Plenty of companies are interested in the possible use cases of augmented reality (AR), from entertainment to education and retail. Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple – CEO Tim Cook recently reiterated his excitement for the technology – are all heavily involved in the space. It’s not surprising that these tech giants are paving the way but what about Nintendo? The company recently confirmed an interest in AR and that research was underway.
Talking to Japanese magazine Nikkei Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa discussed its ongoing R&D: “We are not turning our backs on new technologies. We are constantly researching and developing. Our hardware development teams evaluate all kinds of new technologies available thus far and consult with our software developers. If they determine that a technology can be used with a game, then they will utilize it. We will not be changing this fundamental approach moving forward,” TweakTown reports.
“As for AR, it is definitely one of the many aspects we are interested in. We are currently researching what interesting ways we can utilize it,” Furukawa adds.
When it comes to Nintendo and AR first thoughts instantly go to Pokemon GO, the 2016 title created by Niantic Labs. Most consumer-focused AR is on mobile so there’s a good chance Nintendo might be working on further applications which can blend its treasure trove of IP’s with the technology. As for combining AR and the Switch, that’s a long shot. AR needs a camera to view the digital world which the Nintendo Switch doesn’t have. This would then necessitate an add-on accessory or a new model with at least one built-in camera. Predictions abound that a more powerful Switch Pro could arrive after Microsoft and Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) launch their next consoles, an ideal time to add some lenses.
Nintendo stepped into the world of virtual reality (VR) less than a year ago with its Labo: VR Kit for Switch, offering a quirky cardboard add-on which offered a basic taste of the technology perfect for younger gamers. This also saw several videogames including Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild gain VR support.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Nintendo and its VR/AR efforts, reporting back with the latest updates and announcements.