Nintendo announced Labo last night, a brand new part-construction project, part videogame. A brand new move in videogame peripherals, Nintendo essentially wants players to assemble their own accessories, Google Cardboard style, and play a small variety of videogame experiences with them that can seem all too reminiscent of the kinds of gameplay we see in virtual reality (VR). Controlling giant robots? Fishing? Yep, we’ve definitely done those in VR before.
But despite the similarities, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime says that this is definitely not Nintendo’s answer to VR. Not a surprise, after Fils-Aime’s fairly bleak and negative outlook on VR gaming only a few months ago.
In interviews since Labo’s announcement, Reggie Fils-Aime has now given a few more opinions and views on how he feels about Labo, and the potential for VR in Nintendo’s future.
In an interview, Fils-Aime has said; “It’s not meant to be some sort of competitive answer [to virtual reality], it’s meant to be something totally unique, totally unexpected.”
It’s easy to draw comparisons between Nintendo Labo and existing VR videogames and experiences. We’ve already seen multiple VR videogames where you can take control of a giant robot, like VRobot, and Nintendo Labo’s Robot Kit which creates a Toy-Con Robot seems built to evoke the same kinds of feelings of “becoming” a character in a videogame, although Labo and VR are two very different ways to achieve similar results.
The same can be said of the Toy-Con Fishing Rod. We’ve seen plenty of VR fishing games, such as Final Fantasy XV: Monster of the Deep, but not having a physical reel can sometimes take you out of the experience. Can a physical, albeit cardboard, replacement make all the difference?
Fils-Aime gave more insight into their business plan with Labo; “Nintendo Labo continues our longstanding mission of making people smile by surprising them with new experiences. It is an exciting evolution of the Nintendo Switch platform – one designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and imagination in people of all ages.”
Nintendo Labo launches in April with two kits, the Variety Kit will be $69.99, while the Robot Kit will be $79.99. It’s interesting, but incredibly expensive stuff. Luckily it’ll be easy enough to make your own. For all of the latest news on Labo and VR experiences, make sure to keep reading VRFocus.