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Nintendo explains why they're not chasing VR or 4K, aim to do something different

Nintendo France MD Philippe Lavoué has been quite chatty lately. We've heard about all sorts of sales data from Mr. Lavoué, but it turns out he had plenty to say about the tech side of Nintendo as well. In an interview snippet below, you can see Lavoué discuss why Nintendo hasn't gone after VR or 4K with Switch.

If you look at VR headsets, I doubt they can appeal to the mainstream. Consumers are not patient with entertainment if you’re not able to deliver an all-inclusive package.

As far as 4K is concerned, is it useful to invest in a technology that has not been adopted by the majority? Where are 4K TVs now? Is it a good idea to invest in a technology before consumers do? We can’t invest in everything. And what novelty would we bring compared to our competitors?

If we do the exact same thing than everyone else, we’re bound to die because we are smaller than them. With the Switch, we offer different uses, adapted to players’ pace of life. Its advantage is being able to fit into your daily life.

Tags: switch

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In a lot of ways he's right. I have PSVR and I think it's cool, but there isn't much I want to play for it. Additionally, it's cumbersome to use given that it involves a bunch of cords.

For VR to go mainstream, it needs to do the following:

Be cordless
Have much higher resolution
Have quality (ie Nintendo) content
Be affordable
Be lightweight
Be easy to use

I think we're about 5-10 years out until VR can hit mainstream.

In a lot of ways he's right. I have PSVR and I think it's cool, but there isn't much I want to play for it. Additionally, it's cumbersome to use given that it involves a bunch of cords.

For VR to go mainstream, it needs to do the following:

Be cordless
Have much higher resolution
Have quality (ie Nintendo) content
Be affordable
Be lightweight
Be easy to use

I think we're about 5-10 years out until VR can hit mainstream.

I don't really know anout 4K but VR is starting to pick up momentum.

You're right about VR's current problems and that's why, if Nintendo was smart, they'd start to work on a more accessible VR and get a head start.

This reminds me of when Miyamoto didn't think online gaming was the future.

evil-c
Fri Jan 12 18 05:54pm
Rating: 1

I'm glad they're holding off on VR at least. It's not gaming's sole future. As for 4K, well, they need more powerful hardware for that first of all to truly do it properly in the home setting; don't even think a 4K switch for $300 in handheld mode would be feasible; it would melt.

We'll get there. Nintendo is in a good position finally. Let's enjoy the software.

Well, this is interesting. It sounds EXACTLY like how they argued againdt HD, when the Wii was the only console not supporting it.

The difference? All gamers were up in arms back then - but this time, nobody cares.

Why is that so? Of course 4K isn't the most important thing as long as the games are great, just as HD wasn't needed for the Wii to deliver great games. But how come this time not even avid Nintendo haters seem to care about it?

I think it's because the gap from HD to 4K is not quite as large as the old standard definition to HD gap was.

I do sometimes kind of find it annoying when Nintendo uses these arguments though, for example they basically used this same argument for not including DVD support in any of their consoles. I always hated that when I was younger because we didn't have a DVD player in my house, but I had plenty of Nintendo consoles. These days I don't care of course because I'm old enough that if I want something I can buy it (not to mention that I haven't watched a DVD in years!)

4K 8,294,400 pixels

1080p 2,073,600 pixels

SD (480p) 307,200 pixels

Correct - 1080p displays 8 times as many pixels as SD. But 4K displays 4 times that of 1080p.

The jump isn’t as extreme and to be honest never will be again. When there is a 16k TV and a 4K TV they will “look” the same for the most part.

1080p is 6.75 times that of SD but I agree with your point, nonetheless.

Sorry yeah I messed up my maths 😜

I really like PS VR. I've only had it for a month but I don't get any motion sickness from it. I'm excited for the library to continue supporting it. Actually I just bought Thumper on the PlayStation Store, even though it's on sale on the Switch eShop I had no problem paying the full price for the PS4 version just because it supports VR and that's a much bigger deal to me than being able to play it on the go with Switch, because my Switch is rarely taken out of the dock.

As for his comment "As far as 4K is concerned, is it useful to invest in a technology that has not been adopted by the majority? Where are 4K TVs now?"

Does he not realize how affordable 4K TVs have gotten now? They've dropped in price much faster than HDTVs did. I bought mine over the summer, a 50" 4K TV and I just checked my receipt, after tax and everything it came to $392.04.
Now I check my receipt from when I bought my Switch and Zelda at launch, after tax it was $391.02, not much of a difference.
Also, let's not forget how clueless Nintendo looked when they used the same excuse about the Wii not supporting HD. By the end of Wii's life cycle HD had become the standard and Wii looked terribly outdated in comparison to the other consoles. That will happen again, mark my words.

Sadly, the SD support is probably what gave them such a success to begin with. When it first came out HD TVs were highly pricey, on top of that we were looking down the maw of a recession. People wanted new and for the time, it was what they could afford.

Grant it in the end, it garnered a huge blue ocean that cared little outside the Wii and Wii Sports, and those that were new and wanted more navigated towards the PS3 and X-Box. In a way, Wii's success was good for the entire industry. But in the end people also had more money and wanted the new norm (HD).

As someone who is blind in one eye, I fear the day games move from traditional media to entirely on VR.

That's not anytime soon, I am sure, but still.

I hear you, I have very poor sight in one eye, can't use the 3D in my 3DS, so VR for me is a no go...

I've been asking for 4K support since the Project Cafe (Wii U) days. They weren't ready, and most people didn't even know what 4K, 8K or UHD even was in 2011. I've also said that if they wanted to stand out from the VR market, they would have to make VR portable, less cables as possible, like the idea of the Virtual Boy. Content is growing continuously for VR and 4K, and PSVR is just one single pool, albiet most affordable, but the PC platform is where the river flows. Let it be known that VR extends beyond just video games, and includes various types of immersive experiences all sorts of media, even act as a way of communication.
Most of what I wanted to say has already been said here. They are in a good position either way thanks to the Tegra chip that I had hoped for. It's best that they focus on what's important than risk on temporal technology like they did with glasses-free stereoscopic 3D for the Nintendo 3DS. They're just waiting for the time to be right.

Nintendo ignoring technology? I'm shocked.... SHOCKED

I agree with his position on VR, but 4k...

C'mon, I live in Brazil, which is not a super rich first world country, but even here, when you go out to a store, all you see a 4k TVs.

I think they are not worried about 4k now because the Switch is a handheld and it would be able to output 4k even if they wanted to. LOL.

Philippe Lavoué said:
As far as 4K is concerned, is it useful to invest in a technology that has not been adopted by the majority?

I don't think switch could possibly output 4K. The other consoles barely do it and they're decidedly more powerful.

It's not about now. It's about having the ability to do so in the future when more people can take advantage of it other than just early adopters.

Philippe Lavoué said:
Where are 4K TVs now?

They're mostly in stores. Some people have them and they're looking for things to show on their shiny new screens.

Philippe Lavoué said:
Is it a good idea to invest in a technology before consumers do?

Yes, because then you're ready when they are.

Philippe Lavoué said:
We can’t invest in everything.

Really? I thought Nintendo had tons of money socked away.

Philippe Lavoué said:
And what novelty would we bring compared to our competitors?

Nintendo games, although they're no longer special. Quality is now an afterthought.

Philippe Lavoué said:
If we do the exact same thing than everyone else, we’re bound to die because we are smaller than them.

Uh, no. If you did have the exact same thing as everyone else, ie comparable specs, comparable network setup, comparable developer support, comparable release times, etc., then you'd be out in front because Nintendo has a stronger brand name with beloved characters. You'd get all the multiplats (that weren't paid for) as well as the typical exclusive Nintendo titles.

As “Nintendo Switch is a home gaming system first and foremost,” it's a pretty sad excuse for one.

https://www.polygon.com/2016/10/20/13347910/nintendo-switch-home-gaming-system

It wouldn't even be a decent portable with that miserable battery life.

I don't think VR or 4K are important to gaming but none of what he said passes the smell test.

Really? I thought Nintendo had tons of money socked away.

Just because they have tons of money doesn't mean they can waste a good chunk of it for things that may or may not work in the end. Right now, they just played it safe by making the Switch an acceptable power house that any dev would like to make games for it.

Heh, I think you're the first person in the world to refer to switch as a powerhouse. :}

I read that for him referring to what Switch is, and for it, it's pretty powerful (but can definitely be argued to be MORE powerful). But it also ain't anything we can compare to as of yet. Home stationary console it is not, and that is the only thing we got close to what Switch is.

Just like people said Wii U was unique because you have a touchscreen on controller 1, people say switch is unique because you can use the console unplugged for about three hours.

Depends on who you ask. Cause the consensus from everyone was still a home stationary console, just with unique flairs. And that was from this site.

I just wanted to say that I totally agree with this idea.

Berrix said:
Sadly, the SD support is probably what gave them such a success to begin with.

When ps3/xb2 came out, all the world's developers suddenly had to deal with HD. (Capcom famously didn't care about font sizes, ruining Dead Rising for SD players, and again with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U.)

HD graphics ended up eating a lot of money and tons of studios got murdered that generation. Meanwhile, Nintendo laughed at everyone and came out with all kinds of colourful, fun, imaginative games. Then Wii U appeared and Nintendo ran into same brick wall as everyone else had. You'll notice Nintendo's output dried up that gen and hasn't recovered.

Thankfully, the solution to "graphics are too expensive" was to bump the spec to 4K.

No one cares.
No one is asking them to do this anyway.

This is what a lot of tech-loving people need to realize. They are so niche.

I have a 4K TV and Switch looks perfect on it. Whereas Wii looks crap.

Chasing the resolution rabbit is a fools errand.
When even these 4K compatible consoles struggle still with 1080p at 60fps then 4K is pointless.

My PC can do most games at 4K and around 30-40 fps, but I don’t. I set it to 1080p.

He's absolutely right. I haven't met a single person with a 4K TV. Hell, people here even buy 4K stuff, without having a 4K TV and they think they are watching and playing in 4K. Same happens viceversa, I think (having a 4K TV with an HD console or dvd/bluray without even noticing its running at 1080p instead of 4K), but I really haven't met anyone with that setup yet. 4K TV's are everywhere though, but that doesn't mean that everyone has one or that will, eventually, buy one soon.

We are yet far from playing in 4K, there's no real reason to invest in technology that most people don't even notice. Right now it feels only like a hook up, rather than a true thing. Probably in a few years we will be enjoying 4K in gaming, but not that soon.

Netflix has made all their own shows and films since 2016 in 4k. There's quite a lot of 4k content about now on a regular basis.

That doesn't even include sports where 4k broadcasts are attracting lots of people, especially for football (the proper one that where they kick a ball with their feet).

He's right about VR though.

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