Under fire from Microsoft's forthcoming Project Natal and the Sony PlayStation Move – and facing sinking sales of its once unbeatable console – Nintendo today announced it would revamp the Wii system package to include the Wii Sports Resort game and the next-gen Wii MotionPlus controller. The Nintendo Wii will still sell for $199.99, but will now be available in two colors – plain, old Nintendo white or a sleek, reflective black gloss.
The color thing, obviously, is a cosmetic flourish; it's relatively meaningless as these things go. But Wii Sports Resort is a great game, and a good incentive for first-time gamers. More important is the inclusion of the top-notch Wii MotionPlus, which picks up a range of motion – including rotation – undetected by the first iteration of the Wii Remote. (For fans of golfing games, the MotionPlus is a must-have.)
"Now more than ever, consumers can count on Nintendo to deliver inclusive fun and advanced motion controls at a mass-market price," Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said in a statement announcing the new Nintendo Wii system, which will be available on May 9. Note the nod to the price: The Wii has long thrived by appealing to so-called "casual" gamers, who steer clear of expensive consoles such as the Sony PlayStation 3.
But Nintendo's grip on the casual gaming market could loosen in coming months, as both Sony and Microsoft introduce motion-sensing systems designed to undercut the Wii. In the fall, for instance, Sony will introduce the PlayStation Move, a $100 motion-sensing add-on for the PlayStation 3. Sony exec Peter Dille has said that he expects the PlayStation Move to grab a wide range of Wii fans.
"The migration path from the Wii household to the PlayStation 3 household is a pretty natural path, partly because of the experience that you can get on the PlayStation Move but also because of the content that we find on PlayStation 3," Dille said.