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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wii Fit [Directly To] U!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - "Our bodies are sufficiently ready."

Wii Fit Trainer is certainly making herself feel very welcome among the elite Nintendo cast that will be in Super Smash Bros. 4, starting off a new Wii Fit U-themed direct and taking Satoru Iwata's AND Reggie Fils-Aime's catch-phrases. Notice how the male Wii Fit Trainer is nowhere to be found, too. See the Direct below... if you want. I really don't care about Wii Fit U (I do own Wii Fit though, and have been doing nothing with the Wii Balance Board.), but I DO care about the new business implications revealed (directly) by the... Nintendo Direct.

To my knowledge this wasn't broadcasted live so no KOOPATV LIVE BLOG article for this.

Eventually, Reggie appears and discusses Wii Fit U's pricing. There will be a one-month full free version of Wii Fit U between November 1 and January 31 (a three-month period) on the eShop. (Obviously you'll already need a Wii Balance Board to actually play the game. Interesting how Nintendo's accessories strategy is conflicting with their downloadable titles strategy!)

If you download this trial version AND buy a "Fit Meter" (think highly advanced Pokéwalker that doesn't make you feel awesome wearing it) at whatever retailers would stock it, you get to extend your one-month trial to... FOREVER. And the "Fit Meter" is only $19.99. Reggie pretty much trashes the Basic Wii U SKU's limited file space, which synergizes with Nintendo phasing out the Basic Wii U.

Now the most important thing about the Wii Fit U Direct isn't actually Wii Fit U, but the follow-up announcement: Wii Sports Club. It's a remake of Wii Sports with online multiplayer and Wii Motion Plus technology. No GamePad gameplay support in sight, though, which makes one wonder what the GamePad is for.

But let's skip over those implications and pay attention to the pricing. It's available as a downloadable title starting November 7, with each sport of the five available as an individual purchase for $10. This is Nintendo's "Foray Into Free-To-Play" idea I wrote about earlier. There is also another purchase method deemed the "Day Pass" where you get access to the whole game for 24 real-time hours for $2.

In the "Foray Into Free-To-Play" article I wrote about the Nintendo-developed Japanese-only game Darumeshi Sports Store (coincidentally also sports-themed?) which also had the concept of being able to purchase individual parts of the game, with the price of all parts combined being equivalent to the MSRP of a normal retail purchase. Obviously the pricing concept for this niche title proved to be compelling enough for Nintendo to use it for a much more mainstream game. Those baby steps I mentioned at the end? They're becoming a bit larger!

And the "Nintendo Difference" that must be maintained? The "Day Pass". Depending on the person, it'll be much cheaper to keep using the "Day Pass" option to get the full experience one would want from Wii Sports Club. The value from either option is subjective and consumers should be aware of their own playing habits before selecting one.

And whichever is picked more? That provides invaluable consumer data for Nintendo to decide on future innovative pricing schemes. And that's creating value for both the consumer and the company — Nintendo is getting paid to conduct market research! Unless Wii Sports Club bombs. Then there might be no hope for the Wii U.

Ludwig is a game developer, a blogger, and a businessman. He knows what he's talking about. Comment here on KoopaTV or at Miiverse at Nintendo Network ID PrinceOfKoopas!

Iwata discusses this later. Ludwig analyzes Nintendo's pricing philosophy here.

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