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Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Wii Motional Blackmail

"Oops, we missed a bit!"

So Ninty have came out with the Wii Motion Plus - also known as: 'Does what we said the Wiimote did on its own' - boasting enhanced movement perception and the ability to make owners of an expensive set of 4 wiimotes and nunchuks cry bitter, exploited tears.

What's impressive is the bold-faced attempt to make this seem like an achievement. Trotting out footage of Tiger Woods made impotent holding a tiny white toy instead of his usual phallic symbol they're trying to tell us they've made the Wii better, but the problem is how difficult this is to guage. I mean, we've never really had motion-sensor gaming to the level of the Wii or even beyond a little bit of tilting here and there and so when they say they've improved it we can only nod and agree this is progress. But nevertheless it's difficult to forget that when they released the Wii they were making the same claims. In fact I'm pretty sure they've reused the same Tiger Woods advert but superimposed an extra inch in his hands.

You can lead a child to music, but you can't make them play.

Now I'm sure these are just unbearably trite complaints from a bitter owner of the afforementioned expensive set of wiimotes (one already broken) and I bet a lot of work has gone in to that extra inch but it's hard not to feel like this is the kind of hardware problem that if it occured in software would be covered by a free patch. When the 360 had the red-ring-o'-death it didn't do what it was supposed to (as in: play) so Microsoft ended up shelling out free consoles, so why is it when Ninty finally admit the Wii motion sensor never did what it was supposed to (as in: sense motion) they get to charge an extra £25 a pop for their discovery?

The answers simple: Ninty have a monopoly. Sony and Microsoft may have thought they were mad to target a gaming console at people who don't play games and all props to them for making it work, but now that they've took the road less travelled by they alone can set the toll charges. Who can put a price on motion sensors? That kind of thing is unprecedented and without a second horse in the race they can set the precedent as high as they like. Like a bus driver who charges you to get on the bus and then refuses to let you off without paying again, Ninty have the power to charge their gamers everytime they make a minor improvement and gamers have to comply or get left behind (Actually, in the bus analogy the opposite would be true. Let's say the bus has stopped off at a rest stop and there's a charge to get back on - and the bus is being driven by Shigsy Miyamoto). In short, Ninty have got their gamers by the nunchuks - all four of them.


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