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I find it amazing that, to detect hand and leg movement, the Vive and Oculus teams had to do so much on coming up with expensive sensors and configurations. These systems require the need for a dedicated room, which has been setup basically by experts.

Nintendo delivers 80% of the experience and 100% of the fun with an IR camera (already in the switch) and some $4 cardboard they sell for $80. And it is portable!

While the better sensors will definitely win in the long run, this is one of the best instances of engineering simplicity and "perfect being the enemy of good enough". It's hard to be anything but speechless.




It looks like almost everyone that replied to your comment completely missed the point, but understanding the difference between technology and fun is exactly why Nintendo can be both the most acclaimed game developer and a money-making business.

And it's not like they even try to keep quiet about their philosophy; Gunpei Yokoi called it "Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology" (枯れた技術の水平思考) and wrote a book about it.[1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpei_Yokoi#Lateral_Thinking_...


I don't think anyone missed the point, it's just a nonsensical comparison. The implication is that Vive and Oculus foolhardily over complicated their solution to the controller tracking problem, and Nintendo did the same thing much simpler. (The space pen vs Russian pencil)

But they are doing entirely different things. Labo is cool, but is entirely unrelated to VR tracking technology.


> The implication is that Vive and Oculus foolhardily over complicated their solution to the controller tracking problem, and Nintendo did the same thing much simpler.

You just missed the point again. That's not the implication at all. The implication is not that they did the same thing, it's that they did a different thing, which is simpler, but is still a good solution for the metric they are optimizing: fun.


There's no implication here to interpret here, the commentator did directly compare the two systems. Here's a quote from the comment:

> Nintendo delivers 80% of the experience


The goal of all gaming systems, VR, Labo or console, is to be a fun experience.

I agree they are all targeting a different fidelity for emmersion, but they are all targeting the same fidelity for fun.

Why can't I compare two very different implementations trying to achieve a similar core goal?


... a Yo-Yo is fun too and is 1% of the cost of the Labo, is that a fair comparison?


They were comparing the experience and the fun, not the systems.


Gunpei Yokoi was a brilliant product designer. I wish the computing industry had a Gunpei Yokoi, he's like the anti-Apple.


Reminds me of the tale of the "hover board". Rudimentary electro-mechanical device versus the dozens of smart-phone empowered personal mobility startups spending incredible engineering effort on objectively better products. The cheap and 80% there product was a viral success, it hit that sweetspot of cost and functionality. It also had the benefit of being an open-source device right from the heart of where it was manufactured.


It's this triumph of marketing over engineering that caused them to really blow up.


Can you elaborate please? Was some motorised longboard product much more successful than others? I seem to remember half-a-dozen products that I noticed during their launch or early marketing, but haven't seen them in the wild or heard of them ever after (Boosted, Onewheel, etc.)


Data point: while I see electric skateboards, longboards, and scooters in slowly but steadily increasing numbers around here, the number of hoverboards out in the wild has lived a short, hyped life and I rarely, if ever, encounter any anymore.


I'm still a bit confused - apparently "hoverboard" is being used by you and the other poster not in the 'back to the future' sense of a hoverboard?

Maybe it's living in a northern climate, or maybe we're behind the hype cycle, but I have seen 2 of those things in my life, one as a kids' toy and the other as an office toy.


This[0] is what is — quite infuriatingly — being labeled "hoverboards" by the general public. Following some marketing hype they were popular gifts around Christmas a couple of years ago, and they're mostly used as recreational devices, to be tucked away on a shelf in a garage as the hype dies down — that is if they ever survive even moderate use, since most of them are bad knockoffs. Those unicycles[1] though, are sort of growing in popularity as last-mile transportation devices, as are electric longboards and scooters.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-balancing_scooter

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-balancing_unicycle


Well, when the screen is attached to your face, perfect is the friend of good enough.

Anything less and you throw up.


For hand and leg movement? Not really. Maybe I can see the case for leg movement if it's considered the same as 6DOF, but you definitely don't need those two to be perfect. You need your 6DOF implementation, and specifically your head tracking to be perfect to prevent throwing up.


But when the helmet already requires it, the setup is already there, so you might as well use the same equipment to track position of hands.


You will not get motion sick, but high latency and imprecise controller tracking feels bad and makes it hard or impossible to perform a large class of interesting interactions in VR, interactions that most existing apps are built on. One thing that Nintendo does not compromise on are poor quality controls or game feel.


How are they in any way related? Nintendo's experience isn't designed for VR and that fact means they don't have nearly the same design considerations. It's a completely silly comparison.


As folks here have said, it's apples to oranges when it comes to VR, that's for sure.

However, I think there's something to be said if we instead compare them as immersive experiences. Nintendo created something compelling by taking an unorthodox route. [Insert joke about thinking inside/outside the cardboard box.]


It's not really comparable. Labo isn't actually designed for VR, everything in VR has to be really precise and fast or it's incredibly noticeable.


You really cannot compare Labo to VR. At all. Like not even a little. They are completely different use cases and more advanced tech is absolutely required for VR platforms.

Even if they were comparable, that last 20% is a bitch (but often worth it.) It's always easy to come up with an 80% solution.


They sell it for $80 because it’s cardboard and a game, which generally retails for $60.


I totally agree with your point! It doesn't necessary to provide a perfect sensor or an expensive VR experience. All we need is developing the production not so mature but containing all the cheap and good enough utilities. With the success of switch, I believe that the higher performance or experience of switch will be released to the market in the future.


"If it's not fun, why bother?" - Reggie


Not to nitpick - but the challenge with Vive and Oculus is that they need to detect the movements without having a camera guaranteed to face the player head on at all times. This adds a considerable layer of challenge above what the Switch has to do.

IR tracking is mostly only feasible if you can guarantee that the user is facing the IR camera at a relatively consistent distance. The original Wii did this, the Kinetic did this, TrackIR [1] started doing this in 2001.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TrackIR


I'll think you'll be pleasantly surprised that the Switch and Labo solved that problem.

The sensors and the IR camera are always in the correct orientation, regardless of player movement. And they solved it with $4 of cardboard. I can't praise enough the simplicity of their approach to the problem.


It's more that the worked their games to fit the constraints of the technology, rather than solved the problem. To the best of my knowledge, you still can't leave the switch stationary and completely turn away from the box. The "problem" that VR constrol schemes need to solve (full 6 degrees of motion, line of sight from a controller and any one sensor can be blocked at any time) is not addressed by the Switch.

The Switch is definitely cool technology, though, but is addressing different constraints than VR.


>some $4 cardboard they sell for $80

I really hope you don't think you're just buying cardboard when you get a Labo kit.

I mean, I suspect you don't, but being this reductive makes it comes across as though it's some sort of scam.


I'm one of Nintendo's biggest fans and I love that they focus on fun over tech. I spent around 120 hours in BoTW.

But... at least for one of their series I loved before, Metroid, the lack of VR will probably mean I won't play it.

Metroid Prime 1 and 2 are among my favorite games ever. They made me feel like I was on another planet better than any other game. But, a year or so ago I played Farpoint on PSVR. It's not a great game and the writing is horrible but the feeling of actually being on another world is unmatched. VR is like visiting the Grand Canyon vs seeing a picture of it. A picture does not give that awe inspiring sense of vastness, size, and presence. VR does. For that particular franchise a non VR Metroid will now be a huge let down from that experience for me.


This is like comparing a sports car and a movie on cost and entertainment value.




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