Nintendo has yet to take the leap with VR headsets in this current generation of consoles. This hasn't stopped other companies from doing so for them, however, as an arcade in Japan is about to open up its new Mario Kart virtual reality game.
The VR Zone is an arcade that is based in Shinjuku, Japan. They have recently released a trailer which shows off some of the games and attractions that will be opening up soon. A Mario Kart virtual reality game was briefly shown in the middle of the trailer, which shows a first person view from the karter's perspective. All of the attractions at the VR Zone will use physical installments that are combined with HTC Vive headsets. In Mario Kart's case, the gamers will be able to sit in actual karts, which have physical feedback. We only saw a brief snippet of the game and it appears to be something entirely new, rather than an updated version of Mario Kart 8 or Deluxe.
This Mario Kart VR game is being produced by Namco, who have worked with Nintendo in the past on arcade games. Namco, Nintendo, and Sega once created the Triforce arcade board, which included games like Mario Kart Arcade GP and F-Zero AX. These games were intended to be compatible with the Nintendo GameCube, as you could bring your memory card to the arcade in order to download/upload saves, which would allow you to unlock content in the console version of the games.
The Japanese public has embraced VR a lot more readily than gamers in the West. There are lines around the block whenever a PlayStation VR is in stock in Japan. Western gamers haven't quite embraced it, due to the high entry price for the hardware and the lack of games. When the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR drop to around two hundred dollars in price and a few more killer apps are released, then we will likely see a bigger VR presence outside of Japan.
So, will we ever get a chance to play Mario Kart VR? That will depend on a lot of factors. If Nintendo ever embraces VR for its home consoles, then we almost certainly will. Should they decide to skip it, then the chances will depend on whether VR arcades become popular outside of Japan. This could certainly happen, especially while the technology remains so expensive. The ability to play virtual reality games has been a dream of many people for a long time, so it is possible we may see these kinds of establishments pop up in major cities or at big gaming events in the West. If you really want to play Mario Kart VR at this moment, then you best start saving now, as trips to Japan can be very expensive.
The VR Zone Arcade will open the Mario Kart VR game, as well as all the other titles seen in the trailer, on the 16th of June.