Nintendo is entering the virtual reality market — sort of. Announced seemingly out of nowhere on Twitter, Nintendo is releasing Nintendo Labo: VR Kit, the fourth in the studio’s line of DIY cardboard Switch peripherals. The VR Kit launches in stores and online April 12.
The full VR Kit costs $80 and comes with six Toy-Con builds:
Alternatively, you can purchase a starter kit for $40 that comes with the VR Goggles and Blaster builds. After buying the starter kit, you can then grab expansion sets separately. The first expansion set comes with the Camera and Elephant builds, and the second contains the Bird and Wind Pedal.
The software included with each build hasn’t been revealed, but one can presume that the Blaster build is some kind of shooting mini-game. Perhaps the bird lets you take the perspective of a flying seagull, and the elephant lets you spew water from your trunk.
What is clear, however, is that you’ll have to insert the Nintendo Switch console into each cardboard docking station and hold it really close to your face. Major companies specializing in VR often state that the technology isn’t safe for young children. For instance, the PlayStation VR’s recommended age is 12 and up, while the Oculus Rift has a 13-and-up warning. In the fine print on Nintendo’s website, it states that you can turn off the VR images in the settings and it suggests doing so for children under the age of six.
Perhaps the age discrepancy between the major VR movers and shakers and Nintendo comes from the difference in hardware. Naturally, Labo VR won’t offer the same immersive and intensive experience of high-end headsets. The Switch’s screen resolution maxes out at 720p, which isn’t exactly ideal for a full-fledged VR experience.
Nintendo has been long known as a company that isn’t afraid to create what some would deem head-scratching products. This is the company that created Virtual Boy, after all. And its last dedicated handheld system, the Nintendo 3DS, offered stereoscopic 3D without glasses.
That said, we’re certainly intrigued by the VR Kit. We enjoyed our time with the Variety Kit and Robot Kit when they launched last year and the Vehicle Kit offered more engaging games to play once the builds were completed.
Nintendo Labo: VR Kit launches April 12. In the meantime, you can pick up any of the first three kits, which are on sale for $40 right now.