Enter Player 3 Why Nintendo Will Win the Coming Virtual Reality Console War

The battle to console virtual reality has just begin.

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In the rising tide of Virtual Reality buzz nothing is moving faster than the equipment. In particular with the gaming console giants and their takes on evolving into virtual reality. The aspects of virtual reality that are difficult to manage remain usability, content and player experience. Like anything else these issues will take time and innovation to resolve. So you’re thinking this is about virtual reality tech. Yes and no. This is also about strategy.  Something game console creators have been playing with for years.

I’m going to go ahead and call the eventual winner of the coming console virtual reality war. Nintendo. You say what?!? PlayStation has put its best try out there and Microsoft has just let it slip that they are releasing the Kraken soon in Project Scorpio. Yes and then Nintendo mentions as a by your leave ‘oh the Switch’ could have virtual reality capabilities. Well that’s rather convenient.

Historically Speaking

PS3 vs XBox

Take a jaded look at the history of these companies when it comes to producing gaming consoles we want. Nintendo is the old dog for a good reason. Mostly patience and the ability to rope and dope the other two into putting out first so they can learn from their mistakes. It happened years ago when PS3 and XBox 360 were duking it out for console supremacy. Nintendo let them go with graphics as a main definer for enhanced user experience. Then they went with quality of game play to quietly release the Wii. Which much like the Switch, sold out immediately and then indefinitely for about a year.  Remember this example as you read. It’s called a pattern.

Game Usability

Now back to those factors from before. Let’s look at usability. By the way in case you haven’t thought about it. The Wii was the first foray into Virtual or Augmented Reality gaming.  Nintendo already has the controllers. Consider Wii the dry run. With the Wii, Nintendo explored placing real action into a game space. All of those kinks have been being puzzled over and worked on for years now. It seems to me Xbox was still solving red ring of death issues.  While PlayStation never really got their Move adjustment off the ground.

Game Content

PS VR

When it comes to content PlayStation usually wins the war for modern adaptations. This is done so well that they never introduce a new advance without a lusted after Triple A title to sell it. Most recently this was done with the Batman VR launch.  The tried and true method for PlayStation to go to market with. Microsoft has never been a really heavy content hitter beyond the Halo franchise. So they have less to build on there. Consequently this is why they usually lean to power. Nintendo has the most famous video game characters of all time. (slight audio feedback, plunk) Yes you did hear an audible mic drop with that statement.

More Power

XBox One

An amazing player experience is the light at the end of the game design tunnel. The aspects of an enjoyable player experience is interpreted by each company differently and given different weight. Microsoft is the king of creating a beast which cannot be fed. The consumer says I want a console that may drop my city’s electric grid, Microsoft calmly answers with hold my beer.  No one does that better. The leaked specs for Project Scorpio is just confirmation of the Microsoft plan. It reminds me of Dodge selling Hemis.  Yes it’s a magnificent engine, however is the average consumer going to need all that bang for their buck?

PlayStation Life

PlayStation is usually a bit more subtle, low-key and incorporates lived life with their console use. A lesson well learned when they became the most affordable Blu-ray player on the market just in time to capitalize on HD DVD losing the war with Blu-ray. PlayStation expects the players to live outside of the game experience. Mostly because Sony is a multimedia company. They have DVDs to sell. In that same vein Microsoft is a computer company. Guess what they have to sell.

The Game Company

So let’s be clear, there is only one game company in this comparison. That company is Nintendo. They aren’t a branch, they are not a subsidiary or investment.  They live and breathe games. The advantage of that is that while Sony and Microsoft are viewing this situation as an innovation for multiple tiers of their technology, Nintendo is viewing this as another way to make games. Games that will focus specifically on game play to define the quality of the player experience.

The Wii was successful because Nintendo built a console that enhanced game play. PlayStation and Microsoft were selling hi resolution interactive movies. Don’t get me wrong those are great, but not a game does it make.  It just so happens that a decent amount of those turned out to be really good games. When making games is the focus, graphics should not be the catalyst for innovation. It seems simplistic to state it but game play should be.

Virtual Reality Games

Enter Virtual Reality which is a method to incorporate created worlds into real life.  This is a medium to enhance whatever experiences the user would like to enhance. The natural assumption would be that virtual reality would be benefitted by the most powerful graphics engine on the planet. Yes if you’re inserting someone into a movie or a documentary. The Scorpio specs are perfect for that. However we are talking about games which are another beast.

Virtual reality game creation is a process of simplicity not necessarily of power.  A well constructed game takes advantage of the tools used to play it. Nintendo is the company that has been planning in some form or fashion for this innovation without anyone being none the wiser. Reps from the company have gone on record in declaring that when virtual reality can be used to meet their needs it will be used. Tell me about those Nintendo Switch Virtual Reality capabilities again.

The pattern plays out the same over and over again. PlayStation sells a title with a console. Microsoft sells an engine. Then Nintendo sells a better way to play games and kamehameha wave’s the market. HaMeHAA!

Comment below and let me know your thoughts on the most important things to have in a good VR game.

Christina Freeman
A Dallas Texas native, Christina Freeman writes academically for her field and under her romance writer pseudonym Suenammi Richards. She has no idea with all else she does why the potential to trash and exalt pop culture has been so needful. Mission from God. . working theory. What other possible reason is there for a person to love anime, beer, pro wrestling and symphonies. She has also managed to self-publish five novels under her pseudonym Suenammi Richards and has a running blog.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Holy crap, this was a bad article.

    First off, there isn’t even the first sign that Nintendo’s getting involved in VR. Therefore, if they do, it will be years after the others, and at an inflated cost they can ill afford: accessories are already far too costly for the Switch, and with that console way too weak to power a VR headset, that means any set they DO come out with that works with the Switch will have to have most of the power within… meaning more expensive.

    Second, you talked “historically speaking,” but you mentioned ONE generation, and you STILL characterized it all wrong. It wasn’t “quality of gameplay” that sold the Wii(are you kidding me? most of that console’s library consisted of inaccurate waggle-ware, and despite being the first to market, the Wii actually had the worst motion controls of last gen), but rather its novelty. It DID sell quickly because of that, and while it shot out to an early lead, it was pretty much dead in the water years before the other two. It also did not wait and let the PS3 and 360 duke it out, as it released a whole two days AFTER the PlayStation of the 7th generation. This is also not enough to constitute a pattern, as it’s just ONE instance of what you describe occurring.

    Third, the Wii was NOT first to VR/AR, as the PS2 did it the gen prior…

    … you know what? Correcting all this crap would take far too long. Much easier to say that you’re wrong on pretty much all fronts and leave it at that.

  2. For now I think Nintendo would be just as well of doing a licensed or proprietary portable projector for Switch.
    Switches portability is an epic feature, but the screen in porta mode is a tad small, but imagine throwing a big screen (ie 20 inches) onto a wall next to you…or a gravestone etc…

  3. I think you’re absolutely right. Nintendo plans in years, and I think this time they’re going to blow a lid on the VR industry.

  4. (Maybe proof-read, clarify, and drop the fanboyisms. That said, I agree that the company most likely to make VR mainstream is Nintendo.)

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