Nintendo Switch upgrade could bring next-generation Virtual Reality gameplay

Has Nintendo got Oculus in its sights?

Nintendo Switch Update Virtual Reality
(Image credit: Future)

Nintendo has some ambitious plans for its staggeringly-popular Nintendo Switch, with the Japanese gaming giant seemingly looking to launch a new Virtual Reality (VR) accessory for the portable-cum-home console.

The revelation comes courtesy of the eagle-eyed team LetsGoDigital who have unearthed a new patent that appears to confirm the design of the accessory. 

Nintendo already offers a simplistic Virtual Reality (VR) headset as part of its cardboard-based Labo kit. There are no straps, so it cannot be worn like a traditional Oculus Rift-style headset, but has to be held in place against your face. 

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(Image credit: USPTO)
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(Image credit: USPTO)

It looks like Nintendo is going to stick with that design for the next iteration of its Virtual Reality (VR) headset, with no straps to keep the accessory in place. According to the illustrations filed with the patent, VR headset users will keep the Joy-Cons fitted in place on the Switch while using the console to view VR content.

It's unclear how Nintendo will leverage Virtual Reality on its handset – whether it has new experiences and games planned for the feature. The news as the company unveiled a new Wii-like fitness game for the console, dubbed Ring Fit Adventure.

The unusual title, which launches in October, ships with a leg strap that holds a Joy-Con to track movements, as well as a large flexible ring Nintendo has branded "Ring-Con", which works like a high-tech resistance band.

It shows the Japanese company is investigating new ways to interact with its best-selling console and lends weight to the patent, which could enable similarly active gameplay – like the Ring-Con – in an upcoming title.

Of course, it's always worth taking these patent images with a pinch of salt. After all, multi-national companies like Nintendo patent a slew of different designs that never become make it out of the R&D laboratory to become fully-fledged products.