Nintendo continues to play with our emotions. The company has yet to outright state if its upcoming console, Switch, will support VR, but patents uncovered today suggest that it’s certainly possible in the future.
NeoGAF user Rösti (it’s an online forum of some of the most passionate gamers on the Internet) posted the patent online complete with various images and descriptions that match the new device, which allows games to be played either at home on a TV or on the go with a screen mounted to two handheld controllers.
Among the images, surprisingly, is what looks an awful lot like a VR headset, referred to as a head-mounted display (HMD) in the documentation. From the sounds of it, the Switch’s screen could be inserted into a slot in front of a pair of lenses, much like current smartphone-based headsets like the Gear VR and Daydream View.
No direct mention of VR is made in the entire patent, but it’s hard to see what use a headset like this would have outside of VR. While Switch isn’t thought to be as powerful as current home consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, it’s powered by Nvidia Tegra technology that would allow it to at least run VR content similar to what’s available on current mobile solutions.
We still have a lot to learn about Switch itself, of course, but if this accessory were to become a reality either the main unit or this device would need the necessary sensors to simulate head-tracking, allowing players to look around within VR spaces. We haven’t seen anything from Switch that suggests Nintendo might have its own inside-out solution for more elaborate positional tracking, but the company is set to talk more about the device at an event on January 13th.
Still, this isn’t in any way confirmation that Switch will support VR, it could simply be one of many ideas Nintendo has for its upcoming device, due to launch in early 2017. Rumors about the possibility of VR support have persisted for several months, despite Nintendo’s stance on the tech, which seems to change with every new answer from a company executive.
With a stable of IP including Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, though, we’ve certainly got our fingers crossed that Nintendo really is about to get into the game.