Could Virtual/Augmented Reality Save Nintendo?

nintendo-logoAs Nintendo shares continue to see-saw amid the ongoing Pokemon GO debacle, a light at the end of the tunnel could be emerging.

That light can already be seen in Pokemon GO. It’s augmented reality, where users view the real world with computer-generated images overlaid on top. The technology has been around for years, but only recently have developers had access to hardware that can actually run it smoothly.

Some form of augmented and/or virtual reality is bound to come to Nintendo’s consoles at some point, It’s just a question of when.

CB Insights recently polled a bunch of the videogame world’s elite and asked them for their thoughts. Their answers varied greatly, but one theme was constant: everyone is excited about it, but it’s still not ready for primetime.

Still, Nintendo changed the game with its Wii console ten years ago. Back then, motion-enabled controllers were out there, but no one had figured out how to put the power in developers’ hands, and more importantly, deliver a satisfying experience. If Nintendo nailed that, can they nail AR/VR? They’re certainly going to try, according to Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of some of Nintendo’s most genre-defining titles:

For VR in particular, we [Nintendo] are continuing our research, and looking into development with a mind to how our current core products are meant to be played for a relatively long period of time. We are looking into the possibilities of providing an experience that gives value when played for a short time, and how to eliminate the concerns of long-duration use. We are also looking into how to make sure that a parent doesn’t need to worry when their child puts on a VR device in their living room.

It’s unlikely that the company’s next console, dubbed NX, will have a virtual/augmented reality component, but who knows? Maybe — just maybe — they can rekindle some of that magic and shock the world again.

Nintendo Co., Ltd (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NTDOY) shares rose $0.99 (+3.98%) to $26.00 in Friday trading.

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