Nintendo Labo brings DIY approach to Switch

New Switch line will let users build peripherals with cardboard kits and use them in included games

Nintendo today announced Nintendo Labo, a new line of build-it-yourself cardboard peripherals for the Switch "specially crafted for kids and those who are kids-at-heart."

Each Labo kit includes a number of perforated cardboard sheets from which users will be able to assemble Toy-Cons, a variety of objects that will interact with Switch software. For example, a fishing pole Toy-Con will fit a Joy-Con controller in its reel mechanism, and as players turn the reel's crank, a fishing minigame on the Switch will respond appropriately.

The software will also be useful straight out of the box, giving users animated step-by-step instructions on how to build what can apparently be fairly complex cardboard creations. Nintendo hopes that beyond making and playing with the Toy-Con accessories, users will also explore the mechanics of how they work and customize them.

The first two Labo kits will go on sale April 20. The Variety Kit will offer a number of Toy-Con constructions including the fishing pole, a piano, motorcycle handlebars, and more, while the Robot Kit will include a backpack concealing a system of strings that will allow players to control their on-screen robot using their own hands and feet. The Variety Kit will retail for $70, while the Robot Kit will go for $80.

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Latest comments (9)

Giles Armstrong Senior Writer, Guerrilla Games2 years ago
Bravo Nintendo. ^_^

These all look like so much fun - I can't wait to have a go, share the laughs, and see where this goes! Genuinely delighted at the prospect of this.

Also - hats off to the Nintendo video team on the trailer itself. So. Much. Joy.

Love it. ^_^
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
So when these break in a week and cost $80 to replace, sure parents are going to be pleased with their purchase.

Cardboard has always been synonymous with durability.
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Francisco Javier QA Engineering & Coordination, Saber Interactive Spain2 years ago
@Jeff Kleist: You'll be able to buy any cardboard and replace any broken pieces.

Nintendo is so unique and disruptive. It's great that they bring so much diversity into the gaming industry.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 2 years ago
While other parts of the industry sink deeper into the muck of their microtransaction based business model, Nintendo goes the Wes Anderson route of appealing to parents with cute whimsical emotion bait and nostalgia for the plastic peripheral age.

Jeff Kleist is right, this is no practical toy for any child, this overdesigned papercraft. I would say it was perfect to get Youtube evangelists of your brand exited and make lots of content on their channel, but we know how Nintendo treats those channels.
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Gavin Price Studio Director & Founder, Playtonic Games2 years ago
Lovely surprise, well said @Francisco and @Giles. They said it would be a treat for big kids too, they were right, count me in! Should have gone with 'Origame-i' though!
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee2 years ago
Nintendo said they would provide the blueprints for free. Also, if you buy a bundle it technically includes the software and in some cases, moving parts/motors.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 18th January 2018 1:32pm

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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
@francisco @adam

For stuff or that fishing rod youíre going to have to match gauges or the whole mechanism falls apart, jams, etc. Seriously, itís not that simple. When I was five or six my parents wouldnít buy me the elaborate toys I desperately wanted (they couldnít afford it) like a working backhoe. So I built them out of cardboard. So I actually do have quite a bit of age appropriate experience ;) The effort itís going to take to replace these things far exceeds the likely playtime interest in it as well.

Had they gone for say, making Lego Mindstorms work with Switch theyíd have a far better educational toy with a lot more potential, especially when you add in the portability factor. But as usual, Nintendo re-invents a seven year old toys to life wheel and gets people excited. Kids are going to destroy it in a weekend, a sizable minority of families donít have printers (I know, it shocked me when I found this out a few years ago too), and I know parents are going to be thrilled with junior playing with box cutters and x-acto knives that it takes to cut that gauge properly. Nintendo is relying that parents will order new punch cards from them at huge costs, because they donít have the time to make a Michaelís run twice a week, print, rubber cement the template, cut out, disassemble and reassemble whichever peripheral they broke today.

What Nintendo did learn from the others is that plastic is expensive to make. And that if this bombs they wonít be stuck with much they canít recycle. Toys like this are historicallly museum gift shop fodder, and Iím having my doubts about how programmable it really is for making your own projects, something the kid something like this should be targeted toward will find endlessly frustrating, and theyíll go back to Lego.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee2 years ago
@Jeff You have to consider the fact that toys are not designed to target every corner of the available market.

Age, demographics, financial status will all come into who ultimately buys this product. Similar products on the market would have gone through the same considerations before their release.

Like a lot of things Nintendo do, this is a new and experimental product. It will be very interesting to see what impact it has on the market and who ultimately gets into it.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
@Adam. If anyone else but Nintendo launched an identical product youíd be saying the same things I am. They get a bye because itís a nostalgia cult If it was the Nvidia Switch (which is what it is, they just rebadged the shield) , again identical in every way with an identical game library in every way except obvious cosmetic changes for characters, the thing would be cratered in the public and the press

Back in the 90s, Warner Bros was trying to figure out why their animated films did so poorly compared to Disney. One of the things they did was test their new movie with a Disney instead of a WB logo in front of it. It tested through the roof, the exact same film.

The first batches will blow out the door, thereís never a doubt about that. Especially if they short the supply as per their usual methods. Itís a question of whether kids are buying it, liking it, and playing eith it, destroyed or not a week later.
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