Nintendo delivers 80% of the experience and 100% of the fun with an IR camera (already in the switch) and some $4 cardboard they sell for $80. And it is portable!
While the better sensors will definitely win in the long run, this is one of the best instances of engineering simplicity and "perfect being the enemy of good enough". It's hard to be anything but speechless.
And it's not like they even try to keep quiet about their philosophy; Gunpei Yokoi called it "Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology" (枯れた技術の水平思考) and wrote a book about it.
But they are doing entirely different things. Labo is cool, but is entirely unrelated to VR tracking technology.
You just missed the point again. That's not the implication at all. The implication is not that they did the same thing, it's that they did a different thing, which is simpler, but is still a good solution for the metric they are optimizing: fun.
> Nintendo delivers 80% of the experience
I agree they are all targeting a different fidelity for emmersion, but they are all targeting the same fidelity for fun.
Why can't I compare two very different implementations trying to achieve a similar core goal?
Maybe it's living in a northern climate, or maybe we're behind the hype cycle, but I have seen 2 of those things in my life, one as a kids' toy and the other as an office toy.
Anything less and you throw up.
However, I think there's something to be said if we instead compare them as immersive experiences. Nintendo created something compelling by taking an unorthodox route. [Insert joke about thinking inside/outside the cardboard box.]
Even if they were comparable, that last 20% is a bitch (but often worth it.) It's always easy to come up with an 80% solution.
IR tracking is mostly only feasible if you can guarantee that the user is facing the IR camera at a relatively consistent distance. The original Wii did this, the Kinetic did this, TrackIR  started doing this in 2001.
The sensors and the IR camera are always in the correct orientation, regardless of player movement. And they solved it with $4 of cardboard. I can't praise enough the simplicity of their approach to the problem.
The Switch is definitely cool technology, though, but is addressing different constraints than VR.
I really hope you don't think you're just buying cardboard when you get a Labo kit.
I mean, I suspect you don't, but being this reductive makes it comes across as though it's some sort of scam.
But... at least for one of their series I loved before, Metroid, the lack of VR will probably mean I won't play it.
Metroid Prime 1 and 2 are among my favorite games ever. They made me feel like I was on another planet better than any other game. But, a year or so ago I played Farpoint on PSVR. It's not a great game and the writing is horrible but the feeling of actually being on another world is unmatched. VR is like visiting the Grand Canyon vs seeing a picture of it. A picture does not give that awe inspiring sense of vastness, size, and presence. VR does. For that particular franchise a non VR Metroid will now be a huge let down from that experience for me.