Is Nintendo about to unveil a Nintendo Switch VR headset?

Is Nintendo about to unveil a Nintendo Switch VR headset?

The recent arrival of a 360 degree demonstration for Pokémon Legends Arceus has got us wondering whether or not the Big N is about to unveil a Nintendo Switch VR headset. The video, which you can see for yourself below, is the first 360 experience we’ve ever seen from them, and while it’s easy to pass off the reality is that there may well be more to it than just a bit of fun.

The 360 degree View of Hisui allows you to look all around your character using your smartphone or existing VR headset, so you can see how stunning the environment is. It also demonstrates the transitions from walking around, to riding a Wyrdeer, surfing the waves on the back of Basculegion and soaring above Hisui with the hang glider attachment for Braviary.

It’s the most expansive gameplay we’ve seen for Pokémon Legends Arceus in terms of showcasing the open world feel to the game and it does a pretty good job of proving that it looks a million times better than any doubters would have you believe. More importantly, it also hints at a possible future for Nintendo Switch gaming that might just include a VR headset.

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The prospect of a Nintendo Switch VR headset

With the recent announcement from Sony about the PlayStation VR 2 and the ongoing success of the Oculus Quest 2, it’s clear that virtual reality might actually be about to go mainstream. If Nintendo has picked up on the possibilities then it would definitely make sense for them to unveil their own headset to rival the others and inject even more gameplay options into the Switch.

While we’re just speculating at the moment, the arrival of the Pokémon Legends Arceus 360 experience adds a lot of fuel to the fire. While you might think that it would be easy enough to put together something like that, the reality is that it’s either hefty coding job to do it in-engine for the game or an extensive rendering job to create it as a stand alone 360 experience.

If it’s the latter then it may well just be a fancy way to demonstrate the fun of the open world action, but it seems like a lot of effort to go to just to demo something that could have been done with a standard video. However, if it’s the former then it’s even more work and really the only reason the developers would go down that route is if there is some hardware to run it on.

It’s also possible that this is just Nintendo dipping its toe into the area of VR without going full tilt to see how it lands and whether or not it helps to build the excitement. If this is the case then a Nintendo Switch headset will be a long way away and in fact could be something that goes on to be a part of the next big console generation.

Alternatively, if it is a sample of something that they’re secretly working on then we might just see a rival to Sony’s PlayStation VR 2 in time for Winter 2022. With so many games that could work well in a virtual reality setting, it could be a game changer for Nintendo and we’ll be surprised if it isn’t a part of its future at some point no matter how things work out for Pokémon Legends Arceus.

The thought of getting to play The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart or Splatoon 3 in virtual reality is enough to make our heads pop. It obviously wouldn’t work that well with the likes of other great titles like Super Mario Odyssey, Luigi’s Mansion 3 or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate directly, but it could lead to new and different titles or experiences featuring the characters.

The arrival of the video and speculation about a VR headset for the Switch comes as the console war is really hotting up. Nintendo has quietly gone about building its own big volume of owners while Sony has royally trounced Xbox in both the current and previous generation of consoles, so there’s a lot riding on things at the moment.

Microsoft hasn’t been taking it lying down, though, as it’s been throwing money at development houses to bring them into the fold, which will give them a lot of potential edge. Arkane Studios, Bethesda, and id Software have all joined the fold in 2021 and the Activision / Blizzard deal looks like it’s about to complete a big year of acquisition, so there’s clearly something going on with all of this.

In all fairness, Microsoft bought Mojang back in 2014 and there has been no mention of making Minecraft exclusive, so we’re not too sure what the plan it. It might not have anything to do with consoles though with the PC market being so buoyant and with the lucrative nature of games sales in general, so maybe the status quo isn’t about to get a shakeup.

If there are more acquisitions in 2022 then it’s going to be interesting to see whether or not it results in more exclusive content for the Xbox family of consoles. Either way, though, it’s bound to spur Nintendo on for more innovation and a VR headset could well be the next big thing for the Switch. If you haven’t seen the video yet, you can check it out in full below:

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