Nintendo Labo: cardboard creations are toymaker’s latest crazy idea- Prosyscom
Nintendo has unveiled its next attempt to expand its reach beyond hardcore video game fans: a line of DIY craft creations that pair with its Switch console and controllers to become interactive toys.
Called Nintendo Labo, the products are put together with cardboard, string and other materials, before the Switch and Joy-Con are added to give the toys a screen, speakers, or the ability to detect motion. Switch software is included to control each toy.
At launch in April two packs will be available, with the first including a buildable remote control car, fishing rod, house, motorbike handlebars and an adorable piano for $99.95. The second includes a wearable robot suit with various different parts, for $119.95.
The toys appear to have a focus on learning as well as playing, with the Switch screen displaying not only instructions but explanations about how everything works during the building phase. For example the piano features a strip of reflective tape on the inside, so the IR camera on the right Joy-Con can sense which key is being pressed by what parts of the tape are obscured.
The robot seems like the most complex toy, featuring a backpack attached to arm controls with string, and a cardboard headset. The creations are designed to be painted, drawn on and decorated, with Nintendo planning to offer an official pack of sticker and tape for $14.95.
A trailer for Labo also included quick glimpses of a cardboard camera with a zoom lens, a pump-action gun and a bird, although these three toys are not included in any of the announced packs. It seems likely that Nintendo will add additional toys and concepts over time, as it has with its amiibo line of scannable plastic figures.
Reaction to Labo on social media was mixed. Many Nintendo fans applauded the reliably quirky company for yet another fresh idea, and gamers with kids in particular expressed excitement for a product that blended video games with tactile imaginative play.
Others appeared to take the release of a product aimed at a younger audience as a personal attack, blasting Nintendo for choosing to develop Labo rather than focusing on more mature content, or complaining that the prices were too high for cardboard toys (apparently missing the fact that the packs come with software included).
One group with no early complaints about Labo will be Nintendo’s shareholders. The firm’s stock shot up by 2.4 per cent following the announcement, according to a Financial Times report, adding another $1.75 billion to its value on top of the gains it’s already made since the reveal, release and success of the Switch over the last year.
“This is exactly the kind of crazy idea that Nintendo are known for which we believe will help expand the company’s audience,” Macquarie analyst David Gibson told FT, predicting the company would sell between one million and two million Labo units.