Nintendo was a presence at E3 2016, albeit a relatively small one. As previously announced, the Nintendo NX did not make an appearance, and instead, the company opted to show off a plethora of games such as Legend of Zelda, Pokemon and a new IP called Ever Oasis.
However, even though the Nintendo NX didn't make an appearance physically, it was mentioned, though what was stated might be a bad sign for the upcoming console and Nintendo itself later down the line.
In an interview about the possibility of Nintendo making a foray into the virtual reality scene along with its competitors, Nintendo of America's President and Chief Operating Officer Reggie Fils-Aime revealed that Nintendo has no intention of investing in virtual reality just yet, saying that VR "needs to be mainstream" before it's even a consideration.
Honestly, this sounds like a dangerous — and potentially costly — move.
Nintendo, while often regarded as an innovator in certain aspects, such as the Wii Remote and the 3DS touchscreen, is always behind in regard to its consoles and the tech it utilizes. For example, the Xbox 360 and the PS3 came out in November 2005 and 2006, respectively, while the Wii came out just several days after the PS3 within the same month. With that in mind, one would expect the Xbox 360 to be the weakest of the bunch, but it was actually the Wii that was widely considered to hold that "title," featuring graphics that were inferior to the competition.
The same happened again in the next generation, with the Wii U coming out in 2012 and the PS4 and Xbox One arriving one year later. The Wii U only managed to match the power of the consoles from the previous generation and was completely trumped by the new consoles that arrived, placing Nintendo behind once more.
Now, once again, it appears Nintendo is prepped to make the same folly with the Nintendo NX. Yes, rumors about its specs suggest that it will exceed the power of Xbox One and PS4, but that was only really relevant up until a few months ago. Instead, the console is poised to be outdone by both of Sony's and Microsoft's latest offerings, the "Neo" and "Scorpio," respectively.
Not only will these new consoles possess upgrades that put its predecessors to shame, but both will be VR-compatible — something that Nintendo apparently has no interest in just yet.
At this point, it seems like Nintendo is content with always being about a generation behind, and it doesn't make any sense.
It's one thing when Nintendo is off-pace with competitors when it comes to its consoles — at least there are aspects to them that make gaming a unique experience when executed properly — but there is no plus side to this approach when it comes to VR. Sure, VR isn't "mainstream" yet, but that isn't stopping Sony or Microsoft from jumping onboard beforehand. Best case scenario for Nintendo is that it continues this stance and VR on consoles becomes a total flop and the Neo/Scorpio suffer somewhat for it. On the other hand, the worst case scenario is that VR on consoles take off spectacularly and Nintendo finds itself waiting until the console after the NX to implement VR; and at that point, who knows what Sony or Microsoft will have in store?
Nintendo is in a unique position where it can finally release a console that is on somewhat equal grounds with its competition, and it isn't capitalizing. Why wait for virtual reality when it can get a headstart now? After all, it's not like it doesn't already have experience with VR.