Saturday, January 31, 2015
Wii Can't Do That: The Short-Lived, Oft-forgotten Demise of the Wii Vitality Sensor
You might be asking, what did it do? Whale oil, beef-hooked; I don't know in the slightest, and I'm sure pretty much everybody else is in the same boat. It's basically a pulse oximeter. For all of you uneducated in the art of medical equipment (like me!), here's the quick run-down, hot-shot: "It tests the beep-beep in your pumpy heart." It would've allegedly been used during play sessions to indicate changes in pulse and heartbeat, and could've possibly been used for creating relaxing games and, God forbid, could send data to horror games to mess with you like a test patient. A neat and original concept, sure, but why was it cancelled exactly?
Quick history lesson, kiddos:
June 2nd, 2009: A great day for all video game fans, today was the second day of E3 2009. On one front was Sony, accompanied by Hideo (Freaking) Kojima and CEO of Sony, Kazuo Hirai. They brought the PSP Go to the table, alongside their "revolutionary" Playstation Move, "nothing like you've ever seen before!" On a related tangent, I have had a PS3 for four years and I've never used 'em as anything but a stress ball. I swear, those balls on the top might as well be ergonomically-designed for all I care.
Moving on, they also showed of such games as MGS: Peace Walker and Uncharted 2, as well as (and most notably) the cursed The Last Guardian, which is still "in development".
Moving over to Nintnedo's front, they showed off such titles as NSMBWii, Super Mario Galaxy 2 (in white-person speak, yassss), WarioWare D.I.Y., Bowser's Inside Story, and, after the conference, some concept art for Skyward Sword, which would come out in "2010". (It came out in mid-fall of 2011.)
They also, for the first time, announced the Wii Vitality Sensor. It wasn't much of a talking point, though, and seemed like more of a sidenote.
July 31st, 2009: The San Jose Mercury News interviews Miyamoto, with one question regarding widespread skepticism regarding the product. Stated Miyamoto, "Ideally we would have been able to talk about this in terms of the software implementation rather than just the sensor itself. I don't have any indication for you (of what we have in the works) other than to say that we have lots of very creative ideas."
May 17th, 2010: Nintendo and the American Heart Association are scheduled to host an event. It's speculated that it regards the WVS. (Unforunately, I couldn't find any word on how that all panned out.)
June 15th, 2010: E3 2010 came and went for Nintnedo. It was, admittedly, as impressive and pristine s it should be, showing off, most significantly, the amazing new Nintnedo 3DS, their next big project following the success of the Revolution. They had announced that they would show off some of the games that the Vitality Sensor utilized, but that never happened. Everything on the WVS front was virtually quiet. It isn't known why, but some speculate it was because of a related product that Ubisoft had just released the night before. Ubisoft? More like U-gotta-be-kiddin'-me-Soft. Yes, folks, I'm here all night.
June 18th, 2010: GameSetWatch interviews Nintendo EVP of sales and marketing Cammie Dunaway, with one question regarding the Wii Vitality Sensor. "As we thought about what we wanted to bring to E3, we realized we had a really packed agenda. We also thought about the atmosphere at E3 which is noisy and adrenaline-filled, and loud and stressful, and it just didn't seem like the best environment to introduce a product that's really about relaxing," stated Dunaway, "so we decided we'd think about other venues that would be more appropriate."
Early October, 2010: A patent for the Wii Vitality Sensor is unearthed. (See image above.) By playing minigames, such as tilting a Wiimote to navigate a winding path, your avatar will have an increase in "relax fluid". It's definitely an interesting read, and it seems to indicate some hope about the product's release.
November 2010 to July 2013: Well, f*ck. Never mind then.
July 5th, 2013: In a press release, Satoru Iwata puts the nail in the coffin when asked about the now almost completely forgotten sensor. "We have not been able to launch it as a commercial product because we could not get it to work as we expected and it was of narrower application than we had originally thought." Stated Iwata. After testing, he concluded that it worked on 90 out of 100 test subjects. He claimed he would not be satisfied with it until it worked on "1000 out of 1000 people". Thus, the whole project was completely scrapped.
July 2013 to January 30th, 2015: What the actual f*ck is a Wii Vitality Sensor?
January 31st, 2015: Super sexy and incredibly intelligent blogger "Matthew Person" publishes an article on the Wii Vitality sensor stating as follows:
"Who remembers the Wii? (everybody raises hand) Of course you did. Now, out of all of you, who remembers some of the peripherals? The Classic Controller? (No change) The Wii Zapper? (Two people lower hands) The Wii Speak? (Twenty people lower hands) Lastly, what about the Wii Vitality Sensor? (All but two people lower hands) Well, your a bloody liar and a traitor, of course you don't remember it."
Just kidding, I'm not throwing you back into all of that again.