Nintendo shows with the cardboard construction kit Labo, why the company is ahead of other console manufacturers. It sets trends instead of imitating.
There were many theories on the net when Nintendo announced a new “interactive experience” for the Switch. However, probably nobody had expected this: cardboard toys. With Labo children should make their own piano, a fishing tackle or a whole robot suit. The controllers and the monitor of the Nintendo Switch are then plugged into the respective cardboard device. Almost strange – but once again an example of why Nintendo will remain the most innovative company in the console market in the long term: the gaming studio is ready to try something out. Not just copying trends, but creating them yourself, Nintendo is once again providing hope for a halting video game market.
Its condition can be well described using the example of the game Player unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG): Even before its actual release, the indie title was the most successful multiplayer game of the year. The reason: The game focused on an experience that did not exist anywhere else. It was unique until then.
After that happened what in the market for large so-called Tripple A games now seems normal: developers copied the Battle Royal mode and built him into their own games. The goal: to copy the success of PUBG right away and then sell it. This logic has made school. Again and again, studios adapt innovative game mechanics (crafting, level progression or open-world towers). The more known varieties you pack into a new title, the better. New or own concepts often stay away.
Sure, even Nintendo is inspired by current trends, but its developers do not just copy. That showed the 2017 open-world game Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Much of it was not new. The game nevertheless refused many trends of the genre and set its own accents. Most quests, for example, have to find players themselves, and so they discover the Zelda world as an adventurer without X on the treasure map.
Nintendo has also failed with such attempts: The most famous example of this is probably the Wii-U console. The came with their additional monitor in the controller, although innovative, but created no sexy added value for the players. Even the virtual reality glasses Virtual Boy from the year 1995 caused more headaches rather than fun.
Labo is a children’s toy, but it stands for so much more: no other console manufacturer would have announced such an idea with so much enthusiasm. With its product Nintendo exposes a lumbering as well as boring market. Labo is a fresh product for which there are no role models – an insecure rather than a safe bet.