Rumours are circulating online that Nintendo is working with Google to produce a VR headset. The source is Nash Weedle, who previously provided reliable information about the 133-year-old gaming giant. His recent Tweets indicate that a potential VR headset won’t be a Switch accessory.
Google has previously abandoned its own XR headset, and there are currently big delays on the fruits of the anticipated Samsung XR partnership. This could mean that the Nintendo device may feature a Google XR operating system first.
So, is it time to cast aside memories of the Virtual Boy as Nintendo joins the VR race to compete against Meta, Apple, and Sony?
Let’s take a look at what has been said so far about Nintendo’s leap into the virtual world.
What Do We Know About the Nintendo VR?
According to the leaks, Nintendo has already produced a prototype of their new headset. Additionally, Nintendo is reportedly testing micro-LED displays made by a company called Raxium, which was bought last year by Google.
Nintendo’s cost-effective headset prototype is also said to have mixed reality capabilities, use micro-LED displays, and be energy-efficient.
The new headset isn’t designed to work with the Switch; it will be a standalone device. Not only this but the headset is designed to be used at home, not in theme parks.
Who Is Nash Weedle?
Nash Weedle is a Spanish leaker who has previously correctly predicted the existence of Metroid Dread and other Nintendo secrets. More recently, the leaker shared that the Switch 2 would be coming soon after a dev kit was sent to Spain.
It would make sense that Nash Weedle has links to MercurySteam, the Madrid-based games developer responsible for the Metroid games.
What Is Nintendo’s Previous VR History?
Nintendo has been a pioneer in the video game industry since the 1970s. At times, the company has dominated the console industry with popular devices such as the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Game Cube, Wii, Game Boy, DS, and Switch; however, while so many other tech companies have created VR headsets in recent years, Nintendo has been noticeably absent.
But this won’t be the first time Nintendo has made a VR device. Back in 1995, the company launched the Virtual Boy, a 32-bit tabletop game system that produced stereoscopic 3D graphics.
The early VR console wasn’t a headset, though. Instead, the goggles were supported by a stand.
Sadly, the Virtual Boy didn’t catch on. A total of 22 games were released, and the console sold just 770,000 units before being discontinued the following year. To this date, the Virtual Boy remains Nintendo’s lowest-selling console. The next lowest seller was the Wii U, with 13.6 million units.
In recent years, the Nintendo Labo VR could turn a Switch into a VR headset. Users could slide their Switch into the cardboard headset and use the built-in lenses to play VR content. The simplistic headset was discontinued in 2021.
How Soon Will the Nintendo VR Launch?
At the moment, there are no cast-iron confirmations that there is a VR headset in the works. If Nintendo is releasing a VR device, they won’t want to pull attention away from the Switch 2, which industry insiders say will launch in 2024.
Given Nintendo’s previous VR history, the company will no doubt want to get it right with this attempt.
Watch this space for any updates as they emerge.