Page 1 — The First Foreign Employee of Nintendo
Page 2 — Working on the N64
Page 3 — Snowboarding in 64 Bits
Page 4 — N64DD, Doshin and Prototypes
Page 5 — Rock n’ Roll Wii and VR
Page 6 — Undersea Adventures on the 3DS and Smash
Page 7 — Bringing Tanks Online and Missed Opportunities
Page 8 — The Future of Vitei
Page 9 — Giles, The Enabler
Page 10 — The Future of Vitei and VR
Page 10 — The Future of Vitei and VR
I was talking with Chris McLaughlin before, and he said Japan is a bit hesitant with VR because of the limited living space and the lack of hardware. How do you plan to overcome that?
I think the best way for people who don’t have a gaming rig to experience VR, is the arcades. That’s what we are looking to at the moment…releasing some of our titles in arcades. Until VR is more consumer friendly, it seems like this is the best approach. Right now there’s not that much VR in the arcades. It seems like a perfect fit for arcades. I was a huge fan of arcades. When we first came here, we would often go to the arcades and play Starblade…it was the peak of good, fun arcade games. Sega Rally, Virtua Fighter…all those cool things…they are all gone now. Now it’s all the ridiculous rhythm games or the gambling games…there doesn’t seem to be any really meaty, or core games. But if they release VR games there people can go and experience VR there.
I guess one issue would be the staff, and set up for VR.
I think there are ways to make it as user friendly as possible…you don’t really need people to set you up and show you what to do. A lot of that is on the software side. When [players] put the headset on, they need to be led through the process once they are in VR. You can’t just put them in VR and expect them to know what to do. You have to gradually introduce them.
I agree. I think the headsets needs to be lighter too.
There are smaller headsets, but they tend to be underpowered…the main thing are the cables and the weight. The VR arcades I’ve played at, they have a system where the cord is on a pulley and players can move around.
Do you think VR is the next generation of gaming?
I think it has to be. At some point it’s just going to become glasses. There’s not going to be a PC or a monitor/ tv…just the glasses and maybe a controller…so how can it not be the future of gaming? Even if it’s just the future where you put on the glasses, and you see a flat screen in front of you…it’s still going to be the future of gaming.
Do you see it as a mixture of AR/ VR?
Yeah, a lot of people have said AR is the future. Sometimes you want to be in the world entirely. I think VR is just as likely to become popular as AR.
What are some challenges in developing VR titles?
Getting people to figure out what to do in VR….what buttons to press. Some of it is the fault of the controllers…they tend to be very different. There’s no unified control interface. The other factor is that you are in this thing, with two independent controllers and you can’t see your hands. The most difficult thing with VR is the user interaction within VR. There’s also some things you can’t do in VR…like going too fast or moving the camera independently.
Are there any type of games that you would like to explore more in the future?
Not really, but the two player stuff is really good fun in VR. It’s surprising how much fun it is. You get to see the movements of another human in VR…it’s really different than seeing a robot or something as their movement is still tied to what you can hear…and you can still talk to them. So it’s a different experience.
Do you think Nintendo would ever support VR?
Probably…maybe? If they do…it’d be two years after everyone else figured out what to do. I don’t think they will go and pioneer. Though, I think there is a patent for the Switch to use in VR. I think if they came out with a new Switch that was half the weight and double the resolution…which they might do in one or two years… but it needs to have really good battery life, really high-resolution screen. I think everyone and their dog is trying to aim for a standalone VR headset with an ultra hi-res screen and really good battery life. If all those companies can’t achieve it I don’t have much hope for Nintendo.
Nintendo has a history of adopting older technology in new ways…
…and with VR it’s all about the tech…much more than any other console so far. Even as something simple as the latency on the devices. There are so many bits that you need to have no latency on…but everything is wireless and being fed by the computer. So the technical challenge is one of the most difficult things you can do. You gotta have almost no code.
So Vitei would never go public?
Not necessarily. If I can keep it the same with the flat structure. As soon as you get external shareholders or board members, then they want a say, and their opinions and they are all going to want their returns…so it probably does get a bit more complicated but it’s doable.
Where do you see the Backroom in ten years?
I see it being one of the major VR pioneers as we’ve been doing VR longer than anyone here in Japan at least. We have a really good vision and roadmap of where VR is heading, and who’s going to be doing what in what areas. That’s why I want to concentrate more on it because I can see 10 years, 20 years…well I can imagine where it’ll be.
And you want to be at the forefront of that.
Yeah because it’s going to be all of gaming at some point.
Thank you for this interview!
Source Gaming is a website dedicated to bringing accurate information to all gaming fans through translations, editorials and original research. You can follow us on Twitter, or ‘like’ us on Facebook.
This interview was conducted June 19th, 2017 in the lobby of the Vitei Backroom in Kyoto. Bold text indicates statements or questions made by PushDustIn. The interview was transcribed and then sent to Giles Goddard and the Vitei Backroom team for approval.
Special thanks to Pauline Machabert of the Vitei Backroom for organizing this interview.
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Check out our interview with the Vitei Backroom for more information about the company!
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