Nintendo Labo – the fusion of analogue and digital

The fact that Nintendo is one of the most innovative companies in the world has been proven more often in the past. The Japanese toy giant recognized the potential of the game console market at an early stage and has adapted its business models over the years, with an almost unbeatable instinct, to the latest wishes of young and old alike. Only last year they landed a sales hit with their switch console, for which they have now introduced an extension: Nintendo Labo. The special feature: the expansion module is made entirely of cardboard.

Teaser Nintendo Labo (Source: Nintendo)

Labo combines the analogue and digital worlds and is designed to bring children closer to technology in a playful way – this is the mission of Nintendo. The desired cardboard kits must first be assembled and then connected to the switch. What sounds banal at first glance, however, is complex mechanics that have already captivated the first testers. The new product will be rolled out from 27 April 2018, when Nintendo plans to launch two of the four sets presented in the teaser video.


Nintendo Labo – a tool for robots, fishermen and pianists

Nintendo Labo - Robo-SetOne of the Nintendo Labo’s possible sets is the Robo set, with which the player can turn into a “combat robot”. Simply take the backpack made of cardboard and rubber on your back and take the switch controllers in your hand, and you can control the robot completely with your gestures and movements. If you believe the trailer, a high degree of precession is possible, which reminds you of current efforts in the field of virtual reality. Another application is the construction of a fishing rod made of cardboard. If the player has combined the 20 or more individual parts with his console, the switch can record the route’s movements. Virtual fishing becomes thereby the real activity to the confusingly similar.

The most impressive application, however, is the switch piano. With 13 keys and a switch for changing the octave, children can playfully play with the pianist. Infrared cameras in the controllers located behind the buttons provide all the details to the switch’s screen.

According to information from the USK, which is responsible for the youth protection test in the UK, they already have a prototype of the Nintendo Labo at their disposal. Fortunately, the employees there were able to save the cardboard construction from waste paper at the last second, otherwise the USK examination would have proved to be complicated.



Innovations-Profile: Nintendo Labo

Nintendo has recognised how they can exploit the strengths of the switch, and with Nintendo Labo they are bringing out a competitor for the classic console market and for VR applications at the same time. With their switch, they were able to celebrate an unbelievable success, as the console is one of the fastest selling Nintendo consoles in both the USA and Germany. With this innovative expansion, they are now bringing another reason to the market to buy a switch.


Nintendo Labo - Innovation-Profile


The Nintendo Labo is a complete innovation on the market, demonstrating the creativity of the Nintendo team. Even if one already knows cardboard hardware, such as the Google Cardboard, the Japanese company reaches with its development a completely new level of complexity, but also of entertainment value, in this area. For this reason, novelty and complexity have to be considered very high.

But despite the extensive sets, the handling of the finished product is extremely intuitive and close to everyday analogue processes. The Labo fishing rod or the piano do not work otherwise than their real counterpart does. Therefore, the uncertainty will be extremely low. The extent of conflict is also rather low.

Conclusion: Nintendo, which vehemently opposes the introduction of Virtual Reality, has developed an interactive alternative in the form of Nintendo Labo, which optimally combines its history as a toy manufacturer and its activities as a digital pioneer.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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