Nintendo MotionPlus adds gyroscope to Wiimote, extra cost to the full Wii experience

Above, awkward Nintendo executives (including heartthrob Bill Trinen) show off the capabilities of the new MotionPlus-enabled Wiimote in the upcoming game Wii Sports Resort.

The new “MotionPlus” addition to the Wii will allow real 1:1 3D control, facilitating the long-awaited sword fighting games and other pseudo-virtual reality interfaces everyone had hoped the Wii could do in the first place. Kotaku grabbed the press release from InvenSense, the company who is making the guts of the new gyroscopic add-on.

Conventional MEMS gyroscopes, which are the key enabling technology that can sense absolute rotational motion inputs, are typically used in commercial automotive electronic stability control and GPS applications, where their larger size, high power consumption and costs are accommodated. InvenSense has introduced an entirely new class of high performance silicon-based MEMS rate gyroscopes that offers smaller package sizes, lower power consumption, and lower price points suitable for consumer markets. The addition of InvenSense’s multi-axis rate gyroscope solution to the Wii MotionPlus accessory allows high precision 3D tracking of rapid gaming gestures.

But the Wii was already suffering from the most expensive controllers of any current game platform — $60 for a Wiimote and nunchuck — and even with Gizmodo‘s modest estimation of an additional $15 per MotionPlus sensor (there’s going to be one bundled in the upcoming Wii Sports Resort game), the Wii will now likely be the most expensive console on the market once you factor the price of all the peripherals for four players.

A kidney punch of fun to be sure, but I’ll be there in line (a week after launch) like everyone else. If for no other reason, I want to see what IOSpirit can do with the MotionPlus controller in Remote Buddy, the OS X control interface that already works with the standard Wiimote.

And actually, now that I think about it, I only have two Wiimotes. It would be nice if Nintendo would simply release a “Wiimote Plus” that has the new gyroscopes built in.

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6 Responses to Nintendo MotionPlus adds gyroscope to Wiimote, extra cost to the full Wii experience

  1. randwolf says:

    All of InvenSense’s other devices are two-axis gyros–perhaps this one is, too. The real question in my mind is noise and accuracy; can it be used to track position for a substantial period of time or only to recognize gestures?

  2. dakotasmith says:

    Since most of my friends have their own Wii, with one or two Wiimotes, I’ve never found it my responsibility to buy four controllers.

    I’m glad, too. If I had to buy controllers to enable my friends to play, I would feel like a rube who only has friends because of his toys.

  3. randwolf says:

    Reviewing the video, it looks like a two-axis device; one axis is perpendicular to the face of the Wiimote, one is lengthwise.

  4. Felix Mitchell says:

    Their ‘banter’ is so awkward. Why do they have to pretend to have little disagreements, it’s so pathetic. And it means the lasting thought I have of the dog game is ‘The Reginator’ saying “Why would anyone want to throw a disc at a dog?”

  5. monopole says:

    What did I say? MEMS rate gyro.
    Gotta get one, while it’s expensive for a game controller, it’s dirt cheap for a 6 degree of freedom (X,Y,Z, roll, pitch, yaw) sensor w/ bluetooth and beacon tracking.
    Compare w/ the sparkfun product:
    http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8454

  6. Hyouko says:

    Most of those extra peripherals aren’t actually required for the majority of games – even Smash Bros Brawl can be played with just the basic remote. That said, it is getting slightly out of hand, and I expect that they will start integrating the MotionPlus into future remotes.

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