Following on from Ninty's debut line of DIY cardboard accessories for the Switch, which can transform it into things ranging from a fishing rod into a frickin' robot suit, the new Labo kit effectively turns the console into a pseudo-VR viewer with a bunch of accessories.
There's the initial "Starter Set + Blaster" kit, which provides the cardboard to create a pair of VR goggles and a gun-like accessory for the Joy-Con controllers to slip into and presumably be used to blast virtual assailants. That kit goes on sale 12 April and will cost $40; no word on UK availability and yet.
The set can be expanded with two expansion sets at $20 a pop. The first is the "Camera + Elephant" set which turns the Switch and its Joy-Cons into a mock-up of a DLSR style camera in the former case, and in the latter creates the face and trunk of an elephant; presumably, there'll be an appropriate Labo game to go alongside this Elephantidae accessory.
The second kit, "Bird + Wind Pedal", adds a bird model to the Labo VR goggles for reasons we've yet to fathom. It also provides some form of pedal-like controller, used in conjunction with the Switch's Joy-Cons, to presumably control something in a VR game. Nintendo hasn't exactly furnished us with details on what the VR game will be.
All of the kits can be had in a single "VR Kit" bundle for $80, which is rather steep for a load of cardboard. But then try coming up with this stuff yourself; it probably takes a heck of a lot of time and money.
Putting the kits aside, the interesting thing here is how Nintendo is approaching the Switch's capabilities for VR. Prior to its reveal, people were speculating about whether Nintendo would create a VR headset, but it never happened.
While the Switch's 720p display resolution isn't really the sharpest for VR viewing, the console does have motion sensors and wireless controllers that are core to making a decent VR headset. How this stands up in practice, we'll just have to wait and see.
Nintendo might be building out the Switch's capabilities, but it's also looking at increasing its hand in mobile gaming. But unlike some money-grabbing software firms, Ninty has told its mobile partners that it wants to limit in-app microtransactions to prevent people from spending a fortune on virtual items and upgrades, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Hopefully, this approach will result in some mobile games that have Nintendo's level of polish but don't badger players to cough up cash for coins or funny hats or a competitive edge. We look forward to playing Mario Kart Tour on the tube, further helping us avoid eye contact with London's great unwashed. µ
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