Nintendo Announces Free Wii Fit U & Upcoming Wii Sports Club Releases
As if from out of nowhere, Nintendo hosted a new “Nintendo Direct” video today called “Wii Fit U Direct,” which offered gamers a look at what they could expect from the upcoming fitness-themed release, as well as an update to another rather popular title from the original Wii console in Wii Sports Club.
After showing off the Wii Fit Trainer’s new look (which will hopefully be included in some form in Super Smash Bros.) and how the game is able to track your level of activity, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata revealed that from November 1st, 2013 through January 31st, 2014 Wii U owners who also own the Wii Balance Board can download the full game for free in the Nintendo eShop and enjoy a full one-month trial of the game’s 77 different activities, including 19 new activities, many of which were designed to use the Wii U GamePad controller.
Once the one-month trial is up, Wii Fit U players can continue using their download by purchasing and synching the new Fit Meter accessory to the game. The Fit Meter will be available in stores for $19.99, and comes in a black/silver color. From the press release:
The Fit Meter accessory is much more than a pedometer – it’s an activity meter that tracks a wide range of everyday activity. It records not only the number of steps a user has taken, but it also takes into account the intensity of those steps – for example, was the user running or walking? The Fit Meter also measures altitude, so wearers get credit for climbing stairs or walking uphill. All of these data points combined provide users with an accurate overview of their day’s activity, including a detailed calculation of the number of calories they burned. This data can then be transferred wirelessly to Wii Fit U via the Wii U GamePad with just a touch of a button. The Fit Meter transforms users’ everyday lives into workouts, encouraging them to get active and stay active.
Other features include more ways to customize workout routines, and the ability to create or join a Miiverse Gym Community to share tips and support other Wii Fit U users who have similar goals in mind. Similarly, one can create an enclosed community with just your friends and/or family.
Those who don’t opt or are otherwise unable to partake in the free trial offer have two other options, as the game will see two physical releases (one with the Wii Balance Board, one without, and both with a green/white version of the Fit Meter) on December 13th, 2013. For those who would still prefer to download, the regular paid Nintendo eShop release will be available on February 1st, 2014.
“Wii Fit U is all about ‘fun fitness’ for everyone in the family,” said Nintendo of Canada’s Vice-President and General Manager, Ron Bertram, in a press release. “With this special offer, Nintendo is making it easier than ever for families to get active and stay active, making now the perfect time to upgrade to Wii U. This is another example of the kind of value and variety that only Nintendo can offer.”
My Thoughts: This could turn out to be a brilliant move on Nintendo’s part, as the holiday season is when people tend to pack on the most extra calories and weight. Offering a free trial of the latest version of their fitness program over the duration of that period could sway some people, as the timing is perfect. The big question, of course, is whether those same people who might already have the original Wii and Wii Fit/Wii Fit Plus will be swayed into purchasing the new console.
The other similarly-timely news is the announcement of Wii Sports Club, a downloadable remake of the original best-selling Wii Sports. Beginning November 7th, Wii U gamers can download Wii Sports Club for free and have access to the available games for 24 hours after starting the program.
Though all five sports will eventually be available, the program is kicking off with Tennis and Bowling, while Boxing, Baseball, and Golf will come in the months ahead. After the trial ends, players can purchase a one-day pass for all available sports for $1.99, or purchase each individual title for permanent access for $9.99.
So, what does Wii Sports Club offer that Wii Sports does not? In addition to a high-definition visual overhaul, each title is enhanced with Wii MotionPlus control and an online multiplayer mode for those with broadband capability. The “Club” part of the title references state and regional clubs players can register to, and casually compete or chat with. You can also compete against members from other clubs to raise the ranking of your own.
My Thoughts: One of the biggest games of all-time is being offered– at least in part– just in time for the holidays in a format I think people can appreciate. In addition to buying only the games you want a la carte, the $1.99 Day Pass is a great way to rope in those who might be more likely to bring out Wii Sports for holidays and family gatherings, but less likely to play during the rest of the year.
I just hope that when all five are available, they come out with a physical version for those who might want/need it. I also wonder if we’ll see any of the features which use the Wii U GamePad, as we saw in earlier demonstrations for the system (such as using the GamePad as a catcher’s mitt in Baseball, or as a tee in Golf). Beyond that, I wonder if they’ve considered a Wii Sports Resort update.
Finally, Nintendo revealed today that there is a new update available for Wii Street U Powered by Google. The app is now compatible with the Wii Balance Board, allowing you to “walk” around the areas you visit. Wii Street U Powered by Google is a free download in the Nintendo eShop until October 31st, 2013.