Nintendo Boss Explains Demise of the Wii Vitality Sensor

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Nintendo Boss Explains Demise of the Wii Vitality Sensor

wii vitality sensor

Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata says the Wii Vitality Sensor wasn't actually as exciting as the boys in the lab thought it would be.

Remember the Wii Vitality Sensor? We last spoke of the device two years ago, when Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said it still needed some work because "there are large individual differences in the biological information of humans," and it wouldn't work properly with an estimated one out of five people. The goal, he said, was to get that figure down to about one in 100, at which point it would be ready for release.

Unfortunately for Nintendo, while it was able to improve its percentage, it couldn't get it down far enough. "After a large-scale test of a prototype inside the company, we found out that for some people the sensor did not work as expected. We wondered if we should commercialize a product which works as expected for 90 people out of 100, but not so for the other 10 people," Iwata explained in a Q&A session at Nintendo's most recent shareholders meeting. "Though I am sorry that we did not give any specific updates after this product's initial announcement, I would say that knowing that a product has a problem we should not launch it for the sole reason that we have already announced it."

But it wasn't just technical issues that kept the Vitality Sensor off the shelves; it turns out that even when it does work, there's not a whole lot you can actually do with it. Iwata described it as "an interesting device" but added, "It was of narrower application than we had originally thought." He also took some time to explain why Nintendo announced the Vitality Sensor before it was completely committed to actually releasing it.

"It is difficult to decide the time to announce a product. If we announce a new product just before the launch date, we may hear some fans say that they cannot purchase it because the announcement was so sudden," he explained. "However, if we provide too much information well before the launch date, people will become so used to hearing about it that they may even feel as if they have already played it and experience déjà vu when we finally do launch it."

Even after an announcement is made, Iwata said, Nintendo will "postpone the launch of a new product or put it in a pending state if we determine that it does not meet the quality standards that we require."

Source: Nintendo

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Eh, I doubt anyone was just jumping up and down waiting for this device anyways.

Props to Nintendo for at least having the courage to say "no, this thing isn't working well enough, so we're not going to release it".

Gutted.

Absolutely gutted.

Nah but seriously what was the point in it anyway?

Oh yeah, I remember this... Always wondered what happened to it...

I would love to have been a fly on the wall at the meeting where this thing got brainstormed.

"Hey! Hey Shiggy!"

"...huh? What?"

"Hey! Hey listen! I've just had a fan-friggin-tastic idea! You know how consumers are snapping up all our Wii peripherals right now?"

"Yeah"

"Well, you know those finger things hospitals clip on you to measure your heartbeat? Why don't we make one of those for our console!?!"

"But, how would we apply something like that to videogames?"

"I've no fucking idea! But it's a hospital finger pulse clip! How awesome would it be?"

"Fuckin' sold! I-watz! Get R&D on the phone! I want those boys working on this pronto! And see if we can't get 'em working on an IV drip peripheral for DS while we're at it. We're gonna have the market cornered in extraneous medical supply peripherals before the competition even know it's a thing!"

Makes me wonder what crazy left-field peripherals they've got in the works for Wii U. A Wii U Anal Thermometer peripheral perhaps?

Andy Chalk:
it turns out that even when it does work, there's not a whole lot you can actually do with it. Iwata described it as "an interesting device" but added, "It was of narrower application than we had originally thought."

The words "no" and "shit" immediately spring to mind. Did anyone actually expect this to be anything more than another shitty Wii fit add-on?

At least they admitted the device was bad and didn't go around blaming the consumers for their failures.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Makes me wonder what crazy left-field peripherals they've got in the works for Wii U. A Wii U Anal Thermometer peripheral perhaps?

Nah, the gamepad is totally going to be an all-in-one MRI, X-Ray, CAT scan and Ultrasound machine.

Thanks for explaining what the device was. Heck, I clicked on the link, and even that article didn't even explain it.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Makes me wonder what crazy left-field peripherals they've got in the works for Wii U. A Wii U Anal Thermometer peripheral perhaps?

The WiiU Hadron Collider is pretty sweet, you need a 26 mile long underground tunnel and a small power plant in your living room to use it though. Still, that's less space than you need for the Kinect 2 to work.

I'm curious as to why they even announced it when it was a failure 20% of the time and they didn't really know what they were going to use it for. Surely you do the product development before announcing a product. But I'm no businesswoman, so what do I know?

MB202:
Oh yeah, I remember this... Always wondered what happened to it...

I thought it was already out just irrelevant like the Wii Fit board.

Frankly, I don't know what use they had imagined for this device. I suppose for exercise games, monitoring heart rate isn't a bad idea. But people exercise without monitoring their heart rate all the time. So this would be a niche product for a niche within the niche of people who use their Wii to exercise in the first place.

And from this point forward, all Nintendo-related news posts will refer to them exclusively as "Shiggy" and "I-watz."

Ever since the original announcement, I've been curious what sort of game you could possibly make for such a device. I mean, it's a device you sick your finger into, then hold it still. Sure, you may get heart-rate information and such... then what?

the antithesis:

MB202:
Oh yeah, I remember this... Always wondered what happened to it...

I thought it was already out just irrelevant like the Wii Fit board.

Frankly, I don't know what use they had imagined for this device. I suppose for exercise games, monitoring heart rate isn't a bad idea. But people exercise without monitoring their heart rate all the time. So this would be a niche product for a niche within the niche of people who use their Wii to exercise in the first place.

Yes and how many people still do that, how many still have wii balance board.

Also I don't see much use for it in "scary" games. It could have a few uses but to be fair it all would be just extra stuff. It wouldn't be the main part of the gameplay.

masticina:
Yes and how many people still do that, how many still have wii balance board.

They have them. They're just collecting dust in a closet.

Also I don't see much use for it in "scary" games. It could have a few uses but to be fair it all would be just extra stuff. It wouldn't be the main part of the gameplay.

Maybe the best use for this technology is to incorporate it into the controller that already comes with the system. Although, even then, I don't see much use for it. Frankly, I don't even like motion controls. I got a 3DS to play Luigi's Mansion and I wish I could turn of the motion controls because they suck. If I shift my position or grip, it effects things in the game at the worst possible time in the worst possible way. Handhelds should never have motion controls anyway. I need to watch the screen to see what's happening and then swing it around my head? How does that help me watch the screen? Idiots.

TLDR: They realised it was shit.

SkarKrow:
Gutted.

Absolutely gutted.

Nah but seriously what was the point in it anyway?

Wii Fit.

Zumba.

any of the "weight loss" games that have been around with the release of motion controls.

However, one application I was wanting to see if it was used for was horror games.

Imagine getting scared out of your mind, the game sensing your stress levels, and adjusting itself to make it even more scary. thats what I wanted.

I was expecting it to disappear silently, but I suppose being up and honest is better.

SkarKrow:
Gutted.

Absolutely gutted.

Nah but seriously what was the point in it anyway?

Some people thought it would work for a horror game very well as a way of pushing dynamic difficulty.
Given that the Xbox One Kinect (It also can take your heart rate apparently - How? Um?) is going to be sitting there, required 100% of the time even for when the game or console doesn't need it, it seemed like an okay idea for one game or two. >_>

EDIT: Fixing structure a bit, feel like mentioning that we have had sunlight sensors (Boktai series - Amazing stuff from Kojima) on GBA games which worked pretty damn well.

the antithesis:
Maybe the best use for this technology is to incorporate it into the controller that already comes with the system. Although, even then, I don't see much use for it. Frankly, I don't even like motion controls. I got a 3DS to play Luigi's Mansion and I wish I could turn of the motion controls because they suck. If I shift my position or grip, it effects things in the game at the worst possible time in the worst possible way. Handhelds should never have motion controls anyway. I need to watch the screen to see what's happening and then swing it around my head? How does that help me watch the screen? Idiots.

If you play 3DS on the bus the first person view vibrates which is even more annoying

Andy Chalk:
And from this point forward, all Nintendo-related news posts will refer to them exclusively as "Shiggy" and "I-watz."

Oh dear. That would be quite amusing. Especially if they found out about it somehow and actually started referring to each other publicly like that.

The only thing I could think of would be to use it to determine your "fear" level during tense portions of a survival horror or action game. In action games you could have them add adrenaline boosts for it. Who knows?

masticina:

the antithesis:

MB202:
Oh yeah, I remember this... Always wondered what happened to it...

I thought it was already out just irrelevant like the Wii Fit board.

Frankly, I don't know what use they had imagined for this device. I suppose for exercise games, monitoring heart rate isn't a bad idea. But people exercise without monitoring their heart rate all the time. So this would be a niche product for a niche within the niche of people who use their Wii to exercise in the first place.

Yes and how many people still do that, how many still have wii balance board.

Also I don't see much use for it in "scary" games. It could have a few uses but to be fair it all would be just extra stuff. It wouldn't be the main part of the gameplay.

Trauma center could be a good fit for it I guess. Using the player's heart rate as a way of setting the patient or the surgeon's conditions. Personally I'm not really disappointed. The idea had some charm, but it is the charm of something you won't use more than a few times.

Andy Chalk:
And from this point forward, all Nintendo-related news posts will refer to them exclusively as "Shiggy" and "I-watz."

If I can claim to have achieved anything in my time at the Escapist, this will be my crowning achievement.

Of course, in the spirit of Nintendo, I shall of course be claiming copyright on that, and collecting revenue from any ads posted on news articles with the words Shiggy or I-watz in them.

Dryk:
If you play 3DS on the bus the first person view vibrates which is even more annoying

Oh, I don't use the 3D on my 3DS. I don't bother with gimmicks that don't work.

Andy Chalk:
And from this point forward, all Nintendo-related news posts will refer to them exclusively as "Shiggy" and "I-watz."

Seconded.

At any rate, I didn't know anyone even expected this to go beyond a wii fit peripheral.

"It is difficult to decide the time to announce a product. If we announce a new product just before the launch date, we may hear some fans say that they cannot purchase it because the announcement was so sudden," he explained. "However, if we provide too much information well before the launch date, people will become so used to hearing about it that they may even feel as if they have already played it and experience déjà vu when we finally do launch it."

What!?

There is such thing as providing too much information now that it creates an illusion that people have used it before? Is there some majority I don't know about?

Kalezian:
However, one application I was wanting to see if it was used for was horror games.

Imagine getting scared out of your mind, the game sensing your stress levels, and adjusting itself to make it even more scary. thats what I wanted.

Honestly, careful pacing is such an integral part to making an actual horror experience that I don't think it would work, though I wouldn't be opposed to being proven wrong.

I'm a bit dissapointed that Bowser, King K., or Ganon wasn't talking about this... these are the people I think if when I hear: "Nintendo Boss". Yet another misleading title!

Narrower than imagined, eh? Begs the question of what they thought they were going to do with the player's heartbeat. What I immediately imagine is a horror game that identifies which parts of itself are scariest to the player and becomes a nightmare as you play, but then again, you've got a stupid tacky thing on your finger, and it's on the Wii, so there's only so much horror you can prodcue in that situation. -_-

the antithesis:

Dryk:
If you play 3DS on the bus the first person view vibrates which is even more annoying

Oh, I don't use the 3D on my 3DS. I don't bother with gimmicks that don't work.

Works fine more me. But what I meant was that because of the bus shaking the first-person view in Luigi's Mansion thinks you're trying to look around and the camera shakes.

Kalezian:

SkarKrow:
Gutted.

Absolutely gutted.

Nah but seriously what was the point in it anyway?

Wii Fit.

Zumba.

any of the "weight loss" games that have been around with the release of motion controls.

However, one application I was wanting to see if it was used for was horror games.

Imagine getting scared out of your mind, the game sensing your stress levels, and adjusting itself to make it even more scary. thats what I wanted.

Interestingly enough, after my mother had a (slightly botched) hip replacement, i bought her a wii and wii-fit to help with her rehab and it worked wonders. She still uses to this day as it keeps her doing her no impact exercise and keeps her joints and muscles working well.

the antithesis:

MB202:
Oh yeah, I remember this... Always wondered what happened to it...

I thought it was already out just irrelevant like the Wii Fit board.

The Wii fit board should have more basic game support because it's like a joystick for your feet.

Since touch screens have trouble acknowledging I exist, I get the feeling I would be one of the people it doesn't work for.

I think it would have had it's shining moment in horror games but you would probably have knocked it off of your hands so many times during gameplay (whether a horror game or an updated Wii Fit) that it would have eventually proven useless. Glad it got cancelled, now I don't have to stress about being called 75 years old by the Wii for an actual reason.

FreedomofInformation:
The Wii fit board should have more basic game support because it's like a joystick for your feet.

Yeah, but it's like the old Power Pad for the NES. Try using it and you just wind up sitting on the floor to use it. Wii fit and this vitality sensor thing is the sort of thing you buy because you need to get in shape so you get it to get in shape and then a month later you either stop using it or don't use it properly anymore because you stopped caring about getting in shape when you found out how much work it was.

It didn't have a lot of vitality then did it?

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