Nintendo still isn't interested in pursuing virtual reality because gamers remain largely unphased by the technology, general manager of the company's France unit Philippe Lavoué said in a recent interview with Les Numeriques. The global adoption rates of VR solutions remain relatively low and are even smaller in regards to gaming use cases, the only segment of the industry Nintendo may consider to enter going forward, its executive revealed. While the Japanese entertainment giant was reportedly exploring the technology several years back, Mr. Lavoué's comment on the matter implies such efforts ceased in the meantime. The official provided a similar reason for Nintendo's decision to not commit itself to 4K gaming for the time being, saying that adoption rates of 4K TVs and consoles remain low. Coupled with Nintendo's long-standing product practices that prioritize gameplay over graphical fidelity, the company is extremely unlikely to move into the 4K segment until the next decade.
Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aimé also dismissed VR gaming as a viable near-term product strategy last summer, outright stating that not even the best such products currently available on the market can be described as "truly fun." The Kyoto-based company placed a large focus on local multiplayer experiences with its latest and massively successful console, which is a concept that's largely incompatible with VR technologies which are dedicated to immersion through isolation.
While largely grounded in reality and presented as a common-sense business decision, Nintendo's reasoning for ignoring VR as explained by Mr. Lavoué is still uncharacteristic for the company with a long history of experimentation. Nintendo rarely shied away from innovative solutions and while that strategy sometimes resulted in high-profile failures like the Power Glove and the Wii U console, such cases are arguably overshadowed by even larger successes with the likes of the original Wii and the Switch. With the exception of its stance on mobile games, Nintendo's practices were historically focused on setting trends instead of following them, so its indifference to VR may not necessarily be stemming from the fact that it's still an experimental technology but that it isn't Nintendo's experimental technology.