Since its initial reveal back in October, gamers have speculated wildly about what Nintendo’s plans were regarding their latest console, the Nintendo Switch, and virtual reality. Unfortunately all the information we’ve received since has only added to our collective confusion.
At first the company confirmed no plans for VR on the Switch. Then, President Tatsumi Kimishima stated in an interview with TIME that the Switch was in fact capable of running VR. Then last year they filed a patent for a Switch VR headset design. So yeah, confusing to say the least.
Well apparently all this secretive nonsense finally took its toll on one gamer who decided to skip the wait and bring VR to the console himself.
Nintendo obsessed YouTuber Nintendrew released a video earlier this month showcasing a home brewed concoction that was able to successfully bring VR to the Switch. In the video Nintendrew (damn that’s an awesome handle) demonstrates how he was able to view an HD 3D video of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D with an aftermarket head mounted display and some simple tinkering with the Switch. He begins by navigating to YouTube via a secret web browser hidden within the Switch and opening a specially formatted video suitable for 720 VR. He then slides the console into a Durovis Dive 7 headset, although he points out that any tablet-sized head mounted display will do, and viola!
The little Macgyver-in-training is successfully running VR on the Nintendo Switch.
Now while this is all cool and fun, obviously there are some serious hardware limitations that take a serious toll on quality. Because of the larger screen size, only the center portion of the Switch is actually visible while wearing the headset, which means you’re only viewing about 500 pixels per eye. This pales in comparison to the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, both of which support 1080×1200 resolution per eye. This low resolution as well as close the distance between the screen and the user’s eyes means more noticeable instances of anti-aliasing and jagged edges, which can be a serious immersion-killer while in an experience.
Overall it’s a neat little hack that effectively demonstrates how VR is at least a possibility on the Switch. Hopefully somewhere deep inside the mysterious and mythical halls of Nintendo HQ there is an official headset in the works that will bring a more effective, comfortable virtual reality experience to the already stellar Nintendo console. Which means I am once step closer to my dream of Billy Hatcher VR. Probably not though…