Nintendo LABO: Is 2018 the year of…cardboard?

It may seem absurd – especially more than 100 years after its first use (and in a world of sleek metal designs and Gorilla Glass), but this year might just be the year of cardboard. Here’s three reasons why.


  1. Tech companies make things cool


Tech is cool. Take a look at the top 20 list of coolbrands, and you’ll find tech companies taking up more than half of those slots. And by association, whatever tech’s ‘hot new thing’ is, becomes the ‘hot new thing’ of the world.


And believe us, cardboard is the ‘hot new thing’.




The most obvious example is Google Cardboard (the clue’s in the name), the search giant’s entry-level virtual reality headset. Rather than the hundreds of pounds required to shell out for the latest PlayStation VR or Oculus Rift, Google have used cardboard to open up VR to the masses. And consumers love it. Through March 2017, over 10 million Cardboard viewers were sold and over 160 million Cardboard app downloads had been made.


The latest innovator in this space, announced just last month, is the Nintendo LABO (client bias disclaimer alert!). Using existing tech already built into the Nintendo Switch console, you can now create amazing new toys out of cardboard cut-outs that interact with the console – such as a piano, a fishing rod…or a robot suit.


Since announcement – Nintendo added more than $1 billion to its value overnight, a sign that the financial world is seeing this as a potential winner too.


2. It’s a viable alternative to plastic


Following the eye-opening scenes in last year’s Blue Planet 2, our plastic waste crisis has reached the mainstream.


The targets are currently FMCG companies (or supermarkets such as M&S wrapping up a ‘cauliflower steak’) but may soon turn to other companies, not just around packaging but towards the products themselves.


Toys break, kids get bored of them, or they are easily lost.



Does it not make more sense for these toys to be easily recyclable once finished with? (Or better yet, be like LEGO bricks and reusable over and over again).


Or better yet, turned into completely new toys?


Moreover, it’s cheap. The cost of cardboard is not likely to rise in the same way that plastic may do in the near future (with green-thinking governments looking at plastic taxes). Investing early in this trend could pay off big time for many different companies in many different sectors.


3. Kids Love It


Have you ever bought your child a new toy…only for them to be far more fascinated in the packaging that it came in?








You know what…ignore the environment or cool tech, it’s actually very simple.


Kids love cardboard.


They like using their imagination to create their own fun, their own toys, their own little worlds. It breaks, you stick it back together, it rips, just get some more. Plastic, for all its durable properties, is inflexible and limiting to imaginations.


You can draw on cardboard; paint it, cut it, stick it, glue it, stack it, you name it.


Whatever us boring adults think about cardboard, in a child’s eyes it’s so much more than just a box. And as more companies look to become greener and more accessible with their tech, it’s set to delight kids for many more years to come.