Nintendo just announced Nintendo Labo, an interactive game where you can build cardboard crafts that can be used in the game. Although the idea is novel and tech impressive, I can’t say I’m confident in the product being a success. Unfortunately, I don’t see Nintendo Labo as this massive hit Nintendo wants to believe it will be.
The problem is in Nintendo’s own data and who’s buying the Switch. Forty-three percent of Nintendo Switch owners are age between age 25 and 34. The next largest category, at 20 percent of users, are age 19-24. Kids 15 and under make up a measly 10 percent of the total userbase. That said, Nintendo gathered the data through an online survey, so the result may skew towards an older demographic. Nonetheless, this doesn’t bode well for Nintendo trying to sell the product to children.
What has been driving the success of the Nintendo Switch has not been games like Nintendo Labo but Nintendo’s traditional core titles. By the end of March 2017, the Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild sold 2.76 million. 1-2-Switch, on the other hand, didn’t break 1 million units sold. Currently, 1-2-Switch has been outsold by Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. I noted months ago that the kind of expanded audience games wouldn’t sell on the Nintendo Switch. Like with 1-2-Switch and Just Dance, I don’t see Nintendo Labo selling very well.
And, of course, the product has a slew of other issues. The price is around 70-80 bucks making it more expensive than almost any other game on the market. The game needs cardboard crafts that require assembly and will be subject to wear and tear. Unfortunately, children aren’t the most cautious when it comes to these things. Even if kids don’t destroy the crafts in a month, they still need to be stored and they’ll take up a lot of room. What I expect is that most parents will pass on this title due to the price and not wanting to put up with the cardboard. Ironically, I believe the people who will buy this game are adults who own a Switch who want it but say it’s “for the kids.”
Truth be told, there is a far easier way to sell Nintendo Switch to children and it’s been around for over 20 year. It’s called Pokemon