We are just a few days away from the launch of the Nintendo Labo. Because of this, ShackNews got together with a handful of analysts and game developers to discuss the Labo. Every single one of them were positive about it, and some of them even say that they plan to get the Labo for their kids. If you want to, feel free to check out everyone’s full Labo impressions down below.
Joost van Dreunen, CEO of SuperData Research
“Labo is a great and novel product that fits well with Nintendo’s history and its penchant for coming up with cool accessories. Its key value currently is to boost the marketing effort for the Switch. Releasing the Labo footage unexpectedly bought Nintendo a lot of traction on social media, which is clearly a critical component to its overall marketing strategy. By continuing to feed its fanbase, Nintendo keeps its core offering top of mind. (I’m unsure) whether people will buy it en masse and whether it will have a life-cycle beyond a few weeks of novelty before it ends up on a shelf much less relevant.”
Jean-François Major, co-founder at Tribute Games
“There’s something about building the toys you play with that I’m sure will reach a broad audience. With games like Minecraft, we’ve proven people are open to non traditional and linear experiences. However, the Labo games will need to be as creative as the cardboard construction.
Labo is a great opportunity to see what makes something tick… it [could]l be a great parent/kid weekend project. A Labo kit could replace building a birdhouse.
A lot of innovation comes from smaller studios. It would probably be a great idea to tap into other studios’ creative minds as long as Nintendo maintains a certain level of quality control.”
Klaus Lyngeled, CEO of Zoink
“I think it’s an amazingly creative idea. I personally really love games that also are toys. A few years back we developed a plush toy for the Wii called WeeWaa. It was a real passion project for me. My kids were quite young then and both played a lot of games and with their plush toys, so I created this cute little character that could eat the Wiimote, and when you moved WeeWaa he would react accordingly on screen. As we designed the game we explored lots of ways to use the accelerometer and IR camera and I can really see how Labo is being very creative with all these features.
I could see that the Swedish educational system might pick this up and start using it in class — especially if you can start programming your own toys, which it seems like Nintendo are hinting at in the trailer. I also imagine that a community of Labo hackers will form and we might see some much more innovative designs floating around the internet.
[It] would be amazing [to work on Labo], but unfortunately I don’t think it will happen. I don’t think Nintendo will fund an indie developer to make a game for Labo as it’s too niche. And funding on our own is too big a risk. We survive because we can sell digitally. Distributing a Labo kit on our own [would be] very complicated. We never managed to get the [WeeWaa] plush out on the market because of distributing.
One solution could be that people build a construction [kit] out of household materials and their own cardboard. That could be a fun way to make an indie Labo game. Let’s see how well [these] Nintendo kits sell before diving into this.”
Mike Wilson, co-founder of both Devolver Digital and Good Shepherd
“I’m pretty sure my response was the same as everyone else’s, which at first was like ‘WTF is this a joke?’ and then soon moved to ‘Wow this is crazy and kind of cool.’ As someone that works with a lot of developers, I don’t think the potential of Labo has even sunk[en] in,” he commented. “… I could see the younger end of Switch players really embracing it. I love it when Nintendo does weird stuff!”
John Comes, CTO of tinyBuild Games
“Since I have kids, I’m already planning on buying some of the Labo things. As someone who was also a mechanical engineer at one time, the entire concept is right up my alley. My son already has an engineering mind, so the STEM learning opportunities will be huge. I feel like this is the first gaming platform that can bridge the gap between ‘games’ and ‘educational games’. There’s such a divide there when you weigh teachings vs. fun gameplay.
I personally feel like cardboard was the perfect material to use. It’s very approachable. I’m not worried about it getting damaged. I mean, it’s cardboard. If it breaks, take the last Amazon box you got and cut out the same piece.”
Jeremy Dunham, VP of Publishing at Rocket League developer Psyonix
“I plan on buying Labo for my kids when it’s released to see what they think. I’m really excited to see what kind of ideas this kit will spark and how different (or similar) those ideas are to other building sets. If you’re only ever relegated to a few recurring designs, or add-on packs are hard to find, or any other number of challenges, it could be limiting. I think of toys like Lego and love their concept of giving you blueprints, but still giving you the freedom to make whatever you want. If Nintendo Labo maintains that kind of flexibility, the potential is very, very high. The real trick is making sure that the cardboard itself is the only rigid thing about it.
As a parent of two kids myself, I can tell you that most crafting/building/exploration kits are typically a bit more expensive than you’d expect. There appears to be a bit of a stigma associated with the cardboard so far, which is understandable, but kids and their parents will tell Nintendo really quickly if the quality and replayability is worth the price once it’s out. Given that a lot of smart-device-controlled robots are typically in the range of $100 or more, though, I can see the argument that the ability to build the toy first would make the price worth it for some.
A Rocket League kit would be really neat to see on store shelves, but I imagine that Nintendo wants to see how its initial experiment works out first before opening the floodgates. If it is a success, though, and kids start asking for themed sets based on their favorite properties, Nintendo has shown in the past (in games like Smash Bros. and even our own to a lesser extent) that they have no problem finding ways to make that happen.”