Soo.... Labo seems to be mostly dead and buried by games media. What do you think went wrong with Labo?

Jun 6, 2015
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#1
If there's one thing you can say about Kinect, it was the first and last time a console add-on was a massive break-out success. Of course it did many things wrong as well, but that's another thread. I just find it interesting console add-ons went back to being failures or mild success relatively. Kinect must have been lightning in a bottle.

So let's talk about Nintendos attempt to integrate education with its fast-selling hybrid console, The Labo.

The Labo, Nintendos uh..... Google AIY Cardboard competitor? Was originally part of the much rumored "quality of Life" initiative that would expand Nintendo beyond games. Among other rumored expansions at the time, which included a fitness club.

Labo launched to middling success, it had a good launch and seemed like it would go places initially. But as sales data continued to come in from retailers and Nintendo themselves, it became clear Labo wasn't going anywhere. Even YouTube could not give Labo the bump it needed, and up till now there hasn't been any NEW kits for Labo in quite a long time.

It seems when you view things from every angle that's available to the public, The Labo clearly ended up a massive failure, at least for what Nintendos original goal for it was, and the result is not only Nintendo basically not even bothering expanding upon Labo, but also dropping the prices toward the bargin bin rage.

https://www.polygon.com/deals/2019/...games-and-more-of-the-weeks-best-gaming-deals



Strangely, looking back on it, Nintendo actually gave up on Labo arguably just 6 months or so after release. that's quite early, so the rumors of poor retail confidence among other things were indeed true. Back then, people claimed it was too early to tell and people were implementing heavy hyperbole tactics. But once we started getting real numbers, along with NPD and GFK leaks, It didn't turn out too well.

But I always found it curious for why Nintendo never tried to salvage the project, especially given what they expected from it and how they build The Labo up until launch. A very strange decision in my opinion. I'm sure they have their reasons.

On top of all this, for several months now gaming media has basically all but buried any real topics on The Labo outside deals and sales updates, mostly in a negative light. YouTube has long dropped it, and social media barely ever talks about it.

Apparently in the whole year of 2018, which included price cuts and gift cards, especially during the holidays, Nintendo only sold 1 million the whole year.
https://variety.com/2019/gaming/news/nintendo-labo-sales-2018-1203125619/

So what do you think is the reason why Labo never really took off or gained the attention of parents or children (its target audience)?
 
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#2
So what do you think is the reason why Labo never really took off or gained the attention of parents or children (its target audience)?
Pricing...

Nintendo thought they could flog bits of cardboard for massive premiums and people would pay for it because Nintendo...
 
Jan 13, 2017
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#4
My gut says price and long-term enjoyability. I think they were cute and novel ideas, but the price seemed a bit steep to me, and the products themselves seemed to be things that I'd be tired of in a week.

Of course, I don't own a Switch, so take my opinion for what it's worth.
 
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#7
Well, Lego was quite successful with flogging bits of plastic for massive, massive premiums... So, Nintendo probably thought they could do that as well.
Lego comparison doesn't really work though since Nintendo just had one type of cardboard and it was limited to what was in the box with little variety or interchangeability.
 
Likes: hariseldon
May 15, 2017
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#9
Well, Lego was quite successful with flogging bits of plastic for massive, massive premiums... So, Nintendo probably thought they could do that as well.
Difference being that plastic can stand up to a lot more abuse than cardboard. As a parent I'm not paying that much for cardboard. My oldest, who has the Switch, would probably take care of it fairly well, but his two little brothers would end up destroying it the first time they got their hands on it. Hard pass.
 
Apr 18, 2018
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#10
Cardboard.

It's not a premium product. You don't devalue your own brand like this. I have no confidence that I'm buying something that can last.

We just came off a generation of plastic guitars, tennis rackets, bats, drumsets, turntables, mini-golf clubs, and various steering wheels. I'm not glorifying these controllers, but that's what we had on store shelves less than a decade ago.

The notion that Nintendo -- friggin' Nintendo!! -- can't pony up for some contraptions made out of reliable material is sad. You couldn't do fluted plastic? It's identical to cardboard and could even be punched out of frames like cardboard.

I would have bought it if Nintendo released higher-quality kits. Maybe that would've required them to cut back the total number of games. Who knows?
 
May 26, 2011
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these add ons jsut werent what was selling kids a switch. no kid or adult was asking for LABO on their switch. they want mario pokemon zelda etc. not real-world shovelware

cant blame them for trying - theyre always innovative and willing to give obscure ideas a chance
 
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Jul 20, 2007
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I frequently find myself having an undesirable amount of cardboard kicking around the house - Amazon packages, diaper boxes, Wayfair stuff, etc. Christmas brings an avalanche of cardboard and it takes up space, drives me crazy as I wait for recycling day. Having cardboard boxes cluttering up my home space is just a huge pet peeve of mine. I've always equated cardboard with garbage, good only for taking up space after I unboxed whatever said cardboard contained. Paying money to make things out of cardboard, and keep them somewhere in my house long term was just a non starters for me from the get go. I'm weird tho. I stopped collecting Funko stuff not because of the cardboard, but because I took a moment to consider where these billions of plastic figures are going to end up. Labo is probably more eco friendly but I digress..
 
Likes: Tarkus98
Jul 26, 2018
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#17
  • Hudo

    Hudo

Lego comparison doesn't really work though since Nintendo just had one type of cardboard and it was limited to what was in the box with little variety or interchangeability.
Difference being that plastic can stand up to a lot more abuse than cardboard. As a parent I'm not paying that much for cardboard. My oldest, who has the Switch, would probably take care of it fairly well, but his two little brothers would end up destroying it the first time they got their hands on it. Hard pass.
Doesn't change the principle, though. Lego is also heavily overpriced. Even more than Nintendo Labo is/was. And I say that as a Lego fan. It gets even worse when you're buying Lego Star Wars products because then you're also paying the Disney premium. For example, they've recently released a Star Wars set featuring the incomplete AT-ST (from Episode VIII). 60 fucking Euros. There was a complete AT-ST set for 40 Euros. Literally the same parts, just that the 40€ set was a complete AT-ST (more parts!). The incomplete AT-ST set featured captain Phasma...that's why it is 60€.

But I agree that Lego is more durable than cardbord and can also stand up to a lot more abuse. I think that Labo can be successful if Nintendo stick with it for a while and create more sets and make the parts more interchangable. Or they could partner with Lego to do some Labo stuff with them. But it will be as equally overpriced as the Star Wars sets are, I'm afraid.
 
Jun 6, 2015
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#22
Doesn't change the principle, though. Lego is also heavily overpriced. Even more than Nintendo Labo is/was. And I say that as a Lego fan. It gets even worse when you're buying Lego Star Wars products because then you're also paying the Disney premium. For example, they've recently released a Star Wars set featuring the incomplete AT-ST (from Episode VIII). 60 fucking Euros. There was a complete AT-ST set for 40 Euros. Literally the same parts, just that the 40€ set was a complete AT-ST (more parts!). The incomplete AT-ST set featured captain Phasma...that's why it is 60€.

But I agree that Lego is more durable than cardbord and can also stand up to a lot more abuse. I think that Labo can be successful if Nintendo stick with it for a while and create more sets and make the parts more interchangable. Or they could partner with Lego to do some Labo stuff with them. But it will be as equally overpriced as the Star Wars sets are, I'm afraid.
Lego is varied and is interchangeable. Most of the lego empire is usable with eachother. Also like old IBM PC clones, some third-party clones, which are cheaper, are also compatible. Lego is much more of a thing than Labo I just don't find the comparison valid.

If you want to talk about the cost of Lego compared to Megablox or something that would make a bit more sense to me comparison wise.
 
Aug 12, 2008
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#23
Nintendo went niche for the rich when they usually capture lightning in a bottle for a lower price point which appeals to casual users a la the Wii and WiiSports. Labo has no staying power outside of a multimedia model kit using a textile that is neither sturdy nor has long-term use.
 
Feb 21, 2018
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#25
I thought it was going to be genius but it wasn't.

In the end it was the cardboard that did them in. But it was the cardboard that saved them too. I bet the cardboard was recycled Wii U boxes so the cost to "make" Labo was probably peanuts. So even if it didn't sell like gangbusters I doubt they lost any money on it.

Also the games didn't seem to be too high quality. They looked like some phone but more along the lines of F2P games.

I can imagine something like this would be more successful as an app for a phone. Games could be free or .99 cents and sell the cardboard really cheap like 5$ a set, or even just allow people to use their own cardboard. Its a tougher sell for a 300$ machine. And even tougher to get kids to stop playing Mario or Zelda and build some cardboard that they will sit on 2 days later with games that get old within an hour or two.

Oh well back to the drawing board Nintendo. At least it was a different and innovative idea.
 
Sep 4, 2018
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#26
was it a massive failure? three kits released a year ago, pretty sure they sold well, i saw a lot of teachers & parents online picking it up & playing around w it.

massive failure suggests there was some massive expectation. was there? i don't think anyone thought this was going to set the world on fire.

given the tiny development costs this must have taken i wouldn't be surprised if they made money on every unit sold. lol of course it didn't sell as much as Smash Ultimate but it cost nothing to produce comparitively.

comparing it to Kinect seems like apples to oranges. that worked with a zillion games and your Netflix and stuff. this is just, like, some fun educational kits.
 
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Jul 26, 2018
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#28
  • Hudo

    Hudo

Lego is varied and is interchangeable. Most of the lego empire is usable with eachother. Also like old IBM PC clones, some third-party clones, which are cheaper, are also compatible. Lego is much more of a thing than Labo I just don't find the comparison valid.

If you want to talk about the cost of Lego compared to Megablox or something that would make a bit more sense to me comparison wise.
My kids still play with Lego bricks that I played with as a child decades ago. This isn't even apples to oranges -- its antelopes to omelets.
I am terribly sorry but why is the comparison so far off? Labo, as it is right now, reminds me of the state that Lego was in when it started. Labo can become "Lego-like" if Nintendo decide to stick with it and widen its product palette there. They can make the cardboard parts interchangable.

However, I would prefer if Nintendo would just partner with Lego instead.
 
Feb 23, 2009
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#29
I am terribly sorry but why is the comparison so far off? Labo, as it is right now, reminds me of the state that Lego was in when it started. Labo can become "Lego-like" if Nintendo decide to stick with it and widen its product palette there. They can make the cardboard parts interchangable.

However, I would prefer if Nintendo would just partner with Lego instead.
A partnership might be something cool.

These are the reasons why I don't think Labo is anything like Lego:

- Labo's cost of entry is much higher than Lego.
- Lego's are much simpler to use and doesn't require adult supervision (as it does handing a tablet to a child)
- Legos are much more flexible. I could get a Lego set and build another thing if I wanted
- Labo is limited to what Nintendo outputs while imagination is the limit with Lego
- Labo is cardboard (nice cardboard but still) so it lasts much less than a piece of plastic


Personally, I never got the appeal of Labo and it seems like the rest of the market didn't either.
 
Likes: Hudo
Jun 6, 2015
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#31
I am terribly sorry but why is the comparison so far off? Labo, as it is right now, reminds me of the state that Lego was in when it started. Labo can become "Lego-like" if Nintendo decide to stick with it and widen its product palette there. They can make the cardboard parts interchangable.

However, I would prefer if Nintendo would just partner with Lego instead.
The issue is you are combing two different posts together that find flaw with your comparison without reading them.

Again for the third time, Lego started out cheaper, and are interchangeable/compatible with ALL other lego kits and third-party clones, which Labo isn't.

Lego has themed partnerships that are still interchangable/compatible with all other lego sets and third-party clones.

If you're paying $60 for Lego products you're getting a lot more value for the buy then 3 pumpouts of cardboard.

Labo is also much more limited as it's pre-defined prorietary cardboard per kit and for a specific design, so there's not much exploration, or room for imagination.
 

jshackles

Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the capability to make the world's first enhanced store. Steam will be that store. Better than it was before.
Jul 2, 2013
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#32
I am terribly sorry but why is the comparison so far off? Labo, as it is right now, reminds me of the state that Lego was in when it started. Labo can become "Lego-like" if Nintendo decide to stick with it and widen its product palette there. They can make the cardboard parts interchangable.
The LEGO comparison really only works with something like LEGO Dimensions, which didn't do particularly well either. 1) physical product required to play, 2) expensive, 3) proprietary / only work with one game.
 
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Likes: Hudo
Jul 26, 2018
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#33
  • Hudo

    Hudo

A partnership might be something cool.

These are the reasons why I don't think Labo is anything like Lego:

- Labo's cost of entry is much higher than Lego.
- Lego's are much simpler to use and doesn't require adult supervision (as it does handing a tablet to a child)
- Legos are much more flexible. I could get a Lego set and build another thing if I wanted
- Labo is limited to what Nintendo outputs while imagination is the limit with Lego
- Labo is cardboard (nice cardboard but still) so it lasts much less than a piece of plastic


Personally, I never got the appeal of Labo and it seems like the rest of the market didn't either.
Thank you for laying out the points.
I can concede to the second (I am not a parent, so I didn't see it from that perspective. You are completely right in that regard) and fifth point. The first point, it can be argued whether that is really that much higher than Lego. But I am willing to concede to that as well, if everyone here seems to think so as well (I don't see that much of a difference but that's apparently just me).

The third and the fourth point could easily be alleviated if Nintendo decide to stick with Labo for a while, in my opinion. With Lego, you had a similar situation in the beginning.
It might be more like comparing an apple tree and an apple seed or something.

EDIT:
The issue is you are combing two different posts together that find flaw with your comparison without reading them.

Again for the third time, Lego started out cheaper, and are interchangeable/compatible with ALL other lego kits and third-party clones, which Labo isn't.

Lego has themed partnerships that are still interchangable/compatible with all other lego sets and third-party clones.

If you're paying $60 for Lego products you're getting a lot more value for the buy then 3 pumpouts of cardboard.

Labo is also much more limited as it's pre-defined prorietary cardboard per kit and for a specific design, so there's not much exploration, or room for imagination.
I was combining the posts because I thought they basically found the same flaw in my comparison. But again, I am a massive idiot (sometimes even more than usual), so I am probably wrong and my comparison has multiple flaws.

Themed partnerships weren't there at the beginning of Lego either. It took actually quite a while until Lego opened up. Nintendo can do that as well with Labo. Third party clones aren't there, you are right. But one could make his/her own cardboard pieces, or not? That would be easier that having to do you own plastic bricks, at least.

Nowadays, I wouldn't agree with the value proposition that you get much more for, say, 60€. Current Lego management is actually quite good at raising prices while providing less stuff. If Nintendo decide to stick with Labo, release more kits with interchangeable parts and with more freedom of their software. Labo could become a solid source of income. Obviously not as big as Lego, of course.

The LEGO comparison really only works with something like LEGO Dimensions, which didn't do particularly well either. 1) physical product required to play, 2) expensive, 3) proprietary / only work with one game.
Well, yes, Lego Dimensions would've probably been a wiser comparison. But again, I am a massive idiot, so I didn't think of that. You are right.



In any case, I agree with the main points in this thread. Which are the price point and the choice of material.
 
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Likes: A.Romero
Feb 23, 2009
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#35
Thank you for laying out the points.
I can concede to the second (I am not a parent, so I didn't see it from that perspective. You are completely right in that regard) and fifth point. The first point, it can be argued whether that is really that much higher than Lego. But I am willing to concede to that as well, if everyone here seems to think so as well (I don't see that much of a difference but that's apparently just me).

The third and the fourth point could easily be alleviated if Nintendo decide to stick with Labo for a while, in my opinion. With Lego, you had a similar situation in the beginning.
It might be more like comparing an apple tree and an apple seed or something.
I hope they keep trying different stuff.
 
Likes: Hudo
Jan 7, 2018
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#37
It was all about the price I guess. Before it came out I thought it had big chances of succeding but it seems the high price killed it. Maybe Nintendo might revise it and launch a similar product in the future, like another wiiU-switch case.
 
Jan 8, 2019
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#38
Price and the software itself didnt seem anything special to me. People created nice things, but none of them i would call a game with depth, like, the racing one, why would i buy labo for that when i could get mario kart 8 wich has a lot more and a lot better content?
 
May 30, 2013
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#40
  • Ovek

    Ovek

Expensive and they refused to sell the kits to schools at an appropriate educational pricing structure (it was cardboard ffs). Shame too they would have been a very good stem learning tool in the classroom.
 
Feb 23, 2015
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#42
Well, my daughters and I had a blast with it. They're very crafty and enjoyed building the games. It was something we could all do together and each night we would build a different game. They still play with it. Honestly the whole thing was incredibly well crafted. Extremely easy to follow directions and the cardboard was very high quality. Nothing has broke yet. Seriously someone should get a design award for the whole thing because it was really well put together.
 
Feb 28, 2018
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#43
When you build a Lego kit, at least at the end you have something neat to look at, not to mention being able to tear it apart and build something else. Most games media is 18 to 40 year olds. What exactly would you expect them to do for continuing coverage? Bad robot playing bad piano specials?

Media didn't kill Labo, it was dead from the start. It's too difficult for little kids and too simple for adults once the building step is done. It's a one holiday season cash in toy.
 
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Sep 26, 2009
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#48
Cardboard

Legos might be cheap to make, but they last forever, basically. I have some from when I was a kid 40 years ago.

But Cardboard? I'll put out a box or two for my cat and she'll tear it up in a month or two. Kids are like cats but worse.
 
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