Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime Asserts That Most VR Games Aren't Fun

Do not hold your breath waiting for Nintendo to fully embrace virtual reality gaming. Along with augmented reality and mixed reality experiences, VR has captured the attention of hardware makers and developers who believe that we are on the verge of a revolution in gaming. Not everyone is buying into it, though, and certainly not Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime.

"The problem with VR is that there aren't a lot of experiences that are truly fun," Fils-Aime said at Variety's Entertainment and Tech Summit Presented by Twitch.

Image Source: Flickr (Jeff Dlouhy)

It is not surprising to hear Fils-Aime say that. He said pretty much the same thing two years ago when speaking with Polygon on the subject of VR.

"We have knowledge of the technical space, and we've been experimenting with this for a long, long time. What we believe is that, in order for this technology to move forward, you need to make it fun and you need to make it social," Fils-Aime said at the time. "I haven't walked the [E3] floor, so I can't say in terms of what's on the floor today, but at least based on what I've seen to date, it's not fun, and it's not social. It's just tech."

His viewpoint is in line with Nintendo's approach to gaming in general. Take for example the company's latest game console. The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid game system that is not nearly as powerful as Sony's PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro, or Microsoft's Xbox One systems. For Nintendo, it truly is not about "just tech" or winning a specs war, but delivering a fun and social game experience. And the Switch delivers, as did the original Wii.

Pokemon Go

VR gaming may very well explode the way early adopters and investors hope it will. If and when it does, Nintendo will likely find a way to leverage it in a unique way. Until then, the scope of Nintendo's forward-thinking efforts in the category will probably be limited to AR experiences rather than VR. Think of Pokemon Go. That was developed by Niantic, but it had the blessing of Nintendo. Just as importantly, it proved hugely popular and fit with Nintendo's desire to deliver a "fun and social game experience."

Some may argue that Nintendo has it all wrong and is being short-sighted, though it is hard to argue with the company and its strategy. The Switch, which released in March, is already approaching 5 million console sales (including 1.5 million units sold in Japan), with demand continuing to outpace supply.

Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (Official GDC)