The heart of tech is coming to the heart of the Mediterranean. Join TNW in València this March 🇪🇸

This article was published on August 11, 2018

Nintendo’s Switch has a hidden VR mode — but don’t get your hopes up

Nintendo’s Switch has a hidden VR mode — but don’t get your hopes up
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

Since Nintendo first introduced the Switch last year, fans have been asking about a possible VR add-on. It seems implausible for a number of reasons, but a recent find would seem to suggest Nintendo is at least toying with the idea.

A Twitter user who spends his free time writing homebrew and modding tools for the Switch recently stumbled upon a screen in the system that suggests that Nintendo is testing some sort of VR mode. The screen enables VR Mode — although not with actual games — before splitting into two equally sized displays and asking the user to move away from the screen before pressing the ‘close’ button.

As you’d expect, this sent the rumor mill surrounding Switch VR into overdrive, leading many to post similar findings in suggestion that Nintendo is looking at its possibilities here.

Nintendo seems to have been toying with the idea for about a year now. In 2017, another Twitter user posted code that was added to the system during its 3.0.0 update. The interesting part came from two separate lines, 50 and 51, where it looked to have an option to enable VR mode. That said, it wasn’t enabled, and Nintendo doesn’t appear to have made any additional changes to that section of the codebase.

As for whether we’ll see a VR mode on the Switch, the answer, at least for now, is no. That comes from Nintendo itself, which has previously stated, on multiple occasions, that it is not interested in VR support. The company went so far as to suggest that headsets still weren’t appealing to mainstream audiences, and that it had no desire to force the issue.

A far more likely answer is a bit of leftover code from the Android graphics API Nintendo adapted for the Switch’s graphics rendering. As Game Revolution states, the system runs on an NVIDIA Tegra X1 SOC, the same system that powers the NVIDIA Shield Android TV and Google Pixel C — all of which run variations of Android.