Nintendo America COO Thinks Most VR Experiences Aren’t ‘Fun’

September 10, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Nintendo of America President And Chief Operating Officer Reggie Fils-Aimé doesn’t think that most virtual reality (VR) experiences are “truly fun,” the 56-year-old said at the latest iteration of Variety’s Entertainment & Technology Summit held earlier this week. The senior executive went on to state that the Japanese entertainment giant has no immediate plans to make a return to the VR market segment, noting that while that stance may change in the future, there’s currently no time frame for Nintendo’s possible adoption of this emerging technology.

Last year, the Kyoto, Japan-based company was experimenting with a child-friendly take on VR and one previously discovered patent also suggested that the firm already considered developing its own VR solution in recent years but Mr. Fils-Aimé’s latest comments on the matter indicate that Nintendo remains adamant to continue pursuing its existing business strategy focused on unique hardware and first-party software backed by mobile spin-offs meant to both diversify its revenue stream and promote its console offerings. The latter part of that approach was formed only recently after years of resistance from late Nintendo President and Chief Executive Officer Satoru Iwata. Mr. Iwata often repeated that mobile games could dilute Nintendo’s intellectual properties and hurt its portable console business, being aimed at even more compact platforms which people already have in their pockets. His successor Tatsumi Kimishima oversaw a significant departure from that approach, having greenlit a wide variety of new mobile projects like Fire Emblem Heroes and Pokemon GO. While the upcoming Animal Crossing game for Android and iOS has yet to be released after numerous delays, it’s supposedly still set to come out by the end of the year, together with a new The Legend of Zelda mobile game.

Nintendo’s first and — so far — last venture into the VR segment came in 1995 in the form of the Virtual Boy, its second weakest-selling gaming console to date which only managed to outperform the 64DD. While the Virtual Boy was released during the initial VR surge that ended up being a fad due to technological limitations, Nintendo was reluctant to start re-exploring this market in recent years, even after the likes of Sony, Facebook, and HTC started an aggressive and somewhat successful VR push.