For anyone even slightly connected to current events or pop culture, you’ve heard of the “Wii.” A video game console controlled by a wireless remote, the Nintendo Wii is a video game marvel recently outselling all other non-portable consoles including Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3. According to NPD, Nintendo has sold 714.2 thousand systems in April 2008 – cha ching!
The Wii is unique in that it appeals to an overwhelmingly broad, mainstream audience – kids, teens, men, women, and even the elderly. In fact, the Wii has become quite popular in retirement homes because it is a great way for residents to get up and moving.
Nintendo has taken the “get up and move” concept a step further with last week’s launch of the Wii Fit - a $90 pressure-sensitive “balance board” and game bundle that players can use to do yoga, aerobics, strength training, etc.
Nintendo kicked off the US launch with an event in Central Park, where they set up 38 Wii Fit systems for the public to enjoy and donated $5 to the American Heart Association with every person that tried the game. The event got a lot of attention with gaming/tech bloggers. Being in PR, this “launch event” tactic is very common. And I can tell you from experience, it is no easy feat getting the permits squared away to have an event in Central Park!
Although the game launched in the US last week, it actually had been in the UK for awhile, where Wii Fit has been making some big waves. The game measures your Body Mass Index (BMI) after you enter your age and height. According to a recent story by Mail Online, a ten year old girl was playing the game and it told her she was fat. Her parents were horrified and some experts have been dissing the Wii Fit as a result. I can see both sides of the argument – you don’t want a young girl thinking she is fat if she is not, but IT IS JUST A GAME!!!
Another amusing angle of this story is that the same week the Wii Fit launched, Nintento also released Major League Eating: The Game, which is based off of the concept of competitive speed eating – mmmmm, hot dogs.
All-in-all, the Wii has been a huge success for Nintendo and, although it’s been a year and a half since the Wii hit shelves, it is still hard to come by the console in stores, even with a $200+ price tag!