Why Nintendo needs to include Wii Remote Plus with all Wii U consoles
This may be the most important decision Nintendo makes relating to the Wii U. Not including Wii Remote Plus with every Wii U console would effectively render all the progress they made with motion controls over the last generation moot. It is clear Nintendo doesn’t intend for the Wii U to use one type of controller. The Wii used multiple controllers (GameCube, Classic Controller) and the Wii U looks to be no exception. Whether they include Wii Remote Plus units or not with every Wii U system will decide if motion controls can achieve their true potential.
They ushered in motion controls nearly six years ago to unprecedented fanfare and their competitors followed them by developing their own motion controlling devices. But the ride got bumpy for Nintendo’s innovate Wii console as even die-hard believers in the device eventually saw the limits of the original Wii remote.
Nintendo was criticized for not making the Wii remote as revolutionary and accurate as was promised. They fixed a large portion of those issues with Wii Motion Plus. But despite Motion Plus being an affordable accessory that made games like Wii Sports Resort, Red Steel 2 and Zelda: Skyward Sword more amazing in ways traditional controllers can’t begin to replicate it could never really get off the ground.
Part of this was because the accessory was just that, an accessory. It has always been seen as a simple add-on by consumers and not a requirement for Wii owners. The fact that developers could never count on customers owning the peripheral stunted a lot of interest in developing games specifically for Motion Plus.
Nintendo tried as hard as they could. They bundled Motion Plus attachments or Wii Remote Plus hardware with various games and added it to new Wii systems. But it was too late.
Many people love the immersive motion controls in Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Red Steel 2. You can make a case that the lack of “must-have” allure of Motion Plus stunted Red Steel 2’s sales, causing them to fall far below its predecessor.
If Nintendo ships Wii Remote Plus controllers with each Wii U package it will be the chance to get motion controls to the place they were meant to launch at in 2006. Developers won’t have to worry about whether consumers own a Wii Remote Plus and will be able to develop control schemes for both the Wii U Pad and for those looking for IR aiming.
Tons of gamers have come out in support of FPS controls on the Wii. Some swear by it. It would be a pity to see the potential for Wii Remote Plus in genres like FPS to be wasted and never really developed fully. Nintendo has said they may used motion controls similar to those found in Skyward Sword in a future Zelda game for the Wii U.
If they intend on having us slash at particular angles to defeat enemies in the first HD Zelda game, they should be prepared for the backlash from consumers if they don’t ship Wii Remote Plus with the Wii U.
Consumers would likely be confused as to why Nintendo is telling them to buy a last generation controller to play on their new console. Doing this would destroy sales of this potential Zelda installment as it would effectively raise the price of the game by $20-$40, depending on how much Nintendo plans to charge for Wii controllers in a Wii U future.
The obvious remedy for this scenario is to ship Wii Remote Plus with every Wii U. Developers and consumers will have more choices. Not only that, it would take the shackles off Wii Motion Plus and allow developers to really go wild with it. I don’t think I have to convince you that this would benefit the gaming community greatly.
Nintendo’s next home console shouldn’t be seen as just an opportunity for us to play Mario with something that resembles a traditional game controller more than a television remote. It should also be seen as an opportunity to finally bring the promise of 1:1 motions to fruition.