Nintendo plans to release its new MotionPlus motion-sensing game controller for Wii console on the 8th of June, in time for holidays. The new controller should enable new precision of motion sensing as well as new class of games, but some developers claim that in certain cases the new controller is too responsive.
The Wii MotionPlus is plugged to the bottom of Wiimote controller and, combined with the accelerometer and the sensor bar, allows for more comprehensive tracking of a player’s arm position and orientation. For example, in the new Wii Sports Resort game the ability to throw a disc through the air and control the angle of flight is now possible. The controller is based on IDG-600 multi-axis MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) rate gyroscope by InvenSense company, a specialist in motion sensing solutions for various applications.
MEMS offers miniaturized sensing solutions to meet the ideal performance, size and cost requirements of consumer applications. A key advantage of MEMS technology, as compared to its quartz and piezo-ceramic counterparts, is its ability to incorporate 3D mechanical features directly into single crystal silicon substrates while easily and cost effectively integrating it with CMOS electronics. InvenSense pioneered its patented manufacturing platform, known as Nasiri-Fabrication, which enabled the company to bring the world’s first and smallest integrated multi-axis gyroscopes to consumer products. Using Nasiri-Fabrication allows for the integration of MEMS and CMOS structures at the wafer level with a proprietary bonding technology resulting in several thousand gyroscopes simultaneously produced on a single wafer.
While the new controller is impressive, its development was a surprise for video game developers and even Nintendo’s own Sports Resort has been delayed by over half a year. In fact, actual users will only be able to enjoy the new controller with a Nintendo own title on July 26, when Nintendo launches its Sports Resort video game. Until that, Electronic Arts is projected to reveal two titles taking advantage of MotionPlus.
Game developers from EA are pretty impressed with the new accessory, but they claim that in some cases the novelty is too responsive, which may be a reason why it takes relatively long time to create a Wii MotionPlus-supporting title.
“It truly is giving you that one-to-one control movement of your arm motion and then mapping it directly to that one-to-one movement of your character on screen. At times it's overly responsive. It had so much fidelity that at times we have limited that fidelity to make it a compelling experience and giving you full total control,” said Tom Singleton, a video game producer from Electronic Arts in an interview with TechRadar web-site.
Wii MotionPlus accessory will be offered at an manufacturer suggested retail price of $19.99; Wii Sports Resort and Wii MotionPlus will be offered together at an MSRP of $49.99.