Nintendo réticente à embrasser la réalité virtuelle jusqu'à ce qu'elle soit diffusée

Virtual Boy

Nintendo a déjà essayé le VR 20 il y a quelques années sous le nom de Virtual Boy. Ce n'était pas un bon système mais c'était sûr que c'était innovant à l'époque. Nintendo est resté silencieux dans le secteur de la réalité virtuelle depuis lors, mais ils ont touché à un peu de réalité augmentée, qui comprend la prochaine Pokemon GO. Cependant, lorsqu'il a été interrogé au sujet de revenir dans le jeu VR, président de Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime a expliqué pourquoi Nintendo jouait cette fois-ci en toute sécurité autour.

GamesIndustry.biz ramassé les nouvelles d'un Bloomberg interview, where Reggie explained where Nintendo came from and where they are now when it comes to virtual reality headsets, saying…

« Pour nous, nous voulons nous assurer que la technologie est grand public, [...] Nous voulons nous assurer que la technologie représente une forte valeur pour le consommateur. Ainsi, à titre d'exemple, il y avait beaucoup de technologie gyroscopique là-bas sur le marché, mais il a vraiment pris la Wii et la télécommande Wii pour faire vraiment grand public. Même retourner tout le chemin du retour à la Nintendo DS, qui a été le premier dispositif électronique qui a vraiment fait un large usage d'un écran tactile.

 

“So the way we look at VR or even AR, which we do have within our Nintendo 3DS system, for us the technology has to be at a point where it can be mainstream, and then it takes content creating companies like us to really make things that the consumer wants to experience, that they want to jump into the particular technology. That’s how we move it forward. We’ve been looking at the VR space since the days of the Virtual Boy. With us, we want to make sure that our next content is going to be mainstream and mass market approachable, and when something like VR is at that point, you can expect Nintendo to be there.”

Reggie Fils-Aime
Reggie Fils-Aime

Those are some long block quotes for sure, but everything Reggie is saying is important, true and very salient to the discussion around virtual reality. While Nintendo is sometimes the frontrunner when it comes to innovation, it’s usually taking something established and spinning it in a way that others haven’t done yet. They also have a strong focus on inclusion and family oriented playability.

The last part about inclusion and family orientation are the two most important parts of Nintendo’s ecosystem, and right now VR is neither family oriented nor inclusive. And by that I mean that one person puts on an expensive headset and is completely cut off from everyone else. It’s difficult to generate a local multiplayer experience around that kind of setup, and right now that’s the only kind of setup available for VR.

Console et PC hardware just isn’t strong enough to run multiple headsets all at once in a convenient and affordable fashion. Single headsets are still way too expensive, with the quality HMDs – in the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – starting at $599 and running up to $1,000 in some bundles. It’s just not consumer friendly for the average household. VR is still very much enthusiast based.

Reggie drives home the point about the consumer market by stating…

“In my judgment, I think VR is a bit further out there for mainstream, mass market applications and applications that consumers can invest a lot of time in versus short snacks of entertainment,”

He’s actually dead-on with this estimate here and market analysts seem to believe the same thing. Revenue forecasts for VR have steadily been dropping throughout 2016, mainly due to delayed shipments on orders posing a problem for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive customers, alongside the hardware being extremely expensive. What’s more is that most of the software for the VR HMDs are all rather supplementary experiences that you play as “snacks of entertainment” instead of long-form gaming experiences equivalent to what you might find from a Nintendo product.

I’m pretty sure when there’s an affordable local multiplayer solution for VR and when the tech can allow Nintendo to do what they do best, then we might see them return to the VR head space once again. For now, even for a hardcore gamer like myself, I’m still very leery about VR and the only mainstream inroad to that market right now appears to be the PlayStation VR