Is the Nintendo Labo a Genius or Gimmick?

Is the Nintendo Labo a Genius or Gimmick?

On thing that Nintendo is not afraid to do, is do something totally unexpected.

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane…

The 90’s

One big example is the Power Glove. Made in 1989, and discontinued the following year.

Although it was not DIRECTLY part of Nintendo’s accessories for the NES system, it was still made under their name and used to change the game. It’s early virtual reality usage seemed a bit “before its time”, especially while looking at all of the virtual reality peripheral in the media today (i.e Occulus Rift, Morpheus, Samsung etc.)

The 00’s

Nintendo also utilized Touch Screen with the handheld Nintendo DS systems.

The first Dual Screen handheld that sought worldwide success. An experimental 3rd pillar to tag along with the ever-so famous Game Cube and Game Boy Advance. Something we can all hopefully attest to for sinking our childhood/teenage years into the abyss of fun.

First was the original Nintendo DS in 2004

Then came the Nintendo DS Lite in 2006 followed by the DSi in 2008

Across all models, the DS line has sold a total of 154 million units, making them the best-selling handheld and the 2nd best console (the PlayStation 2 being the first at 155 million units).

While not a direct upgrade, they became the precursor to the 3DS and 3DS XL in 2010.

From this line of thinking, Nintendo utilized touch screen handheld models before their competitors and found resounding success. Even in the case of the 3DS (and further 2DS), Nintendo still commands the handheld market.


Along with the rise of 3DS, Nintendo came out with the Wii during the latter half of the 2000’s. Specifically in 2006, Nintendo utilizes Motion Capture and Control to the general audience. A very successful product that has sold over 101 million units. Compared to Xbox Kinect and the PlayStation Move, which weren’t released until after 2010.

The 2010’s

This is where Nintendo hit a roadblock. In 2012, Nintendo releases the WiiU, a “precursor”? to the original Wii. Compared to the resounding success of the Wii, the WiiU performed dismally and only sold about 15 million units. There’s a plethora of reviews for how this happened, but we’ll chalk this up to an idea of Nintendo that DIDN’T sell well.

The platform lacked a variety of things: novelty, difference, upgrades, etc.


In 2017, Nintendo released the Switch. A brand new idea that combines hand-held and home console. Along with tech upgrades and large game releases, the Wii U has already sold over 14 million units. Outpacing the 6 year Wii U cycle in under a year. 


With the release of the Labo, Nintendo has a new novel idea. A DIY console utilizing console.

One thing that everyone asks, is “is this a gimmick?”

If you look at Nintendo’s track record, they are great at implementing novel ideas before everyone else. The touch screen, handhelds, motion control and a combination handheld console have all been incredibly successful. I think everyone should give Nintendo a bit of optimism here. They have always been “ahead of their time” when it concerns novel ideas.

This Kotaku article and video¬†showcases what the hands-on console has to offer and I think it’s forgiving. What do you all think?

Do you think Nintendo is thinking TOO far outside of the cardboard box with this idea?


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