Virtual Boy.jpg

The Virtual Boy is well known among keen Nintendo followers - it was a quirky device that flopped commercially and, for quite some time, was effectively ignored by Nintendo. It was also a major early dalliance with 3D technology from the company, though the name and form factor makes some consider it to be a virtual reality device.

It's hard to disagree with Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, however, when he states that it's actually no such thing. Yes, you gaze into a VR-style headset, but it's more a 3D visual system than an immersive virtual reality experience. When asked about it in his second Reddit AMA of recent times, Luckey made that distinction before highlighting that the association of the Virtual Boy with VR didn't do the industry any favours.

Not really a VR device, IMO. No head tracking, low field of view, essentially a monochrome 3DTV.

A real shame, too, because the association of the Virtual Boy with VR hurt the industry in the long run.

It did have the first LED display in a consumer device, though - probably the best contrast of any display up to that point!

The first commercial Oculus Rift recently sold out of its pre-order stock, despite its price of $599 and its hefty PC requirements. There's no doubt that PC and technology enthusiasts are diving right in, but it's far from certain whether the Oculus, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR will take off on a mainstream level. The latter is of most interest for Nintendo, with Sony's unit yet to be priced and having to utilise the power of the PS4 and the VR set's own processing capabilities - that's a technological challenge considering the fact that only a reported 1% of PCs are powerful enough for Oculus.

Virtual Reality, then, has plenty of challenges ahead including cost, desirability and accessibility. Nintendo has shown little enthusiasm for it to date, with executives including Shigeru Miyamoto and Reggie Fils-Aime - at various points - highlighting that it's neat technology but not necessarily suitable for Nintendo's approach and audience.

Are you all in with the Virtual Reality bandwagon, do you think it's a few years from being a success or is it doomed to failure? Let us know where you stand.

[via reddit.com]