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Nintendo Businesses Entertainment Games

Nintendo Unveils Wii MotionPlus 299

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the out-to-spoil-someone's-day dept.
Tim MacDonald writes "In a pre-conference announcement at E3, Nintendo has unveiled the newest accessory for the Nintendo Wii — the Wii MotionPlus. The Wii MotionPlus combines with the Wiimote's accelerometers and the Sensor Bar to give true, almost 1:1 matching of motion. More to come during Tuesday's conference." If all these battery mods and add-ons to the Wiimote continue my controller is going to start looking less like a controller and more like a quarterstaff. Looks like the wrist strap is going to have to go through another round of beefing up.
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Nintendo Unveils Wii MotionPlus

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  • Next... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Adriax (746043) on Monday July 14, 2008 @03:32PM (#24185665)

    So when's the WiiSuit going to be announced? Stick accelerometers and IR sensors all over a bodysuit and track entire body movement.

  • Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dunezone (899268) on Monday July 14, 2008 @03:33PM (#24185677) Journal
    Ive owned a Wii since launch and not because I enjoy it but because its been a thing of my life to own the major Nintendo consoles on release. The current motion sensing is pretty bad, it flinches alot, it jumps around, it felt added on. If they seriously have improved on this and its a true 1:1 then maybe ill dust off the Wii again otherwise ill go back to another button smashing controller.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dontPanik (1296779)

      The current motion sensing is pretty bad, it flinches alot, it jumps around, it felt added on

      I've been pretty happy with it, sometimes the bar won't be set up right or the batteries will run low, but when everything is working like it's supposed to, it is fine.

      I think the problem is that developers are still learning how to use it well. Example: Red Steel was so hard to control, and not really fun becuase they couldn't harness the motion sensor well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bombula (670389)
      I've only tried the Wii once for a few minutes, and it seemed to be reasonably accurate and fluid - I didn't notice jerkiness or jumping around. However, I did notice what seemed like significant lag in the games we tried. Maybe that was a feature, since in some circumstances you it would be unrealistic for the character to - say - bowl a bowling ball as fast as you can flick your wrist. But with the golf and baseball games we tried, there was a huge lag on the swing. I wanted to love it, and it was def
    • Same. But you have to admit that there are a lot of other games that don't use the motion controls and are great games. For example Super Smash Bros. Brawl comes to mind.
    • Agreed, this should have been there from the beginning. In fact, it's the reason I don't own a Wii. With this, maybe. Of course, they blew it the first time, so I'll have to do plenty of playtesting before I call the problem solved.

    • Re:Finally (Score:4, Informative)

      by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @04:29PM (#24186697) Homepage Journal

      The current motion sensing is pretty bad, it flinches alot, it jumps around, it felt added on.

      I've had the exact opposite experience with Resident Evil 4 and Metroid Prime Hunters, both of which felt immediately responsive and accurate. Maybe you got a bad unit or controller?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by digitrev (989335)
        I think you mean Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Metroid Prime Hunters was a terrible attempt at a DS game, and made me want to kill kittens.
    • Re:Finally (Score:5, Informative)

      by Odin's Raven (145278) on Monday July 14, 2008 @04:29PM (#24186703)

      The current motion sensing is pretty bad, it flinches alot, it jumps around, it felt added on.

      Also been there, seen that. If you want to go dust off your Wii and try again, here's what worked for me (FWIW). Go to the sensor sensitivity section of the Wii setup menus. Slowly move your Wiimote around to cover the entire area near the TV, and watch for stray dots/blotches/etc on the sensor display. Two dots from the sensor bar are normal, but you may see more dots if there are other light sources within your Wiimote's field of view - the primary culprits I've encountered have been lamps and direct sunlight leaking between/around curtains near the TV. Things like that can cause nasty flinching/jumping if the Wii mistakes the lamp/sun/etc for one of the sensor bar light sources. (If you play with a group of people remember to move to each person's playing position and sweep the Wiimote around - a lamp that's behind you during solo play might end up in someone else's field of view after everyone's spread out in an arc in front of the TV.)

      And of course if you've never been on this screen before, it's a good time to check your sensitivity settings - if the sensitivity is dialed down too low and you play far enough back from the TV, the Wiimote might be constantly gaining and then losing track of the sensor bar.

      • Re:Finally (Score:5, Informative)

        by Toonol (1057698) on Monday July 14, 2008 @04:54PM (#24187201)
        Just to add to the parent post, here's something that I've noticed affected two different Wii setups:

        If your cursor is continuously jumping by very small amounts, flickering up and down just an inch or two, the two IR LEDs might be reflecting off the coffee table, entertainment center, or whatever the sensor bar is resting on. Make sure it's resting on a non-reflective, non-glossy surface... or move it out to the edge, so there is nothing to reflect off of.
      • Re:Finally (Score:5, Informative)

        by Turken (139591) on Monday July 14, 2008 @05:04PM (#24187337)

        Also, don't forget to check for reflections of said IR light sources. Glass-top coffee tables are commonly found in living room setups between couch and TV, and they can easily confuse the wii remotes as they reflect the sensor bar IR lights. I've "fixed" a few friends' wiis for them just by moving/covering their coffee table. Also have encountered problems with strong lights behind the player reflecting off the front of the TV.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HalAtWork (926717)
      I think it works spot-on for quite a bunch of games, just a few where it works pretty flawlessly:

      Excite Truck
      Boom Blox
      Geometry Wars
      Medal of Honor Heroes 2
      Trauma Center
      Wario Ware: Smooth Moves
      Metroid Prime 3
      Resident Evil 4
      Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles
      No More Heroes
      Endless Ocean
      Super Mario Galaxy
      Wii Sports
      Elebits
      Super Monkey Ball

      The above post is just an exaggeration, there are plenty of games that work really well for what they are. I think a lot of people have an image in their min
  • Hardware Update (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bjackson1 (953136) on Monday July 14, 2008 @03:34PM (#24185697)

    This reminds me of the extra 4Mb of RAM you had to purchase for the N64 to run the more advanced games. It should have come with it in the first place. I wonder if it will come bundled with the first games that require it, as they did with Starfox 64 and the rumble pack.

    Either way, it'd be cool to use this so Red Steel works the way they advertised it.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      The expansion pack was included with Donkey Kong Country 64, BTW. But yeah, they should have just shipped the unit with 8mb of RAM. A lot more games would have used it that way. IIRC, only 4 games used the expansion pack at all.

      • IIRC, only 4 games used the expansion pack at all.

        Not exactly correct. 2 required it, 2 had needed it for major features and all the rest [wikipedia.org].

    • by Khaed (544779)

      This is coming out almost two years after the console was released; maybe there's a reason it didn't come with it in the first place.

      As for the N64, I think by the time the RAM upgrade was being used, the life of the system was almost out. I ended up with one game that needed it.

    • I think nintendo's choice to leave the 4MB ram upgrade chip out of the original N64 was to make the console as cheap as possible, knowing that most developers wouldn't be using it. Another consideration was that their original game development equipment wasn't using it.

      Today 4MB is worthless but back then it was an expensive bit of hardware.

    • "This reminds me of the extra 4Mb of RAM you had to purchase for the N64 to run the more advanced games. It should have come with it in the first place."

      Ah, but here's where it gets fun. What would have happened to the N64 if it had launched at $349?

  • my controller is going to start looking less like a controller and more like a quarterstaff.

    The prophecy cometh... [youtube.com]

  • Whats the point? (Score:3, Informative)

    by warrior_s (881715) * <kindle3@BLUEgmail.com minus berry> on Monday July 14, 2008 @03:34PM (#24185723) Homepage Journal
    Whats the point in releasing new accessories when there are not enough Wii's available even after the console is more than an year old?
    I know I can get it from ebay and all, but I want it for $250 which is the advertised prize.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pembo13 (770295)
      I've seen them 6 or more at Walmart. So they are being produced. Since Nintendo doesn't seem to have a replicating device, I expect that they can only produce so many at a time.
    • It took some effort for me to get one a month or two ago. At the time, though, I was told that the release of WiiFit was the cause, and that stock was decent a couple months earlier. It might be better by now.
    • What happens is that people buy them on eBay, so the people who sell them scoop up the local sales. If they don't sell, they return them to the store unopened for full credit. It's completely risk-free for the middlemen.

      That's why it's hard to find one.

      As for getting one without going to eBay, that's easy. The trick is to get there when the store opens. They will usually be able to tell you when a shipment is expected. "Oh, we've got 8 in the back for tomorrow. Before you ask, no, we won't sell them before

  • by merrickm (1192625) on Monday July 14, 2008 @03:35PM (#24185729)
    Then any reason homebrew drivers couldn't be written to use it for sculpting in a 3d modeling program?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      "Then any reason homebrew drivers couldn't be written to use it for sculpting in a 3d modeling program?"
      Well you could, but you could also get one of half a dozen 3d mice that will work a lot better then the Wii mote.
  • by AbsoluteXyro (1048620) on Monday July 14, 2008 @03:35PM (#24185739)
    Nintendo must have a game in mind with this peripheral, otherwise I don't see why they would bother (unless MS or Sony are planning on unveiling waggle controllers that outperform the Wii Remote... which so far doesn't appear to be the case). Interestingly, Miyamoto has said that Twilight Princess would be the final Zelda game to play like it's forebears, and it is true that Nintendo has been experimenting with a first person Zelda design for some time (part of which became Link's Crossbow Training). With this new 1:1 motion capability, perfect for sword fighting one would assume, I'm lead to believe we may be looking at a major announcement of an all new Zelda title. Then again, it might just be for Wii Sports 2.
    • by 0racle (667029) on Monday July 14, 2008 @03:42PM (#24185843)
      One word: Lightsaber.
      • by rpillala (583965)

        Two more words: Soul Calibur.

        Actually, I wish it were for soul calibur but it does not seem likely. Sad that the best fighting game can't adapt to a controller that allows you to do more moves.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mzs (595629)

      Or for twilight princess, hear me out for the side benefit.

      Right now people are using special save files for Twilight Princess to install homebrew. Nintendo created a system update that deletes certain Twilight princess save files to try and thwart that. Only days later there was a work around.

      The way that Nintendo would like to address this would be to update the Twilight Princess game so that this buffer overflow bug would be fixed. There was a software update in the past that lets the Disc Channel check

      • The homebrew people, they will need to find another exploit.

        And honestly, that would be a small inconvenience. These buffer overflows are probobly found in just about every Wii game, however, at that time just about everyone had Zelda, so it was an ideal game to work with.


        And it would be nearly impossible to upgrade Zelda in the way mentioned without making new disks. First off the patch alone would eat up a large portion of the Wii's pathetic 512 MB memory, and I don't even know if the disk can access the OS enough to use the patch.

        • As someone involved with Wii homebrew and hacking, honestly, that sort of patch isn't going to happen.

          They can patch the game binary, but they can't patch game data without patching the binary to read data from elsewhere. Both patches would be very invasive. Nevermind the fact that the wii currently does not have an obvious place for this repository of patches.

          Unless the game already comes with built-in upgrade/downloadable content features, Nintendo is probably not going to bother hacking up an update.

    • I don't think it's necessarily the case that they have a game in mind. It could have been that many developers have come to them saying, "Look, we want to develop cool games for your console, and the motion-sensing thing is great and all, but we're finding it too inaccurate to do the things we want to do. Can you fix that?"
  • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @03:38PM (#24185795)

    Actually it's a buck and a quarter quarterstaff, but I'm not telling him that.

  • Nintendo used to have the Glove game controller on the original 8-bit NES system.

    I wonder if the end-game is to embed sensors into something with the same textile properties of a baseball batting glove and add a small battery/transmitter to a bracelet/wristwatch. I would imagine that the ability to produce a game for a platform where the controller is that advanced would finally make it possible for realistic artificial reality games that we all imagined 10-15 years ago.

    And the could still sell them f

    • by oahazmatt (868057)

      Actually, Nintendo didn't make the Power Glove. Mattel did. Nintendo said it was licensed but never assisted in the design in anyway.

      And once the novelty wore off, it was a pretty 'meh' device. Good idea, so-so implementation, wrong time.

  • Gyroscope? Second accelerometer at a different orientation than the one in the wiimote? The article doesn't say anything except that it apparently exists.
  • From TFA: "unmatched level of precision and immersion. Every slight movement players make with their wrist or arm is rendered identically in real time on the screen"

    Sounds like time for some ungodly wii porn then.

  • With more accurate motion sensing capabilities, my wiimote based shoulder fired missiles should be capable of hitting within 5 feet of the target! A major improvement of the 30 feet of the target I get now.
  • Accessory? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by readin (838620) on Monday July 14, 2008 @03:48PM (#24185953)
    One of my complaints when I first tried the Wii is that it doesn't match motion well. I assumed that over time the technology would get better and they would start making better controllers? So I hope this will become a standard part of newly manufactured Wii consoles rather than a way of nickel and diming people by first making them pay for the console then pay again for controllers that work. ~~~~
  • "did Nintendo just splinter its user base" ? Seriously? The supposed hard core has been upset that they can't get 1:1 motion since launch. They are also the ones most likely to purchase (good) peripherals. And yet, the day of the announcement talk of splintering the user base is up already?
    • I think it's a valid question. The question is (I think), "If a developer chooses to develop a game that supports this peripheral, will they be locking out the portion of the user base that hasn't bought this peripheral?"

      Because part of the benefit to developers of developing for a console is a userbase with set system specifications that allow you to develop for a wide customer base without complications. Adding peripherals tends to introduce the sort of complications that are trying to be avoided.

      Of c

  • A good add-on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lpangelrob (714473) on Monday July 14, 2008 @03:54PM (#24186071)

    Having played with the Wii for a year and change now, I can say that with regard to motion, the Wiimote seems to be good at detecting motion in the middle of its range, but lacking at the ends of the range.

    Case in point: putting in Wii Golf. The learning curve for putting is fairly steep, and sometimes the game got confused with such low velocities. The MotionPlus should help that.

    What will be interesting is what happens with actual swordfighting. If you complete a sword swing, but your opponent blocks it, the game will have to resolve the situation by... what? It's not an impossible problem, but it'll still be something new to get used to.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Monday July 14, 2008 @04:07PM (#24186307) Journal

      "What will be interesting is what happens with actual swordfighting. If you complete a sword swing, but your opponent blocks it, the game will have to resolve the situation by... what? It's not an impossible problem, but it'll still be something new to get used to."

      If it's the new Lightsaber game then maybe it'll use force feedback. HAHAHA get it "force feedback" You know, like the force. Lightsabers are from the movie series "Star Wars" where they used a magical power called the force, and controllers that simulate resistance are called "force feedback controllers," and the only way to get that feed back in a free form controller such as the one the wii uses would be through a magical effect such as "the force." It's funny mainly because I took this much time to explain it or not.

      • Re:A good add-on (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrun@noSPAm.gmail.com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @04:50PM (#24187123) Journal

        It goes beyond 'simulating resistance' to 'the onscreen avatar is subject to forces that you, the physical human, are not.'

        A simple example: You, as a person holding a wii-saber, make a sideways cut. From your perspective, it's rather like a baseball swing; your right shoulder to your left shoulder.

        Your on-screen opponent, however, does a very nice twirly parry of your blade, carrying it aabove your right shoulder.

        So, now you are physically holding your wii-saber, two-handed, past your left shoulder. Your onscreen avatar is hoding his wii-saber, two handed, above it's right shoulder. How to reconcile?

    • Having played with the Wii for a year and change now, I can say that with regard to motion, the Wiimote seems to be good at detecting motion in the middle of its range, but lacking at the ends of the range.

      Case in point: putting in Wii Golf. The learning curve for putting is fairly steep, and sometimes the game got confused with such low velocities. The MotionPlus should help that.

      Yeah, I've noticed this too. Putting in golf is a good example of it failing to deal with slow motions well, but I've also seen it in boxing with fast motions. Lots of first-time boxers throw fast punches hoping their character will throw and equally fast punch. However, an actual fast punch seems to be too quick for the Wiimote, and it ends up with the character not punching at all.

      • by cowscows (103644)

        I've wondered if that limitation in the boxing was more to do with the wiimote itself, or something that they just coded into the game to make that wild flailing less effective. You certainly couldn't really fight effectively like that, your punches would have nothing behind them.

        • I doubt it. For one thing, it does seem to be a problem with the Wiimote itself. I've seen it in a few instances where moving too fast causes it to misread the motion. But also, if it were to encourage people to "fight effectively" then they failed. Turns out that the best method for Wii boxing is to not throw punches at all, but instead flick your wrists-- but not too fast.
    • Re:A good add-on (Score:5, Interesting)

      by alvinrod (889928) on Monday July 14, 2008 @05:07PM (#24187377)

      There was a lot of discussion about this when the Wii's controller was first unveiled. The best explanation that I read is that the control would play a sound signifying two blades crossing, letting you know to stop your swing and to draw the remote back. Until then, it would just treat your virtual sword as though the blow had been deflected or as though it had glanced off until the remote is returned to some neutral position and the virtual sword is ready to be swung again. Eventually you would train your own body to act as your own force feedback mechanism as you become better at reacting to the visual and audio cues from the game. If you continue to wildly flail about the game simply leaves your virtual self open to attack and you die.

      Of course everything was speculative at the time and the Wii controller didn't seem as though it had the precision for something like this when the system initially launched, but if the improvements are as good as they're being hyped-up to be, then I suppose it's possible for someone to implement a good sword fighting game, but anything I've played on the console up until now has been a serious disappointment.

      There are probably a few other ways to implement a good system, but short of this new gadget having some inertia-defying properties as well, I haven't heard of anything else that was likely to work any better.

  • Another Nintendo accessory that will be completely unavailable to those unwilling to wait in long lines.

    Seriously, when will Nintendo outsource some production?

    • by Pitr (33016)

      Are you kidding me? They do outsource their production. Pretty much all of it actually. Their stuff is just that popular. Look at the sales figures, they out pace the sales of everything else, unless you count baseball cards and chewing gum.

      http://www.vgchartz.com/ [vgchartz.com]

  • by Cocoa Radix (983980) on Monday July 14, 2008 @04:22PM (#24186563) Homepage

    I have always loved Nintendo's work, but the whole peripherals thing is getting to be ridiculous. I remember when Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles was released on the Gamecube, and to take full advantage of the (actually quite fun) multiplayer required four Gameboy Advance systems and four GBA to GCN connector cables (hundreds of dollars altogether). The same thing happened with The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures.

    I remember a lot of people complaining about the GCN's dependency on other Nintendo products: I thought that the Wii would address these concerns. Instead, a fully-equipped Wii has four remotes (this is fine), four nunchuk attachments (the fact that they must be purchased separately is annoying), two classic controllers, Wii Wheels, Wii Zappers, the Wii Balance Board, and now four new motion-enhancing attachments.

    The only way to justify owning this ridiculous amount of white plastic would be for each peripheral to be supported by a pretty solid library of games. Instead, we see a mere handful of low-quality games making halfhearted use of them. Or (and God forbid we see more of this), we see games eschewing everything that makes the Wii unique to make use of good old GCN controllers (more plastic to keep on hand). Honestly, the classic controller is the most useful peripheral right now because it works wonderfully with most of the Virtual Console titles.

    All that said, however, I still feel the need for the motion controls to be improved. They have a tendency to be very twitchy and inaccurate, even in some of the bigger games (I noticed a fair amount of this in Super Mario Galaxy). It will be interesting to see how much these new add-ons will help the issue.

    What I'd really like to see instead of more and more tangible objects that I can plug into my Wii remote are games that make interesting, fun, and intelligent use of the already existing systems. There's a ton of potential for the hardware, and I'd love to see it really take off.

    • Technically, the balance board takes the place of the 4th controller.

      I agree that it was rather disappointing to have to buy a second controller and nunchuck, then have only the ability to play 2 players.

      Furthermore, Smash, one of the most anticipated titles on the console, isn't even a Wii game. Motion control is optional.

      They've got to get some better titles. I'd like to see a real FF game and something in the vein of Gran Turismo. NFS, brought to you by Nokia, Pepsi, and Firestone, doesn't even come clos

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Monday July 14, 2008 @04:42PM (#24186999) Homepage Journal

    Since the Wiimote uses Bluetooth to communicate with the Wii, it can be used with a PC. There is some software that takes advantage of it, though if you are interested there is http://www.wiili.org/ [wiili.org] . The site documents the Wiimote communication protocol and lists some drivers available for the Linux, Windows, MacOS X and Java.

    I wonder whether the intention of using Bluetooth was to use off the shelf equipment for the Wii, to facilitate development for it or even a bit of both?

  • How does it work? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gaggle (206502)

    How does that quote go, "When facts are few, speculations are most likely to represent individual psychology"?

    When the original Wiimote was announced we all dreamed of the wonderful things it would do. We'd finally have lightsaber games and true-to-life shooters and all that, because it could somehow tell what you were doing!

    But that wasn't the case. It don't actually do swordfighting in any real capacity. And I don't say that to diminish what Nintendo did, I love the system and in fact the Wiimote's simpli

  • I own a Wii, it's tremendous fun but the accuracy of the wiimote seems to be lacking. For example, when playing Wii Sports boxing, the motion understanding can be quite erratic. I've never been able to figure out which motion corresponds to which punch your avatar performs, and its actions don't seem to be very repeatable.

    Does everyone else have this sort of experience?

    Regardless, I think this add-on might be very good for all future wii games if they can have more accurate controllers.

  • by gfxguy (98788)

    I still can't even get the Wii Fit I promised my wife for Mother's Day.

  • Golf (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crossmr (957846) on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:48PM (#24190501) Journal

    Does this mean I can make short puts in Wii Golf now? One of the most annoying things of any of the motion controlled games was having to make small movements if a situation arose and the controller not quite responding to it. You could sit there moving the wiimote a good 6-7 inches and it would act like you hadn't even moved it. Move it more and it was like you were hammering it. I tried a 6 inch putt once and almost drove it back to the tee.

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