Nintendo may have fulfilled the promise of the Wii, finally offering a motion controller as accurate and responsive as we’d all hoped the Wiimote to be originally. If Nintendo can coax developers to support Wii Motion Plus, we can expect some killer Wii titles in ’09 (on top of Wii Sports Resort in spring), but it might be 2010 before we see all that many compatible games.
The Nintendo Wii can finally be the absolutely amazing machine that many of us thought would never materialize—its tacit promises delivered at last. However, new titles designed for MotionPlus will not be playable with standard Wiimotes. While Nintendo isn’t technically stopping third parties from making dual-compatible games, the fact that Nintendo’s WiiSports Resort lacks such an option is a potential harbinger of a bad trend.
If developers support MotionPlus en masse, the peripheral will become a mandatory upgrade to Wii owners who just want to play new Wii games. And in the console market, that’s an unprecedented requirement (update: yes, the PlayStation analog stick upgrade on the Dual Analog wasn’t great, but Nintendo’s upgrade may be a requirement so intrinsic to the system that it affects an overwhelming majority of titles.)
Nintendo are to be commended for fixing the shortcomings of their Wiimote. They didn’t have to do so to win the console war and make boatloads of money. But it would have been nice if it worked better in the first place. And then we wouldn’t have to put up with the kids telling us their brand new console is already obsolete.