Nintendo Switch VR: Why we won't see virtual reality anytime soon


The Nintendo Switch is the only game system of this generation to act as both a home console and a handheld device. But when compared to PCs and the Playstation 4, the lack of a virtual reality option is noteworthy. A Nintendo Switch VR option would be the logical next step for Mario, Link and all of the company's other characters. But if Nintendo Switch VR sounds like it would be tough to execute, you're right! Here's why:

Nintendo Switch VR: Why we most likely won't see Mario in virtual reality anytime soon

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The display quality of the Nintendo Switch screen greatly improves upon the company's handheld before it. While the 3DS offered a 240p display (at 800x240), the Switch's screen is 720p. If Nintendo's VR solution was akin to throw the Switch screen into a plastic headset like the Gear VR or Google Cardboard, the display would not be powerful enough.

Sony offers the only game console virtual reality solution with the PlayStation VR, so we'll use it as a benchmark. The PSVR's screen offers a resolution of 1920x1080, providing each eye 960x1080, according to Wareable. Considering PSVR is on the low end compared

The Nintendo Switch has a Tegra X1 processor, whereas the more powerful regular PS4 packs an 8-core AMD processor. Some have pointed out that virtual reality works better on the more powerful PS4 Pro. The Switch is powerful enough to run Zelda and the new Mario Kart, but unfortunately doesn't compete spec-wise even with the original PS4.

Nintendo Switch VR: How could Nintendo make virtual reality viable

Xavier Harding/Mic

The Nintendo Switch in its current form isn't fit for virtual reality, but the company isn't shy about releasing multiple iterations of its hardware. Similar to the Nintendo DS Lite and the New 3DS XL, we could one day see a New Switch XL Lite.

The option of updating the Switch's hardware to enable smoother VR is possible. In two to three years, if history is anything to go off of, Nintendo will bring an updated Switch to the masses. Why not throw in a virtual reality headset players can take on the go while they're at it?

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Specific games would need to be made to make using the headset plausible, but Nintendo could lean on popular third-party VR games to start. Similar to the way they're bringing the five-year-old Skyrim to the Switch.

In sum, a Nintendo Switch VR would require new hardware. Though new hardware is something Nintendo knows very well. If Nintendo felt VR was a necessary component of the games they wanted to create in 2017 and onward, virtually nothing could stop them.

Check out more Nintendo Switch news and coverage

Looking for more Nintendo Switch news? Check out how blind gamers are using the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo's left Joy-Con issue turns out to be a hardware problem — here's how to solve it. Find out how to buy a console amidst the recent restock. Learn why the Switch cartridges taste so bad. Check out our comparison photos sizing up the Switch to the Wii U GamePad (part one and part two), or find out how to make use of ethernet without the dock and the best way to get alerts when new stock arrives.