Two years of Nintendo Labo already? How on earth did that happen?! Let's take a look back at one of Nintendo's wildest ideas yet. As always, thanks for reading.
Believe it or not, the Nintendo Labo franchise will be two years old on April 20th, 2020. Throughout that time, we've seen release of the Variety Kit, Robot Kit, Vehicle Kit, and VR Kit. These Kits have presented Switch owners with all sorts of wildly unique experiences in terms of both inside the Switch, and outside in the real world. While Nintendo Labo may not have been the multi-million selling success Nintendo has hoped for, it perfectly encapsulates what Nintendo is, and how they've managed to survive all these years.
Nintendo Labo as an idea is about as core Nintendo as you can get. It shows just how different Nintendo is from the competition. That goes for hardware manufactures and software developers alike. Nintendo, without a doubt, is the gaming company to turn to when looking for variety. Nintendo may create new installments in their core franchises quite often, but they're also willing to think way outside the box with other projects.
Nintendo loves to showcase their fiercely independent streak, and take great pride in crafting experiences you won't find anywhere else. It's an approach they've taken time and time again, which sometimes finds great success, and other times fails to find an audience. Despite the success in terms of units sold and audience reaction, each of those releases has been important to Nintendo. It helps them develop new ways of thinking, new ideas to parlay into other projects, and new paths ahead as a company in general.
Nintendo Labo could very well be the boldest step Nintendo has taken in the game industry. Everything involved with Nintendo Labo is just so far outside of what the norm is, really surprising even the most well-versed Nintendo fans when it was revealed. While no one may have seen the idea coming, there's no denying it's Nintendo through and through. If the idea of Nintendo Labo was explained to those who follow the game industry without sharing the developer behind it, I'd guess that almost all those involved would peg Nintendo as the creator.
While Nintendo Labo's reveal was shocking, the ideas at play in the package are Nintendo to a T. Nintendo loves to give their players new ways to interact with video games, and Nintendo Labo certainly does that. Nintendo loves to expand the idea of what a video came can be, and Nintendo Labo falls into that category as well. Nintendo loves to create unique peripherals and accessories, and no one can deny Nintendo Labo includes those elements. Finally, Nintendo is always thinking of ways to enhance how people to play together, be it friends or family. Across all of its Kits, Nintendo Labo presented numerous ways for people to play together, build together, and share new experiences.
As usual, sometimes Nintendo's expanded audience ideas are a tough sell. Even on the Switch alone, we've seen a number of unusual games that have either found an audience, or had trouble breaking through. 1-2 Switch sold a few million copies, but it wasn't killer app that Wii Sports was to the Wii. Ring Fit Adventure was pegged as a sales disappointment out of the gate, but it ended up being a slow-burner at retail. Now the game has broken the million sold mark, and it's in such high demand that it's near impossible to find anywhere. Nintendo Labo brought unique gameplay like none other, and while it has also broke a million sold across all units, it didn't turn out to be Nintendo's next big thing.
The truth is, Nintendo Labo doesn't have to be the next big thing in terms of sales. It would have been lovely to see the series really take off, but it's the ideas at play that are equally valuable to Nintendo. Nintendo challenged itself to create something that was unique even for their slate of content, and Nintendo Labo is definitely that. Nintendo's developers talked about how important the project was to them, how much of a challenge it was, and how fantastic it was to see things come together. Moments of sadness when test audiences couldn't figure things out, and moments of joy when Nintendo's devs saw families come together to enjoy the experience.
These moments that were created through Nintendo Labo, both in development and with customers, give Nintendo insight that hardly any other gaming company has. They've seen how players interact, the hurdles that prevent them from doing so, and expectations going forward. There's no doubt that the Nintendo Labo experiment has been one of the most telling for Nintendo, and they're going to utilize every piece of data going forward to give every title in their lineup a bit of a unique flair, and the best leg up on the competition.
From pianos to fishing rods, giant robots to all-in-one vehicles, and VR in ways never thought possible, Nintendo Labo has been a truly magical experience. Nintendo Labo is everything that Nintendo values in one package. It's a high-water mark for what the Big N is capable of, and what they value in gaming. It's wild, weird, silly, fun, unique, and Nintendo in every way, shape and form. This project marks one of the biggest out-of-bounds steps for Nintendo in their entire history, and shows that Nintendo continues to march to the beat of their own drummer. I cannot wait to see what strange and fantastic place it takes them next.