The Holidays are Nintendo Labo’s Last Chance

Kevin Carpenter:

Everything looked so promising back in January. Designed for “the young and young at heart”, Labo combined traditional video game experiences with do-it-yourself construction more akin to the maker movement. The YouTube announcement video quickly raced past 10 million views and nationwide hands-on demos booked up in minutes.
Investors took notice, too, as the company’s share price jumped 4.2%. Nintendo appeared to have all the ingredients for another breakout hit.
Except for the sales. In Japan, approximately 120,000 units of Toy-Con 01: Variety Kit and Toy-Con 02: Robot Kit sold in the opening week, accounting for just 30% of the initial shipment. Stateside, the Variety Kit ranked fourth in the April NPD report. September’s Toy-Con 03: Vehicle Kit didn’t move the needle much either.

Something about this whole initiative felt weird to me from day one. And while Twitter nearly successfully shamed me into thinking I was foolish, something still lingered. And I think rightfully so. We all want to love this idea. But the go-to-market for the idea just doesn’t seem great. Which, initial Switch success aside, is the story of Nintendo in recent years.

I do like the idea to pivot to schools though. That’s a good potential use case.


Want to receive more content like this in your inbox?