset with a see-through screen, since there’s no way to pre-distort reality to account for lens distortion.

  • impurekind

    I expect some of the bigwigs at Nintendo haven’t played enough games and tried enough experiences on the main VR headsets available today to be able to say such a thing without sounding a little ignorant to be honest.

    Maybe they should start by trying their own Mario Kart game in VR. . . .

  • Nintendo is downplaying it but they are working on VR. Code has been found on the Switch that references a VR mode. They are not ready for VR but they are preparing for it. They will more than likely skip it this gen and wait until they can pour more resources into it.

    • Mr. New Vegas

      Thats impossible, that toy you just named is 720p.

      • Not only possible but true. Being 720p does not remove the code found on the OS. Nintendo considered VR for the Switch. The fact that the screen is 720p may just mean they change their minds before the hardware was final. If they follow the trend of their past handels and Sony/MS this gen they will have hardware revisions for the Switch. 1080p or 2K screens could be a part of that. Nintendo is downplaying it but they are working on VR…

        • ipollute

          Lol. The Nintendo switch is as powerful as the Nvidia shield. That thing can’t do vr.

          • It probably can’t but Nintendo tried. They are downplaying VR but they are not ignoring it.

    • NooYawker

      That means they tried and failed with their weak hardware to deliver a VR experience.

    • Lucidfeuer

      Well all rumours and leaks prior to the announcement seemed to point to the fact that the Switch was of course, to be eventually VR compatible. But obviously they failed in finding an implementation and went the “not ready because we’re lazy” route which is kind of understandable in the current state of VR.

      • After the WiiU I do not think they wanted to risk investing a lot in VR yet. The Switch seems to be a much safer bet. If VR is in Nintendo’s future it is still too soon to know for certain but I do think they are investing in it behind the scenes.

  • Get Schwifty!

    Not to be catty – but maybe the title should read “Not enough truly fun Nintendo experiences”… Their primary market is more often than not at the age where they are still shitting their pants on occasion, so it’s not a surprise they don’t see any serious move towards VR yet. They are a company that is content to ride easy profits on a handful of safe franchises and little more, so they have no incentive to seriously push it currently but they are aware of it.

    • Mr. New Vegas

      Thats blasphemy! Fat basement dwelling neckbeard Nintendo fangirls trolling you in 1…2…3…!

      • danman1979

        I love people like you who don’t realize that without Nintendo, there would be no Xbox or Playstation. Without Nintendo, the industry would have died out in the mid-80s. Instead of insulting Nintendo, try giving it the respect it deserves, even if you don’t like their games, for whatever reason.

        • Mr. New Vegas

          Thats BS, Nintendo wasn’t saving no one, just selling a product, if not them than Sega or some otehr company.
          Video games as business wouldn’t just disappear, its like any otehr business that has ups and downs.
          Now, even if they did saved the industry, its no reason to kiss their rear for eternity, the modern Nintendo is not the old Nintendo is old, greedy, stale, Japanese company with 70 years old CEO that doesn’t know what people want, that has anti consumer policies and sales the worst gaming products out of the 3 console makers, and the worst games target at nostalgic Nerd that like Apple fanboy will buy anything with Nintendo label, even a turd.

    • Daniel Gochez

      I see it more like “Not enough power in our hardware to have fun experiences in VR”

    • danman1979

      I’d say that’s good business sense. Why risk losing money when there are easy profits to be made? A company doesn’t last for over a century by being dumb financially.

      And, by the way, why should they rush into VR? In case you’ve forgotten, they’ve already been there and done that back in 1995, WELL before any other video game companies. True, back then the only real competition they had was Sega, but it still counts. And even though the Virtual Boy was a flop, at least they tried. I think that’s why they’re so leery now. If they enter the VR space again, this time they want to make sure that it’s smart financially and that whatever they do doesn’t flop again.

      • Mr. New Vegas

        Thats fanboy shilling, do you care about their bottom line or new gaming products and services?

    • Firestorm185

      Boom, shots fired. XD true though, other than that one arcade Mario kart experience not much has come from Nintendo in way of VR software, so it’s no wonder a software heavy company would have little interest in a piece of hardware they haven’t done well with yet. And I know that doesn’t make a ton of sense. XD

    • Lucidfeuer

      “Their primary market is more often than not at the age where they are still shitting their pants” that’s actually not true at all. Maybe if we’re talking about the mental age of some of theirs fans but you’d be surprise at how varied and “mature” their target ranges.

  • Tyler Soward

    Virtual Boy probably lost a lot of people their jobs. Nintendo is understandably weary of the market. They have been burned before. Their timing was off. Waaaaaaaaaaay off.

    • NooYawker

      You’d think 20 years should have healed the wounds.

      • Tyler Soward

        you’d think, but they still seem pretty butt hurt about it LOL

  • David Herrington

    Nintendo wants a safe easy-to-use product that everyone can enjoy. If even 10% of the population get motion sickness from one of their systems they wouldn’t go to market with it. But the fact that they have created a Mario VR racing game shows that they are still interested in the prospect and have been fleshing out ideas as they go.

    Right now VR is very volatile and Nintendo is all about being different from the competition. This is why the Switch is so different from current gen and next gen consoles. And the people are responding overwhelmingly positive.

    “…not only did the Switch outsell the PS4 during its opening week, but it did so almost every single week after that during the first 26 weeks on sale.”

    • Mr. New Vegas

      Outsells PS4 IN JAPAN, The Weaboo country of ‘tards that play handhelds and mobile games, the whole country abandoned home console 10-15 years ago.

      • David Herrington

        Still having trouble understanding the term “breaking sales records worldwide?”

        Also thanks for discriminating against an entire country and proving how much an idiot you are.

        • Mr. New Vegas

          The links you provided talk about Japan.

      • danman1979

        Are you really calling an entire country “‘tards”? They have a right to play video games however they want. After all, they may not have invented video games, but they certainly have made video games into what they’ve become today and Nintendo saved the video game industry in the ’80s when it was about to die out. I think Japan and its people deserve more respect than that.

        • Mr. New Vegas

          The Nintendo saving the gaming industry is a myth, they just had the right product in the right time, no reason to put them on pedestal, because they were never going to save anything just sale something.
          And no, Thank GOD that the video game industry is not following Nintendo, we would be playing the same childish, safe for 6 years old colorful games, re-made to infinity on weak outdated hardware.

          Nintendo is the ONLY company that goes against industry unwritten rule: Make the best possible console for the target price you going to sell it, and sell it at loss until you ramp up.
          Both Sony and MS been selling game console at Loss, until they ramp up the production ad sale.
          Every single console, including the future Xbox one X and the last PS4Pro are sold at loss, just so we the consumer will get the best hardware possible for the price.
          Nintendo is the only company that publicly said that they want to make money selling hardware from day one and you Shills support it like second coming.

          • danman1979

            Regardless of if they had “the right product at the right time” doesn’t change anything. The industry still was ready to die out and they saved it. Yes, maybe it could have been Atari, if they got their act together, or it could have been Sega, or even Mattel or Coleco, but it wasn’t any of them. It was Nintendo. Nintendo will always be historically known as the company that saved the industry and there’s nothing you can do about that.

          • Mr. New Vegas

            It goes both ways, you have no idea what would happened without Nintendo, so saying that they saved the industry is wrong.
            Its one of the gaming myths, gamer want to be nice towards Nintendo because some have many fond memories for that times, including me, but i moved on.

            Also what does it even mean saved the industry? Many companies were making crappy games so people weren’t buying, but market forces are identical across industry, when people dont buy crappy phones or TVs, the manufacturers go and makes better ones.

  • Colin Chau

    something have to do with the Tegra chip set not powerful enough………… nintendo, please work with nvidia, and bring us a new version of Switch in 2018 2H….

  • Daz Nightowl

    I can translate this for you if you want. What they are saying is the parts are still not cheap enough for them to want to enter the market.

  • Adrian Meredith

    Anyone whose played luckeys tale knows how incredible mario would be in vr. It was such a mediocre game made interesting by vr.

  • Lucidfeuer

    Nintendo is yet another corporations with lots of franchises assets and potential, ruined by irrational speculative economics rather than rational business ones, and an ageing tightly closed hierarchy of old japanese patriarchs (I believe their boards and execs are of a 60 y.o. median age).

    I believe they sold 5 millions units worldwide which given how quickly obsolete and stalling the console is becoming will still amount to 30-35 millions units lifetime (which for a console is a failure). Now I’d hate to see Nintendo fail which would would mark the end of consoles and curation, but they have been completely disconnected from reality and prospective for years.

  • They like porting Mario in VR to arcades, where you go alone or with friends, but when shipping to homes, they want the game to be played by the families together. May have sense.

  • FriendlyCard

    Haha – “not enough truly fun experiences”. That’s an extremely uninformed comment – has this guy even put on a modern VR headset and checked out the hundreds of “truly fun experiences” on Steam, Viveport and Oculus store? Wow, just wow.