Nintendo bets on cardboard to boost its newest console

Key Points
  • Nintendo announced a new interactive line of cardboard accessories for its Switch consoles called Nintendo Labo
  • The products are basically modular cardboard sheets that can be folded into playthings like motorbikes, fishing rods and pianos
  • Players can insert their Switch gaming consoles and detachable Joy-Con controllers into those cardboard models to play various games
One of the Toy-Cons that can be built is a 13-key piano and it can be controlled using the Nintendo Switch console and the detachable right controller.
Source: Nintendo

Japanese game maker Nintendo on late Wednesday announced new interactive cardboard accessories for its Switch consoles.

The line of accessories, called Nintendo Labo, contain modular cardboard sheets that can be folded into a variety of playthings — such as motorbikes, fishing rods, pianos, houses or robots. The Japanese gaming giant deems those creations "Toy-Cons."

Players can then insert their Switch consoles, and the detachable Joy-Con controllers, into those cardboard models to play various games. Sensors built into the controllers can detect movement and update the game on the screen accordingly.

"It is an exciting evolution of the Nintendo Switch platform — one designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and imagination in people of all ages," Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's president and chief operating officer, said in a statement about the new accessories.

An accompanying video also showed a cardboard gas pedal, steering wheel, and a camera hinting that more such accessories could be in development.

The do-it-yourself cardboard kits are poised to be an additional revenue source for the Japanese firm. Investors appeared to have welcomed the announcement as Nintendo shares closed up 2.36 percent in Tokyo on Thursday, beating the broader market.

Nintendo Labo will launch on April 20 and will sell a variety kit and a robot kit costing about $70 and $80, respectively.

Switch is a hybrid system that is part gaming console, part handheld device and part tablet — and it was launched last March. By December, Nintendo said it had sold more than 10 million Switch game console units and predicted it would sell 14 million units by the end of March 2018. Analysts have said the Switch's flexible form factor made it attractive to more users.

Previously, the storied game maker struggled in the console market, following a disappointing run of its Wii U device.

That said, this is not the first time Nintendo is launching physical accessories that can integrate with games.

Previously, Nintendo launched amiibo figurines and cards based on popular characters like Super Mario. Those figurines could be tapped on compatible consoles, affecting certain games.