In a surprise move today, Nintendo announced that blockbuster titles Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda Breath of the Wild will get support for the Switch VR Labo Kit.

Update (April 26th, 2019): As promised, Nintendo has pushed updates adding VR support to both Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda Breath of the Wild.

Zelda Breath of the Wild is a simple adaptation which effectively just changes the default third-person camera into a third-person VR camera for use with the VR goggles in the Labo VR kit. The accelerometer in the Switch is employed to turn the camera as you turn your head, but the camera can also be rotated with the thumbstick as usual. YouTuber Austin John Plays has a walkthrough of what the experience is like.

Super Mario Odyssey has a more involved VR mode which brings a short but unique VR mission where the player controls Mario from a fixed third-person view which uses headtracking (similar to Astro Bot). In the mission, Mario collects coins and notes and takes instruments to musicians to complete each stage. A playthrough of the experience can be seen here.

Original Article (April 5th, 2019): Nintendo announced the Nintendo Labo: VR Kit for Switch back in March. It’s the fourth kit in their ‘Labo’ product line—primarily targeted toward younger gamers and families—which offers build-it-yourself accessories which work in conjunction with specially made games and experiences.

Although creative and interesting, we fully expected the Switch VR Labo Kit to only be compatible with the out-of-the-box games and experiences that ship with it.

Nintendo turned that expectation on its head today when it announced that two of the company’s biggest games—Super Mario Odyssey & Zelda Breath of the Wild—will get support for the VR Goggles ‘Toy-Con’ accessory that’s the foundation of the kit. These two games are literally the top rated Switch games of all time, according to Metacritic, and widely considered to be the best release for their respective franchise in years.

With the Switch VR Labo Kit launching on April 12th, the two games will see free updates on the 25th to add VR features.

Zelda Breath of the Wild appears to be getting full VR support, allowing players to turn the feature on and off at any time while playing, though the company notes that pre-rendered cutscenes won’t be compatible with the VR mode.

Super Mario Odyssey is getting a smaller made-for-VR “bite-sized bonus experience” which will offer players three new “mini-missions.”

While the Mario Odyssey VR gameplay clearly uses a static camera (which will ensure co zmfort), Breath of the Wild in VR appears to allow players to rotate the camera no differently than if they were playing on the screen; it’s unclear if this will cause comfort issues. Generally speaking, moving the camera in VR with any input other than the player’s head could lead to discomfort (especially if rotating the camera causes the player’s horizon to change). Maybe there’s more to the story regarding comfort than what’s seen in the video above, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Performance is also another unknown, especially with Breath of the Wild already being a visually ambitious game for the Switch’s mobile processor. Rendering Breath of the Wild for VR (stereoscopically and at a steady and comfortable framerate) won’t be easy.

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Aside from these two games, the Switch VR Labo Kit also features a trove of specially made VR experiences that work uniquely with the cardboard ‘Toy-Con’ accessories included in the kit.

The kit launches on April 12th in two variants, the Labo VR Kit Starter Set for $40 [Amazon], which includes the VR Goggles and ‘Blaster’ Toy-Con, and the Complete Labo VR Kit for $80 [Amazon], which includes everything in the Starter Set plus four additional Toy-Con accessories and accompanying VR content.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • impurekind

    This is actually rather big news, and it kinda turns Labo into a legit VR peripheral for the Switch, especially if Nintendo decides to support VR in more games going forward.

    • VR5

      Agreed. And for SMO and BotW the $40 base pack should suffice.

      Hopefully the rumored higher spec Switch, which they are likely to announce at E3, will be designed to support VR. That way, Labo would be a cheap way to try and the new model would be the full package.

      • impurekind

        Yeah, I’m thinking similarly.

  • VR5

    BotW might just be a 3 dimensional cinematic screen. Obviously not really VR but that would be technically feasible and already a huge step up from playing on a TV.

    • Downvote King

      From the context of the article it certainly seems like this may be legit VR. The camera behavior even changes on Odyssey. It’s worth noting as well that while the Switch screen is only 720p, it is capable of rendering a 1080p output, about 4x the pixels, so creating a true VR experience at only 720p should be feasible.

      • VR5

        I don’t consider it impossible, no doubt the games included in Toy-Con 4 and the new Odyssey content will be true VR. If BotW is true VR that would of course be preferable but since they apparently didn’t make any adjustments to movement (especially of the camera) to account for motion sickness, that hints at it being contained in an immersive screen. Hopefully you’re right and I am wrong on this though.

        I wouldn’t complain about an immersive screen either, if it means we can get more games on the headset.

        • Downvote King

          I’m definitely not certain one way of the other, but them changing the camera behavior at least on Odyssey seemed to indicate that to me. I don’t expect an extensive VR ecosystem to develop on this particular iteration of the Switch though. I think they’re just gauging interest and testing out some game design in what is essentially a beta environment. Resolution is one thing, but requiring people to hold the screen to their face is not a long term solution. A Switch 2.0 or at least 1.5 will be needed to enable a true headset with separate controls, allowing a full ecosystem for VR gaming. I do think it would be a great move for Nintendo to make.

  • gothicvillas

    Sounds like Nintendo are tipping their toes in VR waters to see whats in there… clearly this is just to have ocassional fun as you would not play for hours if you have to hold the cardboard to your face with one hand. But, if this suceeds, we may see next gen Nintendo VR and thats already a very interesting prospect.

    • Darshan

      Mario Odyssey may span across 11 Hours of game-play still small session mostly consisted of 6/7 minutes followed by any kind of cut scene, so it may be possible to hold cardboard to face with one hand its absolutely different case with Zelda BoW, if switch hardware can indeed play both games flawless in VR than its time for Nintendo to look again to VR with more seriousness. *They are indeed mode for breath of wild is proof

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  • Zach Mauch

    Thus might not be that great on the current hardware, but when the switch pro comes out later this year (partially speculation) I’m guessing it will make a jump.

  • Brian Burgess

    This is awesome news. It’s so ironic to me, that so many people dismissed the Labo VR kit and the idea that it could really have an effect on the VR market. With this announcement, so many Switch players on the net are expressing a desire to buy the Labo VR kit. This could increase VR adoption in general.

    • Lucidfeuer

      Holly shit, you really need to become a PR.

      • Brian Burgess

        Holy shit, a low effort post from you. You really need to try harder. You are not very good at this internet trolling thing.

        • Nosfar

          Trust me on this Brian, If you speak well of something the masses have deemed unworthy then they will break their necks to tell you how wrong you are and how invalid your opinion is compared to theirs, when 95 percent have not touched or played what ever subject your discussing is.

          • Brian Burgess

            You are absolutely right. It’s frustrating but human nature to seek to impose conformity on dissident opinions.

          • HybridEnergy

            Much of VR enthusiast community have tried this, and the opinions seem to not vary much.

    • HybridEnergy

      I don’t know about the VR market effect and adoption but I invested in portable barf bag companies.

      • Brian Burgess

        I tried the update for Breath of Wild and did not experience any discomfort with the third person camera at all. The only discomfort I felt, and it was very, very slight, was when I used the first person bow. Just like in Labo VR, when turning my head left and right, the screen blurs for a brief second or so. Other than that, the VR experience itself is completely comfortable.

        • HybridEnergy

          Yea man, you tell yourself that. I’ve yet to see a single article not shit on it today.

          • Brian Burgess

            I don’t have to tell myself anything sense I have actually experienced the game, rather than simply reading what someone else has said.

            The assessments by others that the resolution is low, or the lack of head tracking, are legitimate. But I do not take complaints about nausea from flat gaming journalists seriously, sense their nausea is the direct result of the camera controls in Zelda. Smooth locomotion in any VR game would cause the same nausea for anyone not accustomed to VR. So your original snide remark about buying barf bags make little sense, unless you yourself are new to VR and find smooth locomotion a problem.

          • HybridEnergy

            Unfortunately where 95% of VR enthusiasts who
            have tried this now and the opinions seem to not change much about it
            being an awful experience. I understand that human nature has that annoying bug where it always wants to defend the product it owns but sorry man. It’s not just the bad resolution.

          • NOSFAR

            But that still leaves the 5 percent that absolutely love it. Which I am not one. But I do enjoy it. If people went in expecting to be amazed by the Experience then they went in with the wrong expectations. Its a simple update to make a cool 3d mode that’s enjoyable enough until the switch Pro comes out when I think Nintendo will go a bit more in.

          • Brian Burgess

            Now you shift your points around. I already pointed out the low resolution and lack of rotational head tracking being legitimate complaints. If 95% of VR enthusiasts take issue with those two problems, I don’t disagree with them. Not to mention the problems with the UI being to small, or the camera being to far away from Link, etc.

            My original point is that the game, despite its glaring limitations, does not induce nausea, unless one does not have their VR legs. So siting flat gaming journalists, who are not accustomed to artifical locomotion period, to somehow imply that the quality of the game in VR is the cause of their nausea is blatantly false. Hence why your original barf bag comment is nonsensical.

          • HybridEnergy

            You can like whatever you like, but the only people who have VR legs are the VR enthusiasts and they aren’t going to in general enjoy this experience for the reasons I have mentioned already. You’re a genius, only new people to VR will get sick…you mean like all the nintendo fans who aren’t VR enthusiasts to begin with. Nice.

          • Brian Burgess

            I never said VR enthusiasts would enjoy it. You keep missing the point entirely. In fact, I am a VR enthusiast myself. It’s ultimately irrelevant to my original point. I am not trying to convince you or anyone to enjoy it. I simply said the experience itself is for the most part comfortable and not vomit inducing for those already used to VR.

            Your counter point does not disprove that. The Upload article simply states he felt discomfort when camera rotation was locked to head movement. Notice he does not mention any discomfort at all with regular camera controls which are an option too. And even with head locked camera rotation, he does not mention vomit inducing nausea, just discomfort.

          • HybridEnergy

            At this point you’re just pulling for straws to make something out to be better than it really is. I’m glad you enjoy it, but the reviews are out and this convo for me is over.

          • Brian Burgess

            You lack the ability to follow a logical argument, or present an argument and I am the one grasping at straws? You consistently missed my point entirely.

            Honestly, I am glad this conversation is over because apparently it was pointless from the beginning, and utter waste of time trying to reason with you at all.

  • Darshan

    Wonderful software cries for proper hardware…not justifying existence of crude cardboard box studded with lenses.

  • οκ

    Its 3D support not VR support. I mean cell phones have at least 360 support because of the Gyro with higher resolutions, this thing wont even have that. People shouldnt even bother, just get a phone with a big screen…

    • Amni3D

      I’m pretty sure the switch has an IMU on the Joycons and also on the screen. The reason they want you to hold it up is probably:

      -To mimic what the Google Cardboard was doing. Where the motion sensing isn’t good enough, so a lack of a headstrap will encourage you to do very small movements with your head.

      -The Switch is too heavy to be worn comfortably. This is their comfort solution

      -Whole experience isn’t comfortable enough for long play sessions, so this encourages someone to go full Gear VR, limiting their playtime to like 14 minutes at a time.

  • Glad to see these two big franchises become VR ready! This is will help VR awareness…

  • Lucidfeuer

    Having to a hold a cardboard with both hands, for a low FOV° on a 720p LCD screen with high-latency…all this for a poor adaptation of BoTW that doesn’t match what emulator can do by hooking into the camera…

    Yuck, this is surprising of Nintendo.

  • Lateman Parodius

    Animal Crossing VR? They already dabbled in it a little with New Leaf, right? The 3d seemed okay on it.

  • gothicvillas

    Just imagine Zelda VR on a proper vr system. Maybe I finally even buy a Nintendo console.

  • HybridEnergy

    You’re not really a VR enthusiast if you don’t think these two are going to be garbage. Mainly because you don’t understand a few extremely key points VR needs to hit in order to be comfortable and properly playable for extended periods of time. It’s kind of cool to look to peak into them, if you’ve already got the stuff, but otherwise who here think this was some kind of AAA competitor to the established current HMD products? …Also, news are coming in, big surprise…it is garbage.

  • I have a friend that has tried it and has said that Mario is horrible in VR

    • Nosfar

      I enjoyed it ,Mario gets a little blurry in the far reach .But it was fun for a free update.

  • chicanoterp06

    are there other optional head mounts for the switch, something with a head strap and not cardboard?

    • Nosfar

      Not yet but the 3d printers are working on it I’m sure. I found it simple to velcro a heads tap onto the switch and I hot glues some foam onto the bottom of the face piece where the blunt of the weight falls played zelda for about 1 hour thirty or so,, low rez, blurry when ya turn your head….and loved every damn minute of it. Don’t listen to the haters that were expecting 4k 120 FPS

      • chicanoterp06

        yeah I am not expecting rift/vive levels (have both) but I do have a switch and both those games… I think I still have the original head strap for the vive lying around somewhere

  • Mark Steelman

    Been thinking about getting a switch for a while and now I definitely am. FYI you guys got a typo there with “Updated September 26th”