Industry Recon: Is it Too Early to Say the Nintendo Labo is a Flop?


About three months ago I had mentioned that Nintendo Labo was coming down the pipe.  In the interim, I’ve seen a few advertisements here and there, but nothing super aggressive.   To my surprise, while wandering around in a Target store, I walked past some Labo kits, on the bottom shelf of a fixture with little to no signage.  I wonder how this bodes for sales in America?  As far as Japan goes, after looking into it a little bit, “apparently” Labo hasn’t exactly been a smash hit there, an area where the Nintendo Switch has TRIPLED Playstation 4 sales.  According to a lot of articles, and information from Media Crate, who follows gaming sales trends in japan, the Nintendo Labo kits have only sold through about 30% of their orders in their first week of sales in Japan. 

I’ve seen several articles in the last few days claiming doom and gloom for the Labo based on this information. However, there are a few things at play here.  In Japan, on April 29th, Golden Week starts.  It’s possible Nintendo strategically released this in mid April to create awareness around the Labo products before Golden Week, which sees a large spike of consumers out and about.  The other idea being, Nintendo may have over ordered on purpose, given the struggles they had keeping the Switch in stock for almost a damn year.    I don’t see the situation in Japan too staggering, unless we come out of Golden Week seeing bad sales.  However, in America, the ad campaign for Labo hasn’t been particularly strong, and no numbers have been released yet for Labo sales in america.   

Given the price of the current available Labo kits, $69.99 for the variety kit and $79.99 for the robot kit, I do see the possibility of a struggle to get parents who are willing to drop that kind of change on something that isn’t exactly child proof.  I mean, a lot of the pieces are cardboard, a child may absolutely destroy some of the pieces in a moment of excitement or frustration. I am looking forward to seeing how well sales of this product do in Japan during Golden Week.  In America, the true test will be our Holiday season, when we typically see a massive spike in hardware and peripheral sales.  Either way, I think all the people claiming flop haven’t given the product nearly enough time, and don’t have nearly enough information.