With Oculus Rift and Sony ready to release their own virtual reality headsets next year, there are two noticeable competitors not on the field: Microsoft and Nintendo.
With Microsoft seemingly busy building their Xbox integration into Windows 10 and engaging into a partnership with Oculus, Nintendo’s absence is a little more notable. They’ve never really been a company to walk to the beat of a different drummer other than themselves, and it looks like they have doubts about the viability of virtual reality technology, since it takes away one of the most important aspects of gaming in their eyes. According to an E3 interview with Polygon, Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime says that VR removes the necessary social component from gaming, He said,
What we believe is that, in order for this technology to move forward, you need to make it fun and you need to make it social. I haven’t walked the floor, so I can’t say in terms of what’s on the floor today, but at least based on what I’ve seen to date, it’s not fun, and it’s not social. It’s just tech.
Nintendo’s perspective is an interesting one, as well as an informed one. In addition to trying their hand at a “type” of VR technology in 1995 with the Virtual Boy — which was an abject failure — they are credited with re-energizing social gaming with the release of the original Wii in 2006, which has shipped over 100 million units worldwide. Social gaming has always been important to Nintendo, ever since they shipped the NES with a second controller port. It’s hard not to think about what Reggie has to say here, since locking your eyes in a large box is pretty restrictive on a social level.
Both Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus for PS4 are slated to first release in Q1 2016, and Nintendo has stated recently that they will share more information about their next platform — codenamed NX — sometime next year. For more details on these future platforms, keep an eye on GeekNation as things develop further.
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