Nintendo Labo is the latest innovation from the company behind the Wii, 3DS, and the Virtual Boy (OK, so that last one wasn't a success, but it did show a lot of forward thinking!). In this guide to Nintendo Labo for Switch we'll detail the Nintendo Labo release date, Nintendo Labo price, the different Labo kits, and the various games you'll be able to play. This is everything you need to know about Nintendo Labo.
Nintendo Labo Release Date and Nintendo Labo Price
Announced via a brief video and a string of impressions pieces from press, Nintendo Labo looks to be one of the most inventive Nintendo products yet, but when is Nintendo Labo being released? Nintendo revealed that the Labo release date is April 20, 2018 in the US, with the UK getting the Labo kits a week later on April 27. Labo is initially being released with two products: Robo Kit and Variety Kit. The Nintendo Labo price depends on the kit you are buying. Robo Kit will retail for $79.99 (£69.99 in the UK), with Variety Kit retailing for $69.99 (£59.99 in the UK). Nintendo will also release a Nintendo Labo Customization Set for $9.99 (£8.99 in the UK). To use Nintendo Labo you'll need to own a Nintendo Switch console, which will obviously add to the price if you're yet to buy Nintendo's smash-hit home/handheld hybrid.
Is the overall cost of the Switch plus Labo too high to achieve mainstream success on par with the Wii and Wii Sports? It might be.
What is Nintendo Labo?
Labo is a mixture of build-it-yourself cardboard toys and Switch software, with the toys becoming controllers for the Switch software or the Switch Software controlling the toys. For the best idea of what Nintendo Labo is, take a look at the video just above.
As it stands at the moment, Nintendo will release two Labo Kits, each coming with a set of cardboard and 'bits' that can be built into a toy or toys. Each kit also includes a Switch Game Card that will let you interact with the cardboard and play games.
While Nintendo will no doubt want everyone to enjoy Labo, the hands-on event it's hosting in the US specifically targets families with children aged 6-12 years.
While Nintendo Labo doesn't really look much like VR, there has been some suggestion that Labo and VR sit in the same space. Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aimé, COO of Nintendo of America, doesn't believe that to be the case.
"It’s not meant to be some sort of competitive answer (to virtual reality)," said Fils-Aime at an event attended by the Toronto Sun. "It’s meant to be something totally unique, totally unexpected."
"Consumers around the world who watched this video had generally favorable responses, including some who voiced delighted surprise that Nintendo had once again done the unexpected," said Nintendo President, Tatsumi Kimishima during the firm's financial results briefing.
According to Kimishima, more info on Labo will be released in the weeks leading up to release:
"The release is set for April, so this was just a teaser to unveil the product. We will introduce the full particulars for Nintendo Labo over the course of the weeks ahead through hands-on events and a variety of promotional activities by Nintendo."
Can Replacement Nintendo Labo Cardboard Kits be Bought?
Nintendo hasn't said if new cardboard kits will be purchasable without the game cards (at a reduced cost). There was some hope that the blueprints for the toy-cons would be released so anyone can cut out their own replacement kits if you've got the cardboard. IGN France has since stated that Nintendo won't do this for free. Once the kits hit the market, though, what's to stop blueprints appearing online for home use?
Each Nintendo Labo kit also comes with spare card and parts, so parents will have a small amount of stress relief should little Johnny destroy a kit within moments of taking it out of the box.
Nintendo Wants Players to Experiment With Labo
Details on exactly what you can do outside of the pre-cut kits and game cards is thin on the ground, but Nintendo has already stated that it wants people to "invent new ways to play". Whether or not this is simply using existing toy-cons in new ways or actually building new models and simple games, remains to be seen. There does seem to be the possibility that there will be a LittleBigPlanet-style user created content scene, but we'll have to wait and see.
The Nintendo Labo trailer above shows off numerous previously unseen features of Labo, including the Toy-Con Garage. This feature will allow players to make their own mini-games and cardboard creations. How in-depth you can get remains to be seen, but the software seems to allow for simple programming.
Given that Labo kits are made from cardboard, we consulted Wikipedia to see that corrugated cardboard is rated in a number of key tests, as seen below:
- Edge crush test
- Burst strength
- Flat crush test
- Bending resistance
- Impact resistance
- Cushioning, shock absorption
- Tear resistance
- Grammage (mass per unit of area) for components and for combined board
That's everything you need to know about Nintendo Labo. For more on Labo, check out our thoughts of the Nintendo Labo reveal.