Nintendo, a Japanese multinational video game and consumer electronics company, is one of the largest video game companies. After the company failed to make an impact in the virtual reality (VR) industry with the launch of Virtual Boy, a 32-bit table-top video game console, in 1995, Nintendo reignited research into virtual reality and released the Labo VR kit on April 12, 2019. The Labo VR kit is a build-it-yourself set of cardboard goggles and controllers. With this product launch, Nintendo aims to strengthen its position in the VR market and enhance its gaming lineup.
MarketsandMarkets™ View Point:
Consumers are still hesitant to go for costly VR devices that enable them to enter into a fully immersive environment with additional cost. Nintendo’s product called Labo VR kit, which costs USD 40, is designed for casual gamers who would try VR without spending hundreds of dollars for more advanced devices such as Oculus Rift or Sony PlayStation. The release of low-priced VR headset will also boost the company’s gaming business segment. The DIY feature and a programming tool are the attractive additions to the VR headset, which allow users not only to create their own VR games but also enable them to have responsive experiences. Moreover, the announcement of compatibility of Nintendo’s VR headset with popular games such as Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild fetched more attraction of video game players. VR headset will work as an add-on provided for the enhanced experience in gaming to fetch more users. Thus, this launch was a twofer for Nintendo.
Impact of Product Launch
For a high-quality virtual environment gaming experience, many AR-VR devices, such as Oculus, Vive, PlayStation, and HoloLens, are being used in the VR market; these devices are quite expensive, whereas Nintendo’s Labo VR headset, made up of cardboard VR goggles, can give VR experience to gamers at a lower price than that of the other devices. The company claims that it has designed the Labo VR kit carefully to minimize the chances of making users dizzy or sick. If this Labo VR kit becomes popular, the company can enhance its games lineup without producing a bunch of new hits, as well as Nintendo would follow up with more VR content. The kit that costs USD 40 comes up with basic goggles and a gun-like controller used to blast aliens.
Fig. VR Market Ranking
Google’s Cardboard, a VR platform with a head mount for a smartphone, may turn out to be the biggest competitor of Nintendo’s VR headset. Similarly, Merge VR Goggles developed by Merge Labs, Inc. is likely to be another contestant in the VR contest. Additionally, many local companies produce cardboard-type VR glasses. A few of the other major competitors in the VR market are Samsung Electronics (South Korea), Sony (Japan), Oculus VR (Facebook) (US), Microsoft (US), HTC (Taiwan), Lenovo (Hong Kong), and LG Electronics (South Korea).
Companies have been focusing on launching low-priced VR headsets to draw mass attention of existing as well as new customers in the VR market. These companies believe that hitting on the masses will help them achieve a larger market share. The launch of Oculus Go by Oculus VR (Facebook), Lenovo’s Mirage, Samsung’s Gear VR, or, for that matter, Google’s Daydream and Cardboard have gained the attention of a large number of consumers. The high adoption of VR devices also ensures an increase in the demand for VR content. Headsets are likely to be priced variably ranging from USD 15 to USD 800. However, with advanced features, there will be a significant increase in cost. The pricing will always be proportional to the immersive and enhanced experience provided to the users. It will be exciting to see if Nintendo succeeds in mass consumerization of its headset and thus boosting its growth in the VR gaming market.