When it was originally unveiled, Nintendo Labo picked up traction because it came out of nowhere and because it seemed like a very “Nintendo” thing to do. It wasn’t long, however, before fans started to question the feasibility of expensive cardboard cutouts. In a recent investor Q&A, Nintendo Director Shinya Takahashi explained why the team went with cardboard and just how fun this cardboard is going to be.
“When we started with a “robot” prototype inside the company, we realized that the trial-and-error process of attaining a finished product was itself extremely fun
He then went on to explain what exactly was entertaining about it:
“That led our concept for Nintendo Labo to be developed as something that people could enjoy in all of its aspects, not just in playing with the finished product, but also in making some repairs along the way and after it is complete and in understanding the mechanics.”
The idea for cardboard, according to Takahashi-san, comes from Japanese culture wherein children are accustomed to playing with cardboard for crafts. While I myself may have played with cardboard boxes, plungers, and spatulas to create Dalek-esque mech suits, that cardboard was going to be recycled regardless.
These price points can now be seen as something more akin to Lego, rather than an easy-to-break AR experience. Though one only needs to step on a Lego piece barefoot to be assured of their durability, the same has yet to be seen from Nintendo’s upcoming product.
It is important to note that while the kits will run between $70-80 USD, the game cartridges are included in that price.
Nintendo has stated that they will be offering replacements for fans who wreck their cardboard peripherals, it is not clear how expensive they will be the second, third, and umpteenth times around.