Exclusive: Nintendo Developing "Virtual U" VR Platform to Rival Sony's Morpheus and Oculus Rift
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
A sight of the future
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.
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
- 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.