Though a certain Shigeru Miyamoto noted that virtual reality wasn’t a good fit for good ol’ Mario and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé plainly said “it’s not fun,” Nintendo’s latest patent may seem to hint otherwise.
As spotted by an eagle-eyed NeoGaf member, Nintendo filed a detailed patent back in June for the Nintendo Switch, which revealed one peculiar addition: a head-mounted display (HMD) akin to the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream. While details on the display are scarce—and Nintendo never outright drops the phrase “virtual reality” in the patent—the revealing image slides everything into focus.
The patent reveals the Nintendo Switch’s tablet sliding into a HMD, similar to how we slide smartphones into mobile VR headsets. As Nintendo writes in the patent, “This can enhance the sense of immersion for a user.” The HMD, at a glance, looks a bit bulkier than your average mobile VR headset (probably because the Switch’s tablet is a tad larger than your average phone), with straps that tighten around your head. With the console’s already-removable controllers, it’s possible that the Switch will even take on something like the Wii, implementing motion controls like the Google Daydream’s stick-like controller does.
The idea of a mobile-leaning VR alternative way to play for Nintendo doesn’t come as a complete surprise. Nintendo’s always been on the cutting edge of experimenting with how we play games. And as we wrote in the past, has a long history of “virtually enhancing our reality” by other means aside from, y’know, actual VR. With this patent, perhaps Nintendo has been low-key thinking about the venturing into VR all along.
You can read the revealing patent for yourself here.