News Article

Exclusive: Nintendo Developing "Virtual U" VR Platform to Rival Sony's Morpheus and Oculus Rift

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

A sight of the future

Update:

As the vast majority of you have figured out within seconds, this is our own little contribution to the April Fools' madness this year. We've summarised some others in this round-up feature. If you want to see the original hi-tech specs which we 'borrowed' for this article, meanwhile, head on over to http://www.zeiss.com/cinemizer-oled/en_de/product-information.html.

Original Article:

Virtual Reality is dominating headlines at present, with Facebook purchasing Oculus Rift for around $2 billion and Sony recently lifting the lid on its Morpheus project, which it hopes will revolutionise the way games are played. Nintendo has its own mysterious platform in the works centred on a "Quality of Life" (QOL) principle, but recent movements in the market have also sped up an additional project.

Our sources have passed us early promotional concept images of Nintendo's own entry into the Virtual Reality realm, the Virtual U. Incredibly slim and lightweight, this unit will incorporate many of the features of high-profile rivals, including HD-standard visuals and fully immersive motion-sensor technology. This headset will offer support for specially developed software on the Wii U, but will also be compatible with the as-yet-unannounced QOL platform. Game experiences will combine the headset with a GamePad or Pro Controller for standard controls, like an Oculus Rift, while some projects may utilise Wii Motion Plus and Nunchuks in a similar manner to the potential combination of Morpheus with the PlayStation Move.

Nintendo will aim to innovate beyond its lighter frame, however, tackling social applications likely to also emerge through Facebook's Oculus Rift. The QOL platform, designed to promote good health, will be key, as the headset will combine with non-wearable technology — which we've considered before — to provide unique software and experiences to promote exercise and well-being, while adding practical support such as Virtual doctor's appointments, in which you can discuss symptoms and even undertake simple tests that are shared with the doctor via special software. In addition, a small amount of memory will allow special films and TV shows to be stored on the device to watch on the go, useful for commutes or other moments when distraction is needed.

With built-in headphones and an easy to use dongle for synchronising data and charging the unit when not in use — pictured above — Nintendo aims to make the device as affordable, accessible and desirable as possible.

Jokingly referred to as Virtual Boy 2 internally, we've also been passed a checklist of features and objectives central to the idea.

  • Apps for all scenarios
  • Products to accompany the headset for customisation
  • Reality — a tagline will be "a new reality for U".
  • Innovative ideas
  • Light to wear
  • Flexibility
  • Only gaming system formally approved by the World Dental Federation
  • Optimised Virtual Reality
  • Leader of the field
  • "Super Reality", another key promotional phrase we can expect to see.

Are you excited by the thought of Virtual Reality from Nintendo? What sorts of experiences do you think will be possible with technology like this? Let us know in the comments below.

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User Comments (158)

Ricube

#5

Ricube said:

"Only gaming system formally approved by the World Dental Federation"... Love this!

Makyurax

#12

Makyurax said:

Too good to be true (April fools), however what a cool design!
If that is going to really inspire Nintendo they'll be the best on market with the standalone virtual 3d cinema option.

eviLaTtenDant

#17

eviLaTtenDant said:

Warning: Using Virtual U in public might result in some ugly truck crashes, reducing your quantity of life. Be sure to keep your shoelaces tied.all the time.

DrJoson

#18

DrJoson said:

I'd buy this for my Wii U...if it was real of course xD Nice April Fools!

smikey

#24

smikey said:

I too found this to be an amusing April fool but In the real world I assume Nintendo probably will do something similar to this at some point though highly unlikely unless it was shown at e3 this year that it would ever be for the wii u.

I'm also not really remotely interested in VR I own a virtual boy for collection reasons and I even have a go now and then but vr in general for me is a passing fad just like 3d will die out again eventually

But I do admit the glasses look better than a lot of them i've seen though They'd be better in black.

Ony

#29

Ony said:

I forgot for one sec what day totay is.

Unfortunately. A virtual reality device for Wii U would be pretty awesome, imo.

Tsurii897

#30

Tsurii897 said:

I really hate you guys for that :D

This looks so friggin' awesome..and LIGHT. I'm not a fan of the VR stuff, that's been shown so far, but I'd get one of those in a heartbeat ;)

Jazzer94

#33

Jazzer94 said:

NL getting in on on the April Fools antics nice :D btw I like the design when VR headsets start looking like that is when I'll be using them.

Goginho

#35

Goginho said:

Guys, April fools or not, I'm sure something like this is on the drawing boards at Nintendo HQ. Just wait and see, time will tell. The company is daring, and has proved it often times in the past --cough* Virtual Boy. To be quite honest, I wouldn't mind seeing something like this. If done right, Nintendo could pump out some awesome virtual reality content, even go as far as giving Mario or Zelda a go with it, since they are arguably their main driving force i.e. mascots (everything or nothing, right or wrong, win or lose). I mean, Skyward Sword took a pretty big risk and utilized motion controls, which in the end, worked really well and I would love to see that concept expanded upon. So who knows, we might get a future Zelda game with motion controls and a full 3D + HD, virtual reality perspective :P ..where you turn your head to the right or left to actually look right/left in the game, for example.
When we come so far, I still would love to have the option of just sitting down on the couch with a simple controller in my hand. Variety is key. Having options is the way to go, I find :)

sillygostly

#36

sillygostly said:

I just want 3D TV support for Wii U games; even if that means sacrificing gamepad use if the Wii U is unable to pump out two 1080p images plus the gamepad stream simultaneously. Super Mario 3D World would have been amazing in 3D.

placidcasual

#42

placidcasual said:

To be fair although its an april fools those mock ups are pretty sweet. Congrats to NL for producing those product shots

iphys

#44

iphys said:

Awww, I was expecting something funnier. The only thing that saved this was the World Dental Federation approval.

Liquid_ice

#45

Liquid_ice said:

@Artwark He's from Finland, as am I.

If this were real, it would be a really impressive achievement from Nintendo! Maybe we will see something like this from Nintendo in the future!

Silent

#47

Silent said:

If only you guys didn't make it so obvious, I doubt anyone would fall into these.
You could have done something like Kamek and Bowser Junior confirmed for Mario kart and some other wanted info and put a rick rolled video on the article. Something more wanted and believable like the IGN's Zelda Movie.

Zombie_Barioth

#48

Zombie_Barioth said:

I think the "virtual Boy 2" and "approved by the World Dental Federation" bits gave it away.:P

Everything else was actually believable, and actually looked and sounded good. Don't know if Nintendo would actually do half that stuff though aside for gamepad and Wii remote compatibility. Motion controls would probably be their strong point with VR at least.

kenzo

#49

kenzo said:

I'll tell you what's not an April fools' joke.

CastAR by Technical Illusions will absolutely kill the console market with its head mounted picoprojection glasses.

Nintendo should get onboard with them asap.

CastAR will have the ability to replace the Wii U gamepad with a piece of cardboard having a retroreflective cover. All the controls and screen can be mapped to the virtual gamepad in realtime in full 3D.

A more sophisticated gamepad would use real controls with the retroreflective screen in the middle. A stereo camera pair at the back of the gamepad could enable 'see-through' augmented reality views.

It will happen with or without Nintendo.

CEO of CastAR Jeri Ellsworth explains on Tested and Triangulation respectively:

Tested ( 22min long )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpmKq_qg3Tk

Triangulation ( 1 hr 10min long - skip ads as required )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dMd58GICAs

readyletsgo

#51

readyletsgo said:

'Only gaming system formally approved by the World Dental Federation'

LOL, fool me April!

EDIT: 'Jokingly referred to as Virtual Boy 2 internally..' double LAWL!

Sean_Aaron

#52

Sean_Aaron said:

Nice mock-ups! I'm so not getting on the VR-train myself; AR via specs I could use to read with maybe, but not full immersion.

Kaze_Memaryu

#53

Kaze_Memaryu said:

Ugh, here we go. April Fools, the day where everyone gets away with everything...

I just hope Nintendo doesn't follow this overbloated hype. VR doesn't belong with gaming, and I can already see psychological problems arise from it (and higher susceptibility to the imagery of virtual reality).

andreoni79

#55

andreoni79 said:

@MAB Good idea. It seems you can even use the touchpad with your nose and press the Home button with your tongue...

ikki5

#56

ikki5 said:

Even though it is probably an April Fools joke... am I one of the only ones that doesn't see the virtual reality thing happening or at least not very well.

GamerZack87

#57

GamerZack87 said:

A search on Google reveals that Virtual U is a real thing...and is, in fact, a simulation game which sees you running your own university. ;)

3dcaleb

#59

3dcaleb said:

yea i fell for it almost all the way thru the article. it sucks that its fake, it wouldve been so cool. i love 3d.

DamoAdmin

#60

Damo said:

Has anyone noticed anything strange about that spec list yet...? ;)

Kirk

#62

Kirk said:

This isn't even funny for April 1st because it just reminds you that Nintendo isn't actually doing any of this stuff.

Christ, it can't even get it's f******g Virtual Console stuff sorted never mind anything new and cool like this.

Seeing this just made me kind of sad because it reminds me of the cold hard truth that Nintendo is rather out of touch with what a LOT of gamers/consumers want.

PS. If ONLY someone could make a set of VR goggles that looked that nice :-o

Dragoon04

#63

Dragoon04 said:

Who did the photoshop for these pictures? well done. If they ever do anything like this, this would be great concepts very sleek.

ShanaUnite

#66

ShanaUnite said:

Bad luck Nintendo: Theyre actually making a virtual U and yet nobody believes them since it is 1st of april :(

santaglause

#67

santaglause said:

guys i love you to bits but did it have to be so obvious! lol come on, the chunky kid in the dentist chair is stuff of legend but happy april fools, actually does anybody have any april 1st stories

wario007

#73

wario007 said:

Although the first April, I think this is great, Nintendo Game are poor and thus, no games, the Wii U is not a banana and a nice even toy with poor players in this way, when they already like all the poor .... shame on you!

SilverArrow

#74

SilverArrow said:

World Dental Federation tipped it off. This is definitely an April Fools' joke. What does teeth have to do with what you see?

nungi

#76

nungi said:

I knew something like this was in works for a long time and games should be in production by now,with this good tech for reasonable price and more innovation than two companies put to gether.thats why they just don't rush to the scene and say hey we have glasses but same xperience for years to come and games would or should be release without all that hype.thunk I need to buy shares I Nintendo

Kirk

#77

Kirk said:

@antdickens

Then Oculus, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo or whoever need to have a wee look at them and try and make their own solutions look as slick :-)

It's probably impossible to make real full VR goggles look that small and sleek at this point in time but I expect that's what most of us would like to see if we're going to wear these things on our head for hours at a time.

What are they from?

OmegaStar

#78

OmegaStar said:

Didn't even fall for it. Nintendo would never do something so modern. :P But yeah, VR...still very creepy... Keep it out of my Nintendo, please. ;)

antdickensAdmin

#79

antdickens said:

@Kirk we'll post a link a little later on today... but yeah, I'm sure the technology will catch up with the design side of things in the future much like phone tech.

DestinyMan

#80

DestinyMan said:

I was already well-aware what day it was, so nice try. Something like this easily falls into the "too good to be true" category, and as always with past April Fool's, NL did not post any sources, a dead giveaway.

BassLostie

#84

BassLostie said:

Good one! LOL

If this was true, I wouldn't really like it, though. I already use glasses, so I'd probably have problems with this system... I love playing video games on the TV or on the Gamepad. I don't really need Virtual Reality.

ledreppe

#85

ledreppe said:

Even if it's an April Fool's Joke, I'm not taken in by the VR 'craze' that is sweeping other console manufacturer's. It's another '3D is cool' craze, and as you have witnessed with the 3DS it petered out and ultimately wasn't a selling factor. In the end it was the quality of the games, that eventually arrived, that sold the system.

I'm old enough to remember the VR craze of the early 90's, and I wasn't convinced then, it died out back then and I honestly don't think it's going to change the gaming world in any meaningful way now.

Dragoon04

#86

Dragoon04 said:

@antdickens wait so you are saying that this is really actually, honestly in the works but the April fools part are the details about the device? Because there are some strange things like using it while commuting???

Or am I misunderstanding you completely? It was pretty funny when I read it though.

yuwarite

#89

yuwarite said:

This is the article where we determine the age/ intelligence of NintendoLife commenters, based on how they respond.

Findonovan95

#90

Findonovan95 said:

Alright; gotta swallow my pride and admit that I believed it right up until I saw that it was April 1st, lol I definitely should have known though. Ah well, lol XD

ShadJV

#92

ShadJV said:

Dang it, this is what I get for checking the internet while still groggy. Didn't click in my head what day it is yet, I feel stupid now.

hylianhalcyon

#94

hylianhalcyon said:

What tipped me off were the "innovative ideas" and "super reality" bullet points. As well as the font for the word virtual. It just didn't fit. Nonetheless, nice mock up, and happy April Fools everybody. :D

BieberBlows

#97

BieberBlows said:

I'm glad this fake because this whole VR thing is idiotic. It is a pretty sweet mock-up though.

ricklongo

#101

ricklongo said:

I hate April Fools. Stupid day.

I think this would be a very smart move by Nintendo, by the way, even if I'm not slightly interested in virtual reality as of now.

Gnoll

#103

Gnoll said:

The funniest thing is that Pocket Gamer's April Fool is about VR, too! They got "leaked information" about a Rovio VR headset dubbed the Eagle Eye ;-)

bizcuthammer

#106

bizcuthammer said:

Lol. If this was real, the only positive i'd have to say about it is that at least this one looks wearable. Sony and Oculus' stuff looks like it'd be annoying to put on. Not that i care, as VR is likely just a fad that will never be put to proper use like Xbox's Kinect or the WiiU's GamePad or Sony's Move.

Anyways, happy april fools. This was a pretty funny one.

6ch6ris6

#107

6ch6ris6 said:

lamest april fools joke ever.

but other sites aren't much better either this years

Darknyht

#114

Darknyht said:

@MAB lol.

As for the story, just another reason to hate using the internet on April 1st, At least be snarky and make it the Virtual FU since that will feed into the general populations grumbling. Your missing the opportunity for fake quotes like this: "We're giving people the Virtual FU they have demanded and deserve," says unnamed Nintendo rep.

NorthLightSuplx

#118

NorthLightSuplx said:

One could discern this was April Fool's when the headline said "exclusive" When was the last time Nintendo life got an exclusive story this big?

Kirk

#120

Kirk said:

@antdickens
I tell you; when they get the glasses down to that size, looking that slick AND without any cables or power boxes, so fully wireless basically, then I think VR is truly going to hit it's stride.

The exciting thing is that we all know it's going to happen, sooner rather than later too, because of how rapidly this whole mobile technology is advancing right now (from the size and resolution of screens to the graphics processors and even the battery sizes and battery lives etc).

The future for this kind of VR entertainment and just interactive entertainment is so bright and it's awesome that this is the generation that is really going to witness the truth birth of a brand new paradigm imo.

To me if feels like it did when we first went from 8bit to 16bit, which was a significant and noticeable step/jump forward imo, or a more clear example; when the whole 3D explosion and shift towards 3D happened (a true paradigm shift) :-D

I guess there's also been the whole motion control and online/digital things too, which have forever changed our industry (mostly for the better, if I'm being optimistic).

I don't think we'll see another major evolution or paradigm shift in interactive entertainment like this [VR] for a long time (that's probably just a bit of a short-sighted assumption on my part) and it's awesome to be right bang in the middle of it as it's happening.

Presuming everything goes to plan this time around and the don't f**k it up of course...

kyuubikid213

#123

kyuubikid213 said:

Thank GOD it's April 1st.

I don't think virtual reality is ready yet. Maybe in several years or by the end of the next console generation, but now, I don't think it's time.

We don't even have motion controls pinned down yet with the Move, Kinect, and Wiimotes.

NES_Hoarder

#129

NES_Hoarder said:

For an aprils fools joke, whoever designed this thing and took pictures of it did a really good job. It looks great.

Mecha_Boo

#132

Mecha_Boo said:

thank god this actually is april fools. i would cry if nintendo jumped on the vr bandwagon like the rest of this generation is.

WesCash

#135

WesCash said:

Dang, I fell for it and my faith in Nintendo was momentarily renewed.
Nintendo doing something new and exciting? Nope, April Fools!

duffmmann

#136

duffmmann said:

One of the more believable April Fools jokes I've seen in recent years. I'm willing to bet that eventually such a thing could be a reality.

Doma

#137

Doma said:

Nintendo positioning themselves to actually compete with other company?

Lol, that was enough to discredit this immediately. Iwata fears competition.

hydeks

#139

hydeks said:

Neat, kinda looks like the same kinda thing Microsoft is going for with for their VR set. Oculus Rift and Morpheus look neat too, but I think having a huge headset on my head for a long period of time would cause some problems for me :-P

HandheldGuru97

#142

HandheldGuru97 said:

Close, but no cigar! My fave is still 2010's Virtual Console coming to the DSi!!!!! (God that actually got me all those years ago :P)

Meaty-cheeky

#143

Meaty-cheeky said:

When I read this I was like yes Nintendo is finally taking the competition head on like in the Old Days, but then I saw the whole Dental Federation thing and was like LOL WHAT?!

This made me more sad than anything else.

Knuckles

#144

Knuckles said:

After reading the Luigi code last year and being unaware that NL does April Fools articles, I just looked through all of the articles today and found the one most likely to be the joke. I guessed right, and a fantastic read.

Thats-what-she

#148

Thats-what-she said:

This should be an actual thing. I'm really surprised Nintendo isn't already talking about VR, since they're the biggest risk-takers among the console manufacturers.

Melkac

#149

Melkac said:

"Sony recently lifting the lid on its Morpheus project, which it hopes will revolutionise the way games are played"

LOL good luck with that. I'm sure it will be as successful as the Move, PS Eye and PS Camera. As in, not at all.

@Thats-what-she That's the thing. Unless Nintendo does it first, they're not going to include any new gimmicks on their consoles.

Dpullam

#151

Dpullam said:

That device looks amazing! If only it really existed, but Nintendo hasn't been known to follow the crowd and embrace virtual reality as the other big companies have. They like to do their own thing.

On a side note, I knew this was fake the moment it popped up. I actually remembered that it's April Fool's Day for once!

MrGuinea

#152

MrGuinea said:

This actually looks awesome. Virtual reality mario, wii golf, or zombiu would be sweet!

DinoFett

#153

DinoFett said:

If Nintendo wants's money, Including R.O.B 2 these glasses need to be made regardless of 'April Fools'.

AshFoxX

#154

AshFoxX said:

even as a joke, the VR headset still looks better, lighter and more comfortable than Oculous and Morpheus.

Henmii

#156

Henmii said:

"Only gaming system formally approved by the World Dental Federation"

Lol!

I wonder though: Will Nintendo jump on the VR bandwagon? Sony works on Morpheus and there's also a rumor that Microsoft is working on VR glasses! Normally Nintendo doesn't copy what Sony and Microsoft are doing! Maybe they come with something totally different?

FightingAndroid

#157

FightingAndroid said:

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BlackStar9000

#158

BlackStar9000 said:

actually be a cool thing if nintendo makes it, they have experience with motion controls so merging that technology with VR makes sense, too bad its a joke.....

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