Daily VR Fix

Today’s Immersive VR Buzz: Nintendo Jumps into VR (Again) With Switch VR ‘Labo’ Kit Coming in April

This was a very interesting BUZZ that I found today and wanted to share with you.

Originally posted on: www.roadtovr.com

Nintendo is bringing VR to Switch in the form of its latest ‘Labo’ kit which aims to “combine the innovative physical and digital gameplay of Nintendo Labo with basic VR technology to create a simple and shareable virtual reality experience for kids and families.”

Nintendo today announced the Nintendo Labo: VR Kit, the fourth kit in their ‘Labo’ product line—primarily targeted toward younger gamers and families—which offers build-it-yourself accessories which work in conjunction with specially made games and experiences.

The Labo VR Kit for Switch will launch on April 12th priced at $40 for the ‘Starter Set’ which will include two ‘Toy-Con’ creations: ‘VR Goggles’ and ‘Blaster’. Two expansion sets will be available for $20 which offer two more VR Toy-Cons: the ‘Elephant’ & ‘Camera’, and ‘Wind Pedal’ & ‘Bird’. Each will offer unique experiences tailored to the Toy-Con.

A full Nintendo Labo: VR Kit will be priced at $70 and include all of the Starter Set VR Toy-Cons as well as those in the expansion packs.

Nintendo has only offered a hint of what the Switch VR content will look like: “Fend off an alien invasion with the Toy-Con Blaster, visit a colorful in-game ocean and snap photos of the sea life with the Toy-Con Camera and so much more.”

We expect to learn closer to launch, but the design of each of the VR Toy-Cons gives some hint at what the interactions will look like: with the Blaster, the user aims and pumps the slide under the gun; with the Camera the player uses the trigger to snap photos while rotating the lens to zoom or focus; the Elephant will have an articulating trunk tracked with both controllers; and the Bird will have a movable neck and wings.

The Labo VR Kit will also work with the Toy-Con Garage feature that offers “basic programming tools for players to experiment with,” which suggests the Switch VR content will be customizable to some extent.

“This new kit builds on the core tenets of Nintendo Labo—Make, Play and Discover—to introduce virtual reality in a way that’s fun and approachable for both kids and kids at heart,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing.

“We wanted to design an experience that encourages both virtual and real-world interactions among players through passing around Toy-Con creations.”

Nintendo says that the Switch VR Labo kit offers a “unique first VR experience,” [our emphasis], which we take to mean it will be relatively basic. Like Google Cardboard before it, the Labo VR Kit for Switch is effectively a drop-in holder for the console, with lenses which each see one half of the screen for a stereoscopic view.

The kit will likely offer rotational (3DOF) tracking only, without the positional (6DOF) tracking that is rapidly becoming the standard for VR headsets.

The low resolution of the Switch’s display (1,280 × 720) means that the effective resolution could only be up to 640 × 720, which would be roughly equivalent to 2013’s Rift DK1 development kit, depending upon the field of view (which is currently unconfirmed).

Still, Nintendo has shown time and again that raw processing power and high fidelity graphics aren’t prerequisites for great gaming experiences. Switch, despite being substantially underpowered compared to the latest consoles from Microsoft and Sony, has sold tremendously well since its March 2017 launch, reaching 32 million unit sales by the end of 2018.

Nintendo’s lauded first-party content is a major driver of Switch sales, even if the console can’t push the same number of pixels as competitors.

Nintendo, of course, has yet to live down the famously failed Virtual Boy console-HMD which launched back in 1995 and offered rudimentary graphics, a stereoscopic view, and no form of head tracking. The system was canceled less than a year later launch.

Though Virtual Boy hardly resembles anything that would be considered a contemporary VR headset, the Labo VR kit won’t possibly come to market without comparisons bandied about. The stakes are high to show that the Labo VR kit isn’t history repeating itself.

Nintendo’s leap into VR with a Labo VR Kit for Switch is very likely a strategic toe-in-the-water, giving the company room to experiment while considering a broader play, likely for a future console.

Even giving Nintendo the benefit of the doubt when it comes to quality of experience over sheer graphical horsepower, a Switch VR headset designed for the larger Switch demographic (rather than the younger Labo demographic) would be too far behind in hardware to compete with contemporary high-end PC or mobile VR headsets.

For that reason, it seems likely that Nintendo will use the Labo VR Kit for market testing and experimentation while considering a broader Switch VR headset for a future console.

In the meantime, Nintendo has the opportunity to flex its rich game design experience in the still quite young medium of VR. The Labo VR Kit experiences are likely to be 3DOF only, but will also use the motion-tracked Joy Con controllers for input while combined with the Toy-Con accessories for unique experiences.

Like Google Cardboard—which doesn’t include a strap—the strap-less and bulky nature of the Labo VR Toy-Cons will naturally reduce head rotation speed and help hide any latency that may be present in the system.

Order the Insta360 One X here and get a FREE Selfie Stick!
Order the Insta360 One X here and get a FREE Selfie Stick!

What is 360 VR Video?

360 video is a video that is recorded in all directions at the same time with multiple cameras. The videos are stitched together either internally in the camera or externally using special software.

It then forms one spherical video that is controlled by the viewer, enabling them to look up, down, right or left at their discretion.

Is 360 Video Virtual Reality?

I want you to be the judge.

Recommended MicroSD Card for use with the Fusion 360 camera

Recommended MicroSD Card for use with the Fusion 360 camera 

How are you watching your 360 VR Video?

Are you watching on your PC?

Is it Facebook? YouTube? Veer.TV ?

Or better still, are you using your Samsung Galaxy Smartphone with your Samsung Gear VR Headset?

GoPro-Fusion-Tripod-Mount-1_4-20-screw-thread for GoPro Fusion

Or are you using another smartphone with a Google Cardboard? Google Daydream?

Leave a comment below. Let us know what you like or don’t like. If you have seen a 360 VR video that you think is awesome, tell us, and we will feature it.

What type of VR Headset do you own? Or do you watch with your computer? Smartphone?

Do you have a VR camera? Ricoh Theta S? Ion360?  Samsung 360 gear? Insta360?

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