Video Game News

Wii U Fitness Games Announced at E3 2012

When I first heard and wrote about the sequel to the Wii, the Wii U, I was admittedly a little concerned that it perhaps spelled the end of active gaming on the Wii. After all, all the hype seemed to be about the “second screen controller”.

At the E3 Conference yesterday, Nintendo’s Chief Operations Officer Regi Fils-Aime made the big announcement of the games that will be launching with the Wii U. And happily, while a lot of emphasis was certainly placed on the new touchscreen controller, they made perfectly clear that Wii Fitness will still have a nice home in the Wii U.

The most exciting news was the announcement of Wii Fit U.

As you can see in the video, the Wii Balance Board is back and will still be supported in a big way. There will be a number of brand new balance games that look as fun and creative as the original games for the Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus. Note in the video how the new touchscreen controller can be used as a screen to show stats, can be used to extend the game play, or can even be used to free up the TV so that one person can work out and the other can watch a show. Granted, these games don’t look like they’ll have huge cardio impact, just like the current set of Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus games (seriously, if that dude was winded after playing that little fire hose game, he must be in really, really bad shape). But still, they do look just as creative and fun.

Another cool new feature will be the inclusion of a “Fit Meter”, a keychain-sized accessory that you can wear during the game and even outside the game to count all the calories you burn during the day. The device fits in the palm of your hand and includes a pedometer (for counting your steps), an altimeter (for determining the inclines you go up and down) and even an atmospheric pressure sensor (which calculates where you are relative to sea level, so folks up in the mountains will get more “credit” for their workouts than folks at sea level).

fit meter wii u

After a day of working out, you take your Fit Meter and oint it at the Wii U’s infared sensor. The Wii U will tell you how many calories you’ve burned, and will even give you a chart detailing your activity.

wii u fit meter

In this way, you can actually make your whole day into a game, comparing how many calories your burn with friends and family during the day and during your non-Wii workouts. The inclusion of the Fit Meter sounds like Nintendo’s version of Nike+ for Kinect. It’ll be interesting to see which one is more accurate and more easy to use. Once both are released, I’ll plan on doing a side-by-side comparison.

From their respective launch videos, it actually looks like the Wii U version is going to be a lot more creative than the Kinect version (which seems to be just the kind of calethenics we saw already in EA Sports Active 2 and Your Shape).

In other Wii Fitness game news, as expected Ubisoft announced Just Dance 4 and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013.

Just Dance 4 looks like it’ll also have really creative use of the new controller. Among other things will be “puppet master mode”, where players will be able to choreograph dances on-the-fly on the touchscreen controller, which the player dancing to the TV will have to match.

Your Shape on the Wii looks like it finally caught up with the Xbox version, with better graphics. On top of this, it looks like it’ll have the kind of social integration on the Web that EA tried and failed to do. And on top of this, it’ll use the second screen controller as well to show session information.

Somewhat overshadowed by the news above, Majesco also announced an upgrade to its popular Zumba series of games with Zumba Fitness Core. So far it doesn’t appear that the new controller will be used and that they’ll just be adding additional dances and music. There will also be additional fitness features that will work out more of the body, although details are still scant.

On the subject of EA Sports, I think it’s probably safe to say that Sports Active is either dead or will be hibernating for a long, long time, so EA has effectively given up its leadership in that space without a fight. With Adidas coming out with offerings for the PS3 and Xbox; Nike coming out with offerings for the Xbox; and Nintendo coming out with offerings for the Wii U, it looks like we have a bunch of new players in town to vie for the title of video fitness game champion. I, for one, can’t wait to try them out!

What is the release date for Wii U and all these goodies? Nintendo is saying an amorphous “Holiday 2012”, likely because they’re been burned so many times in the past giving a specific date. Be sure to join us on Facebook or Twitter to hear the latest!

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