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Wii The Almighty Buck

Wal-Mart's Terrible Nintendo Wii Knock-Offs 490

Posted by Zonk
from the anything-for-a-buck dept.
MaryAlan writes "Wal-Mart is now selling an electronic LCD game in the kid's section that resembles a Wiimote so closely that even Wal-Mart employees can't tell them apart in a picture. But the games — made by ToyQuest out of L.A. — are complete and utter crap, to the point of being unplayable. Their only redeeming feature is that they look like the Nintendo Wii, which means Wal-Mart is relying on brand confusion to sell any of these things to unsuspecting customers. There is a gallery of photos online, so you can take a look at side-by-side pictures with a true Wiimote, down to the fake speaker on the front. "
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Wal-Mart's Terrible Nintendo Wii Knock-Offs

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  • Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @10:42PM (#21228265)
    Hey, Wal-Mart is always looking for the lowest price on items - even to the point of telling manufacturer's to make a cheaper, lower quality, unit. So they found it. Where can they go from here? A picture of a Wii in a box? (Worked on eBay for another gaming console.)
    • Re:Obvious (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:21PM (#21228553)
      not even just lowest price, some of their decisions just plain evil/stupid. Have you heard the story about the whole meat issue? Ever wonder why Walmart ground beef smells, looks, feels, and tastes like some sort of rotting roadkill compared to respectable grocery stores? It's because as I understood the explanation, they refuse to buy meat from any meat processors that are unionized which leaves absolute crap companies. Don't eat Walmart meat...in fact, don't even shop there. They'll pick up any product if it's cheap and they think it will sell. Soon they're going to have way too many people with the feeling that Walmart sells 100% cheap crap products, which somehow they've been able to somewhat avoid so far.
      P.S. I actually know the person who sold just a console box on ebay for retail price of a new unit cuz the bidder didn't read carefully.
      • Re:Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

        by xrayspx (13127) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:41PM (#21228683) Homepage
        My wife and I pointed out an entire 8' section of the WalMart meat cooler that was at least 10 days out of code, and very brown/green/fuzzy. The employee did nothing about it and went back to what they were doing. I (in my former capacity as a supermarket employee) would have flown over there and scooped it all out, no matter what department I worked in. So would any of my coworkers. I've happily spent less than $1/year at WalMart in the last decade, but I feel that even that is too much.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Warbothong (905464)
        "It's because as I understood the explanation, they refuse to buy meat from any meat processors that are unionized which leaves absolute crap companies." What on Earth is wrong with atoms having an equal number of electrons and protons, and why should that affect meat-buying decisions?
  • In this first image, you can see the toy's tiny LCD screen. It's small, because it's being forced to fit within the proportions of the Wiimote. The screen is almost too small to be useful at all, and is nearly impossible to play. This gets even worse when playing in the "motion" controlled mode, which supposedly lets you control by moving the thing. I wouldn't know, since it's nearly impossible to move the toy and see the tiny screen at the same time.

    I would hope that any parent thinking of buying this wou

    • by xC0000005 (715810) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:30PM (#21228615) Homepage
      I would imagine that most people who buy this don't honestly think this is a nintendo wii. They think it looks a lot like one, and for kids toys so often that's "enough". The logic is twisted, but if you're a parent who can barely afford the $15 for this toy and your child wants a wii, well, it's a delusion that gets bought into. You can't afford the real thing. You can afford a cheap knock off, and "it's kind of the same thing, right?"

      No. It isn't. That doesn't really enter the equasion.
  • unethical (Score:5, Informative)

    by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @10:44PM (#21228295)

    I think this is a highly unethical business practice which must be stopped. It is somewhat akin to companies in China producing brand-name knock-offs that so closely resemble the original product that they can only be described as counterfeit.

    The best thing to do is to take a few minutes of your time and send a short, concise, and polite letter to:

    Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
    Attn: Customer Service
    702 S.W. 8th Street
    Bentonville, AR 72716

    Believe me, they will notice your letter and do something about it.

    • by JustShootMe (122551) * <rmiller@duskglow.com> on Saturday November 03, 2007 @10:47PM (#21228315) Homepage Journal
      How could you think that resembles it so closely as to be regarded as counterfeit?

      It's obvious they took design cues from it, but I don't see what people are complaining about.
      • by hedwards (940851)
        Counterfeit no, but trust me there are people out there that wouldn't realize it until they got it home. I think technically in order to be a counterfeit it would have to either function in place of a real one or have no other function. Being poorly designed shouldn't be enough.

        The whole thing looks like it is meant to be somewhat confusing. I don't think that it looks quite like the wiimote, but it does look like a generic wiimote might. And trust me, from what I read, a generic wiimote would be far more u
        • So what!? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Lethyos (408045) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:28PM (#21228593) Journal
          Who cares if some fool is so easily taken by this product. If someone could be so stupid to plunk down their hard-earned cash without understanding what they are paying for in the first place then they should suffer the consequnces. Promoting nannyism to prevent dumb behavior will solve nothing. Idiocy has to hurt or people will never stop being idiots.
          • Re:So what!? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Romancer (19668) <romancer@de3.141 ... oor.com minus pi> on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:32PM (#21228627) Journal
            So am I the first to see this article and think "Wow, darwin for consumers!"
            The stupid will have to return this or lose money so they will suffer for their stupidity. Good.
            • Egg-zactly.

              There is certainly predatory behavior in consumerland which needs to be stopped. This ain't it.

              In my view, if they made it look *exactly* like a wiimote and named it the "xii" or the "nii", then I would say, yeah, we need to do something about that. But as it stands? Let the buyer beware.
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by orkysoft (93727)
              This makes me think of those non-poisonous snakes that have the same kind of stripes as a poisonous snake species, so they benefit from the deterrence effect without needing to invest in poison glands themselves.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by zenetik (750376)
            In most cases, I would agree. But considering that Walmart seems to have a very large customer base among the elderly, I think it's fairly certain that some grandparents on Social Security, who don't know a monitor from a mouse, are going to proudly buy one of these as a gift for a grandchild thinking it is that cool game system they saw on TV and learn too late, when they see the look of disappointment on little Johnny's face, that it isn't the real deal.
      • I have to agree. I'm looking at the pictures and asking how anyone in their right mind would confuse a Wii-mote with one of these, let alone an entire Wii. They don't look the same, they just use the same styling.

        There's no fraud involved, they're taking design cues from a market leader, largely, one assumes, so people see at a glance it's intended to be some kind of gaming device. If this is fraud, then those iFan things that look like iPods are even worse examples, and the CEOs of the companies making

        • >I'm looking at the pictures and asking how anyone in their right mind would confuse a Wii-mote with one of these

          are you stupid?

          is it really so hard to imagine a parent wanting to buy extra controllers for a Wii, seeing this, and being misled?

          the design of this thing is closer to an actual Wii remote than, say, a 3rd party Gamecube controller to a Nintendo Gamecube controller.

          the fake speaker on the front is also pretty good reason alone to suspect the product aims to mislead.
    • Re:unethical (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stevenvi (779021) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @10:50PM (#21228337) Homepage
      Unless the promotional materials (such as the packaging of the toy) refer to it as a device for your Wii, how is selling this unethical? The photo gallery (not article, as there was none) only showed pictures of the toy out of the box. There was no mention of a deceptive box, only a statement that, "hey look, this toy is designed to look like a wiimote. And the toy sucks."

      Is it also unethical to sell squirt guns on the basis that they are (or were, anyways) designed to look like guns, except instead of using gun powder to propel bullets, they shoot water? If you look at the box before you buy something, you can save yourself some embarrassment when you have to return it later.
      • A squirt gun is usually quite a bit different from a real gun. Most of them don't try to trade on someone else's brand identity either, I've never seen any that look like any single specific gun such that they look the same at a glance.

        It's the use of someone else's brand identity that I think is unethical. I would consider the general WiiMote design to be part of the Wii brand identity.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by click2005 (921437)
          In North America squirt guns are not allowed to resemble real guns so they cant be used for bank robberies etc. With the shoot first interrogate later mentality of most cops nowadays its probably a good thing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squirt_gun [wikipedia.org]
          • In North America squirt guns are not allowed to resemble real guns so they cant be used for bank robberies etc. With the shoot first interrogate later mentality of most cops nowadays its probably a good thing.

            Not so sure about that - I've seen plenty of squirt guns that have a passing resemblance to the real thing. I do know that my little spring operated pellet gun - which looks rather like a generic 9 mm semi auto pistol - has an orange ring around the muzzle to tip police off to it's benign nature.

            • by Sanat (702)
              My 9 mm semi auto pistol also has an orange ring around the barrel to make the police believe it is benign.

              Remember the movie where the star was going to hold up a bank with a squirt gun that was in his pocket, he was nervous and pulled the trigger so when the lady behind the bank counter saw his wet pants she called him a "disgusting man"?
      • Re:unethical (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jerf (17166) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:16PM (#21228523) Journal
        The true, original purpose of trademark law (which I am aware I'm the first to bring up) is to protect the consumer from products that are designed to fool you into believing you are purchasing a product from somebody other than the true source. That is why the touchstone of trademark infringement is "Would a reasonable consumer confuse the two products?"

        As usual, you can skirt the line. You can argue about whether it claims to be a Wii, exactly what the box says, exactly what it claims to be, etc. Nevertheless, I'd say the intent here is pretty clearly to pick up sales through deception, with varying degrees of plausible deniability. That they try to stay on the legal side of the line doesn't make it automatically ethical.

        They don't give me enough data to come to a conclusion. But it's certainly enough to be suggestive.

        Is it also unethical to sell squirt guns on the basis that they are (or were, anyways) designed to look like guns, except instead of using gun powder to propel bullets, they shoot water?
        "Guns" are not a protectable item. A closer analogy here, despite my hatred of using analogies in online debates, are the numerous "generic controllers" that you can buy that contain games in them, but are not unauthorized representations of any particular controller. Only a squirt gun that looked like a specific, trademarked gun would be comparable, and yes indeed, the law will require you to get permission. You can't make a model car that looks exactly like a real car without permission, which is why the Grand Theft Auto world is populated by knockoffs. You can't make a model Enterprise without permission from Paramount, but you can make any generic space ship you want. As is invariably the case with analogies used in debates, the difference between the analogy and the real-world situation render your analogy irrelevant.
        • by rm999 (775449)
          But it's not the product itself that would confuse a consumer, it's the box (unless a reasonable consumer is opening boxes at the store). Does the box trick the purchaser into thinking it is a controller for their Wii? From the gallery, we can't draw a conclusion. And if they are tricking people, you would think Walmart would voluntarily stop selling it to stop returns from people who bought it with/for their Wii.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by medlefsen (995255)
            I saw this in Walmart a couple weeks ago while shopping for board games and it's in a very small clear plastic package with a cardboard back. I noticed it's wii-mote like appearance from an aisle away and immediately thought "what's a wii-mote doing in this section?" It doesn't say it's a wii but it looks exactly like it (to the untrained eye at least). It's very clearly intentionally deceptive.
    • elieve me, they will notice your letter and do something about it.

      Hopefully, they wiill notice your letter.
    • Re:unethical (Score:5, Informative)

      by aichpvee (631243) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:00PM (#21228407) Journal
      Three points:

      1) This "story" is really OLD. It did the rounds on the Internet MONTHS ago.

      2) As stupid as I'm sure a lot of walmart employees are, I have a hard time thinking even many of them would be able to confuse these two items.

      3)
      a. Either zonk has trouble telling the two apart and thinks this is legitimate "news."
      -or-
      b. zonk believes that it has already been posted on /. and is posting it again just to make a dupe.
      • by feepness (543479) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:03PM (#21228431) Homepage

        1) This "story" is really OLD. It did the rounds on the Internet MONTHS ago.

        3)
        a. Either zonk has trouble telling the two apart and thinks this is legitimate "news."
        -or-
        b. zonk believes that it has already been posted on /. and is posting it again just to make a dupe.
        Maybe Zonk just has difficulties telling the stories apart?
      • Old? I'm pretty sure it was just posted on either Joystiq or Engadget mere hours ago. Maybe you're thinking of the Vii or something else.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Dr. Cody (554864)
      Why do you hate freedom?

      Finish your capitalism, young man--every last bite. There are starving entrepreneurs in China...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by belmolis (702863)

      If the design is sufficiently similar to the Nintendo Wii as to confuse consumers, Nintendo can sue for infringement on its trade dress [wikipedia.org]. Trade dress is similar to trademark, but instead of the words of a brand name or slogan it refers to the non-functional characteristics of a product. In other words, existing law should take care of this problem.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by evwah (954864)
      no, they won't.
    • If people are too stupid not to know the difference they deserve to be ripped off. Must we protect the public from every stupid thing they do?
  • Eh. They don't look alike at all. They share some of the same design elements, but the changes are significant enough that I wouldn't be fooled.

    If someone is going to buy this while looking for a wii, they deserve what they get.

    Personally, I think they just wanted to make it look like a wii because they thought "the wii is popular and maybe if we look like a wii we'll look popular too". Not "wow, if we make something that looks like a wii maybe we'll sell some by mistake".

    Though I'm sure they consider th
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't think that are really trying to fool video game players though. I think they are trying to target the parents that have no knowledge about video games aside from seeing a Wii a few times and know that they are popular. I am such a person, and aside from the "Wii" on the bottom of the real controller, would be unable to tell which one was the knockoff. Certainly if someone threw one of the knock offs in my hand, my first thought would be that it was a Wii controller without thinking twice about it. A
      • But I'd point out that even on the pictures, it says "football" in big letters on the bottom.

        Caveat Emptor - even for people who buy at Wal-mart.
    • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:03PM (#21228435)

      They don't look alike at all.

      Yes, they do. It's not just superficial... It's fairly obvious that the knock-off was intentionally designed to look like a Wii-mote.

      the changes are significant enough that I wouldn't be fooled.

      You aren't the target here.

      I used to work at Electronics Boutique over the holidays, and I can guarantee that there are plenty of parents out there who would purchase this thing without a moment's hesitation - believing the whole time that they were purchasing a Wii-mote, or even the entire Wii system.

      Parents used to show up with the most vague descriptions of what their child wanted... Or pictures clipped from catalogs, sales fliers, and magazines... Folks wouldn't know whether they needed a game for the PS2, Xbox, Game Cube, or computer. All they knew is that their kid said this, or it looked like that, or it had some guy with wings in it.

      We had plenty of returns after Christmas because of this confusion. Folks who bought the game for entirely the wrong system...or the wrong kind of memory card...or bought some part of the system instead of the whole thing... And that was all without overly deceiving advertising or product design like this thing.
      • by RobertM1968 (951074) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:15PM (#21228515) Homepage Journal

        Mod Parent "+1 Intelligent" (and then ban him from SlashDot!!!) ;-)

      • And those returns cost the retailer money--the product was taking up shelf space, the customer went through checkout, the store got charged the transaction fee if they used a credit card . . . and now it's being returned because it wasn't what the customer thought they were buying.

        I think the real party at fault here is Wal-Mart. Sure someone made a crappy game device deliberately modeled after the Wiimote. Big deal. Wal-Mart decided to carry this piece of crap so it's taking up space on shelves, causi

        • by Khaed (544779)
          It's a waste of Wal-Mart's money. And that's the one thing Wal-Mart *hates* wasting.

          yep. I know someone who works there (she's a college student). They'll side with the customer IF the employee is at fault, make employees apologize even to the shittiest customers, and if a customer does something to an employee, they try and talk the employee out of doing anything. Case in point, a crazy woman randomly threw some meat at the person working in their deli, and Walmart talked the employee out of filing any
    • by G Fab (1142219)
      I would think this was a wiimote if I saw it in a store without labelling. It's clearly supposed to look like a wiimote. I even bet that it IS a third party wiimote, just that the company couldn't get licensing or good tech or something, and retools to make this crap.

      I mean, come on man. The button placement, the fake speaker, the color and shape, etc. It's a motion control game thingy. Like I said, I can tell this isn't nintendo's wiimote, but it could easily be logitech's or madcatz's. No doubt at a
      • by Tacvek (948259)

        I would think this was a wiimote if I saw it in a store without labelling. It's clearly supposed to look like a wiimote. I even bet that it IS a third party wiimote, just that the company couldn't get licensing or good tech or something, and retools to make this crap.

        I mean, come on man. The button placement, the fake speaker, the color and shape, etc. It's a motion control game thingy. Like I said, I can tell this isn't nintendo's wiimote, but it could easily be logitech's or madcatz's. No doubt at all this is what even a nintendo employee would think at first glance.

        Actually in this case Nintendo employees would not think that. But this is only because Nintendo has decided no make it very difficult for third parties to make replacement controllers, but encourages them to make controller accessories. This was a deliberate decision. If Nintendo's controller sales are not at risk, they feel better. The official policy seems to be that wii-mote plug-in add-ons are a bit more restricted but only to keep the number such accessories down to a manageable level. But they are

  • by stratjakt (596332) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @10:49PM (#21228323) Journal
    They've been making little LCD toys that looked like console controllers since the Atari 2600.

    They make lighters that look like pistols and male masturbators that look like flashlights. If you dont want to be "taken", read the package first.

    Slow news day? Is this the best you can do to muster nerd rage?
    • by RobFlynn (127703)
      You just said pretty much what I wanted to say. There's also this policy that Wal-Mart has that lets you return items that you have purchased. I think you even have 90 days to do so. If it takes you more than 90 days to realize that you bought something that's not a Wii-mote then you definitely have other problems.

      As far as the design of the product, yes, it is definitely designed to look like one -- but I have to agree with the people above about packaging. Does it say "Wee mote" on it or something?
      • by Khaed (544779)
        And you can almost always return an item, even if you've opened it and used it.

        Food is a clear exception, probably DVDs/CDs (never tried), but "crappy controller thing"? I imagine you can take it back.

        Personally, if you're confused by this thing and you've actually ever even seen a Wiimote, I want you sterilized before you breed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bladesjester (774793)
        I think you even have 90 days to do so.

        You only have like 30 days for electronic stuff and some of it they won't refund if it's been opened, only replace with an identical item.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Kredal (566494)
          On the plus side, if the WalMart employee can't tell the difference, a real Wii remote could be the "identical" item that you recieve in trade!
  • Non Story (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is a self-contained LCD game, and Wal-Mart has a whole aisle of cheap games like this. It's not with the video games but rather in the toy section with the board games and dolls. Someone in China decided the Wiimote look would distinguish it from the other LCD crap. It's like the Famiclones that look like other popular consoles. If you buy a cheap LCD game and somehow think you've bought a Wii, then you probably needed to do a little more research before leaving the house.
  • by MECC (8478) *
    Imitation is the sincerest form of ripp off.

  • by distantbody (852269) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @10:58PM (#21228389) Journal
    ...although I think my next game system will be a Mini Polystation 3 [gizmodo.com]. Thanks Dr Ashen!!! [youtube.com]
  • "Wal-Mart is now selling an electronic LCD game in the kid's section that resembles a Wiimote so closely that even Wal-Mart employees can't tell them apart in a picture.
    You know, given the intelligence level of your average Wal-Mart employee, that latter statement isn't really saying a whole lot. Then again, much the same could be said of your average Wal-Mart consumer. A fool and his money are soon parted.
  • Wal-Mart is now selling an electronic LCD game in the kid's section that resembles a Wiimote so closely that even Wal-Mart employees can't tell them apart in a picture.

    I also saw poorly made jeans at ShopKo, and one time I bought shampoo from Wegmans that smelled just like a famous name brand but wasn't. So what? It's not like either of those chains made those goods.

    What did Wal-Mart have to do with the story other than carrying that product among tens of thousands of others? Would we be reading "Costco's Terrible Wii Knock-Offs" if the author had shopped somewhere else that day? There are lots of reasons [honeypot.net] why people don't like shopping at Wal-Mart [honeypot.net], but this is a p

  • by eagl (86459) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:05PM (#21228447) Journal
    Come on... This is wal-mart we're talking about. Who goes to wal-mart to buy *good* stuff? wal-mart is all about large quantities of cheap stuff, end of story. It's a great place to buy cheap or bulk items... I shop there all the time for generic food items and anything disposable that I need in bulk (kleenex, cleaning supplies, etc). If you want to find something really good at wal-mart, you MUST look for the exact name brand and even then you have to carefully check model numbers to make sure you're not getting a cheaper wal-mart only version. You know, the wal-mart equivalent of those crappy dell soundblasters that don't work with anything but dell drivers and which had ultra-cheap and noisy components. I had a drill like that... My Dad had one from Sears and it had a metal body, durable rubberized, grips, etc. The same drill from wal-mart (same model number but with an "a" on the end) had a plastic body and the grip cracked within a week.

    The point is, if you're going into wal-mart expecting to get high quality anything, you're either an optimist or a retard and deserve to get what you find there.
    • by lazuli42 (219080)
      That's right. Wal*Mart has nothing to offer but shit. In fact, I bought my Genuine Nintendo Wii there and it was absolute junk compared to the one my friend bought at GameStop. And the games my neighbor bought were more fun--even his copy of Zelda was more fun than mine. Dang Wal*Mart.
  • walmart employees (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pavera (320634) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:13PM (#21228505) Homepage Journal
    Well, just because walmart employees can't tell them apart doesn't mean your average 6 year old can't.

    Personally, I have no problem telling them apart and I've only seen a Wii once for about 5 minutes...

    Sure this is probably a violation of some intellectual property law or other... but aren't we always complaining about those laws and how stupid and unnecessarily restrictive they are? We defended Lindows and said "you'd have to be an idiot to confuse Lindows with Windows". Personally I'm from the camp of idiocy gets what it deserves. If you're too dumb or ignorant to tell these 2 devices apart, then you deserve to have your money taken. I know my 8 year old brother wouldn't be fooled by the knock off, so why should anyone? Or are we all willing to say that the average adult is dumber than an average 8 year old? And, if that is what we're saying HOW IS THAT OK OR ACCEPTABLE?!?
  • Foreign imports (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fmarkham (1091529) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:25PM (#21228577)
    Damn those cheap foreign knock-offs of quality American designs! Oh wait...
  • More Spin... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:34PM (#21228641) Homepage Journal
    Yea it gets you points to bash Walmart on Slashdot.
    So why is everybody posting how bad Walmart is for selling this.
    ToyQuest out of L.A is the manufacture. So where is the venom for them? Is this a Walmart exclusive? Has anyone checked to see if Sears, Target or those stupid little carts in the middle of every mall is selling them?
    I am not a huge Walmart fan but this is so slanted that it is just silly.
    Sorry folks it looks sort of like a Wiimote and costs all of $10. I don't think this is anymore of a ripe off than the toy cellphones that look like a Razer.
    Good grief.

  • Who brought the Popstation into this world
    http://groups.imeem.com/PhwrOdIK/video/q92O96zd/popstation_review/ [imeem.com]
  • ...are complete and utter crap, to the point of being unplayable. ...fake speaker on the front.

    Sounds like they really did do their homework.

  • ... underestimating the intelligence of the American buying public." is as true here as ever.

  • ...was that the real Wiimote said "Wii" on it. In damn big letters.

    Chris Mattern

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