What’s Nintendo Going To Do With The Vitality Sensor?

The Wii Vitality Sensor.A recent article at Ars Technica asks the question that’s been probing my mind and checking my pulse for a few weeks. What is Nintendo going to do with the Wii Vitality Sensor?

I’m sure many of you have had the same thought on your minds, but I know I hadn’t really considered Nintendo’s strategy until I read what Ars writer, Ben Kuchera, had to say. The Vitality Sensor is more than just a strange product; it’s a break from Nintendo’s traditional strategy concerning peripherals.

Nintendo has been able to sell just about anything to anyone recently, but mostly for one reason: the killer app. For the Balance Board it was Wii Fit. For the MotionPlus it was Wii Sports Resort. For the Vitality Sensor there is still nothing. No raison d’etre that makes me think, “Yeah, this is going to work.”

There doesn’t seem to be one on the horizon, either. With the other titles I mentioned, the hardware and the software were announced almost simultaneously, giving consumers dreams of a new device and the desire to stand in line just for a shot at the new experience. The Vitality Sensor, on the other hand, has everyone staring at each other, scratching cranium. The potential uses are pedestrian at best and competition for Lunesta at worst.

Miyamoto still wants your trust, though. He’s convinced that what Nintendo will do will be enough to sell the new peripheral. “I don’t have any indication for you [of what we have in the works] other than to say that we have lots of very creative ideas,” he said to the Mercury News. I think it was meant to inspire confidence, to remind the masses of just what Nintendo has done in the past. He seems to have forgotten, though, that the past has been putting Nintendo’s fat wallet right behind its fat mouth, making games that showcase the idea behind the peripheral.

If Nintendo wants my confidence, I expect them to earn it in exactly the way they’ve earned it in the past. Gamers and game manufacturers have an open relationship. There’s nothing that says we have to love everything they do, even if we have a fanboyish history of loving what they’ve done. Show me the creative genius of the Vitality Sensor and I’ll let you know if I believe it. Until then, please Shigeru, stop talking about it.


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