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."