While other platform holders are getting involved in augmented and virtual reality hardware (e.g Sony’s PlayStation VR and Microsoft’s HoloLens), Nintendo has the Nintendo Labo. Announced last week, the Labo is a DIY playset that allows players to build their own cardboard peripherals, and they can then use them to play the game.
In a new interview, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime sheds a little more light on the company’s plans for the Labo and why it chose not to go in a VR direction this time around. The executive tells the Toronto Sun that Nintendo Labo is “not meant to be some sort of competitive answer (to virtual reality)” and instead it is “meant to be something totally unique, totally unexpected.”
Fils-Aime also says that Nintendo believes that “there will be experimentation that some of these communities will do on their own.” From the company’s perspective, it is a “good thing” if Nintendo Labo players get involved in tinkering and doing their own thing, coming up with ways to get even more fun out of the cardboard peripherals. One could imagine that Nintendo Labo users could make a Google Cardboard-style VR headset out of the equipment.
On the one hand, many fans may be surprised that Nintendo hasn’t gotten into the virtual reality headset game yet. Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima has previously teased VR support for the Switch, even going as far as to say that the company is “studying” the VR games industry. Fils-Aime is right in saying that the Nintendo Labo is completely unexpected because so many people thought that Nintendo would make a VR headset rather than a line of cardboard controllers.
But on the other hand, Fils-Aime’s comments and Nintendo’s strategy makes some sense. The Nintendo Switch has been a success largely in part because it’s doing what nobody else does. Although the PS4 has Remote Play with the PlayStation Vita, it’s nowhere near the scale of the Nintendo Switch. Remote Play and the ability to play huge games also aren’t considered a selling point of either Sony console.
If Nintendo is unable to do virtual reality gaming better than the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and so on, then it makes more sense for it to stick to what it can do well. The Nintendo Labo highlights the company’s ability to deliver DIY fun and creativity, so fans can probably expect more of that rather than VR in future.
Source: Toronto Sun