By Jared Newman | Monday, May 3, 2010 at 5:50 pm
Do not be fooled by the slick black veneer of Nintendo’s latest Wii model. The most important part of this game console facelift is that it includes Wii MotionPlus for not a penny more than the existing white Wii.
Nintendo announced that the black Wii will be sold for $200 starting May 9. It still includes one Wii remote, one Nunchuk attachment and a copy of the iconic Wii Sports, but Nintendo will also throw in the MotionPlus, which attaches to the remote and greatly improves the accuracy of motion controls in games that support it. A copy of Wii Sports Resort, another mini-game collection that showcases the MotionPlus, is included as well.
The extra hardware is necessary as Microsoft and Sony prepare to show off their own motion controllers to the world. E3, gaming’s biggest trade show, falls in mid-June, and it’ll probably be packed with waving arms, flailing legs and jiggling bodies trying out the new technology. The Playstation Move is like a more sophisticated Wii remote, able to sense not only motion, but positioning in the real world. The Xbox 360’s contraption, codenamed Project Natal, does away with controllers and tracks the entire body in three-dimensional space. Both motion controllers should be available by the holidays.
Even with MotionPlus, the Wii is technologically inferior, but Nintendo has a huge base of customers that it could wow with one really solid app. For instance, the next Legend of Zelda game is confirmed to support MotionPlus, and is tentatively scheduled for this year. Bundling MotionPlus means Nintendo can develop games like Zelda while building the number of people who can play them.
And for potential customers, you can’t beat a $200 console with two games included. To compete, Microsoft and Sony will need motion-controlled games that blow the mind, because Nintendo’s got the “good enough” market cornered.