Nintendo is entering the virtual reality gaming market with the release of several new Labo kits that will offer "simple" VR support for the Nintendo Switch. The Nintendo Labo line consists of cardboard devices that the player is expected to build and customize for themselves, which can then be used in conjunction with games that come with each Labo set, such as the steering wheel from the Vehicle Kit being compatible with both the pack-in game and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
The Nintendo NX was rumored to have included VR support at one point and there have been rumors circulating over the past few months about a possible Labo VR Kit in the works, which corroborated a discovery made by hackers of a basic virtual reality mode within the files of the Nintendo Switch. It turns out that the rumors were true, as Nintendo has announced that there will be four Labo VR Kits coming to the Nintendo Switch.
According to Business Wire, there will be a Starter Set + Blaster Kit that will cost $39.99 and will come with the VR headset and a gun. There are two other VR kits that require you to own the Starter Set, which are the Expansion Set 1 Camera + Elephant and Expansion Set 2 Bird + Wind Pedal, both of which will retail for $19.99. There will also be the Nintendo Labo VR Kit which will feature all of the sets and will retail for $79.99.
Nintendo stresses in the press release that these VR games will be "simple", which is due to the fact that the screen of the Switch isn't built for a true virtual reality experience. The Nintendo Switch has a screen resolution of 1280 x 720, which is going to be chopped in half by the goggles, so the games won't look great. The one thing that the VR Labo kits have in their favor is their low price compared to the competition, as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR cost a lot more to purchase.
Nintendo has yet to reveal any footage of the games that will come with the VR kits, but they have stated that the Blaster Kit will let you fight off an alien invasion and that the Camera Kit will let you take pictures of sea life in the ocean. The Bird Kit and Elephant Kit seem like they would involve games where you play as those animals from a first-person perspective, though it's harder to say what the Wind Pedal game would involve. It's odd that none of the Labo VR sets allow you to strap the goggles to your head (like you can with the Google Daydream View headset), as all of them require you to hold the kit in some way, which may be due to health & safety concerns, as the Labo line is aimed towards kids.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe received an update to make it compatible with the Vehicle Kit, which means that Nintendo is open to making their first-party titles work with the Labo sets. The low resolution of the Labo Goggles means that games like Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild wouldn't look great in VR, but Mario Kart 8 Deluxe might be a better fit due to it being a racing game.
The most obvious choice for a game to be compatible with the Camera Kit would be a sequel to Pokémon Snap, but Nintendo already missed the boat with releasing that game for the Wii U where it would have been a perfect fit for the GamePad, so it's best not to expect too much. The Blaster Kit could also allow Nintendo to revive some of its classic light gun shooter games from the past on the Nintendo Switch, such as Duck Hunt, Hogan's Alley, and Wild Gunman.
The Nintendo Labo VR Kits will be released on April 12, 2019.
Source: Business Wire