Nintendo Labo – Great Idea or Great Flop?

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Nintendo is selling Nintendo Labo, a cardboard addon in April. This has some hardcore Nintendo fans scratching their heads wondering if Nintendo is doing the right thing.

Nintendo Labo is the latest creation from Nintendo that came completely by surprise. No one saw this coming. Prior to the announcement, Nintendo stated they would be revealing a “new interactive experience for Nintendo Switch that’s specially crafted for kids and those who are kids at heart. “

Adding fuel to the fire of speculation, an Ubisoft employee said that the internet would erupt over the Nintendo announcement.

Enter Nintendo Labo – a tinker kit that will add some interactivty to the Nintendo Switch and take advantage of the Switch’s hardware such as the IR sensor and Accelerometer. You build things out of cardboard and use those creations to interact with the Switch.

So when Nintendo Labo was finally announced– there were 3 different types of reactions:

People were overly excited about this
People thought it was cool, but it wasn’t for them
People lost their minds because they had no interest in it at all.

I’ll give you a guess who is currently making the most noise about this announcement.  Those who are questioning Nintendo methodology aren’t necessarily out of line by doing so.


Why are people so upset about Nintendo Labo?


People are upset with Nintendo Labo mainly because since 2016 when the Switch was announced, it has been advertised as a “serious” gaming console. Compared to Wii and Wii U, the Nintendo Switch didn’t focus on motion controls or any other “gimmicks.”  Gimmicks had been blamed for the Wii U’s failure and moving away from that had been praised by those doubting Nintendo could ever recover the market share lost.

Seen as a breath of fresh air, The Nintendo Switch was quickly snatched up by the Nintendo faithful and it is now on track to sell more consoles in the first year than the Wii U did in its entire life cycle.

Now with a “gimmick” of Nintendo Labo being announced within the first year of the release of the Switch, Nintendo faithful are incredibly worried that this will slow sales.

Some went a step further to state that Nintendo Labo shouldn’t even be on the table because titles like Smash Brothers and Metroid Prime 4 need to come out soon and this is only delaying the process.

Why did Nintendo announce Nintendo Labo?


One thing that people seem to miss when talking about the Nintendo Switch is that it has a lot of features not yet used. Nintendo has done this a lot with previous generations. Famicom, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and Nintendo Gamecube all had expansion slots on the bottom of the console for future ideas. Nintendo hasn’t necessarily utilized all of these expansions

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to people that Nintendo would introduce add ons to utilize features. While the cardboard aspect of this is weird, Nintendo does like to throw out wild cards that can reach a new audience and generate revenue to re-invest back into future products.

The best part of Nintendo Labo, at least from Nintendo’s perspective, is that this is a very low risk product with a high potential for payoff. Cardboard is very inexpensive and has proven to be effective in crafting as proven by Google Cardboard. Some companies now give devices for free.

The potential for customization is endless and the cost of R&D is minimal.


Will Nintendo Labo be successful?


I don’t know. This has the potential to be successful, but with kits starting at $70, it might be a slow start. No one really knows how much fun people are going to have with a single kit. How many items can you make with a single kit? How durable will these items be? How easy will they be to replace if they get stepped on or ripped? How will people store these? Can they be broken down again? What about the countless rubberbands lost due to age?

Nintendo Labo will be released April 20th 2018. In three months, we’ll know if Nintendo Labo will be a hit or a flop. This is a completely optional product for the Nintendo Switch and the Switch’s success is not dependent on the mass consumer base buying Nintendo Labo. That’s one thing that sperates this from something like waggle controls.