The Nintendo Switch: Handheld, Console, and…Virtual Reality?


It’s obvious that if Nintendo delivers a successful product with the Switch, they will have changed gaming. Creating a system that allows the player to play anywhere, and easily ‘switch’ from handheld to home console — this opens a world of possibility!

This idea isn’t exactly new, though. Over the past few decades, Nintendo has actually given their players the ability to play handheld games on a home console. However, playing Game Boy games on a Nintendo 64 or a GameCube did not allow the player to easily switch between the two systems. After all, the game would need to be saved, the cartridge would need to be moved to the other system, etc. The process wasn’t complex or that irritating, but it certainly wasn’t instantaneous!

But instantaneous is exactly what the Switch will provide. The ability to grab the handheld after playing as a console, without having to save, move the game card, or anything! Just pick it up and keep playing!

So to the excitement of gamers, we finally have the ability to play both ways, however we choose. BUT — handheld and console games are no longer the only ways to play…

We now have virtual reality.

Tatsumi Kimishima, the President of Nintendo, has given us even more to look forward to. In an interview with Bloomberg, Kimishima said this about virtual reality capabilities on the Switch:

“This might be possible in the future, certainly we can’t say no. In terms of how it can be used for gaming, it’s something we must consider. It depends on the system specifications. I can’t say that we have no interest in VR because VR offers new ways of playing, but that depends on what kind of software can be played. But what kind of software works, that’s only something you only know once you actually experience it.”

We likely won’t know full details until Nintendo’s full disclosure of the Switch in January, but it definitely sounds promising. Although, judging from the way Kimishima talks about the possibility of virtual reality on the Switch, it sounds like it may not have this ability from the start. He talks about it as a possibility, which means a virtual reality headset may be designed to work with the Switch, but as a type of technology update after the initial release.

Either way, virtual reality (and possibly augmented reality?) capabilities are likely in the near future for Nintendo. The industry will inevitably create VR games, but the question is…when?

For now, the answer to that will await us in 2017.

Copyright 2018 Ammon Hansen

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Nintendo Bloomberg Interview Reference:

The cover image and the image above were both taken from Nintendo:

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