The U.K. video game sales chart for the week ending in April 13, 2019 are out now, and they highlight a slow month for the video games industry. What's most surprising is how Nintendo's latest Labo VR sets "just missed out" on breaking into the top 40, which only saw one new entry–a Burnout spiritual success called Dangerous Driving.
Nintendo Labo VR is Nintendo's entry into virtual reality, which transforms existing Nintendo Switch consoles into VR-capable devices. It's similar to Google Cardboard, which turns existing smartphones into VR devices. The more expensive Nintendo Labo VR Kit (which includes all six Labo VR kits and retails in the U.S. for $79.99) entered the Nintendo Switch charts at #11. Meanwhile the cheaper Labo VR Starter Kit (which sells for $39.99 in the U.S.) entered the Switch charts at #13.
Both kits failed to make it into the overall Top 40 U.K. video game sales chart which accounts for the best-selling games of the week across all platforms.
As a comparison, the original Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 01: Variety Kit (a $40 USD package that includes the Labo piano kit, motorcycle kit, and more) debuted on the U.K. charts at number three back in April 2018, just behind God of War and Far Cry 5.
The marked drop in sales for the Labo VR kit could mean a variety of things. Either consumers who have already experienced Nintendo Labo last year aren't interested in new add-ons, or, the prospect of VR on the Switch isn't all too enticing for customers—even if it is a way to play games in VR without buying an expensive PC rig.
There's also the chance the customers just aren't interested in VR sets that aren't standalone VR systems. Sales for smartphone VR have declined year-over-year since 2017, and sales for PlayStation VR and HTC Vive headsets declined throughout 2018.
Customers could also be waiting to see what The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey will look like in VR when the free VR updates come to both games at the end of the month. Although Nintendo's Labo VR Kits ship with built-in VR experiences, there aren't any titles that can compete with the allure of playing Breath of the Wild in VR.
The long-term success of Labo VR will likely depend on more key experiences involving Nintendo's core franchises. We'll also be looking into the sales figures for Labo VR in the U.S. when the NPD sales numbers for April are released next month.