Free Trial of Wii Fit U for Wii Balance Board Owners, plus new fitness game developments from Nintendo
Looks like Nintendo really, really wants those of us with a Wii U and a Balance Board to try out Wii Fit U, which FINALLY looks like it has a release date (actually, more like three of them).
On Friday, November 1, Nintendo is going to release a “free digital version” on the Nintendo eShop. The game will be good for 31 days after you download and first play it. It’ll be a limited-feature version of the game; for example, it won’t support the Fit Meter until you unlock it (see below).
The Fit Meter is essentially Nintendo’s version of a Fitbit that will integrate with the Wii to track your calories burned throughout the day and while playing Wii Fit U. The Fit Meter is something you carry around with you that measures your steps, movement intensity, and altitude (i.e., climbing stairs, climbing a mountain, etc.). It’s available in black, red, and green starting on November 1.
On Friday, December 13, Nintendo will launch the “packaged version”, which will include the Wii Fit U, the Fit Meter, and a Balance Board, for those who don’t already own a Balance Board.
For those who do, and prefer physical software to downloadable, they’ll have a version that includes the software and the Fit Meter.
Here’s a deal that sounds almost too good to be true: if you already have a Balance Board, and install the free version between November 1, 2013 and January 31, 2014, then whenever you purchase the Fit Meter by itself for $19.99 and start using it, that’ll unlock the game you’ll get to continue using it for free forever (it won’t be disabled after 31 days). I presume this means it’ll also unlock the Fit Meter capabilities of the game at that point, turning the free trial version into a full version (the downloadable version of the full game goes for sale at full price on February 1, 2014 once the promotion period is over).
Wii Fit U looks really, really promising. There are 77 different activities, including 19 new training activities, some of which take advantage of the Wii U gamepad.
There’s also the ability to set up “gym communities” where you can work out and share goals with friends and family.
The Fit Meter also looks like it’ll be pretty cool. It’s much more than a pedometer. It’ll track your activity through the day, including your level of exertion at any given time, as well as your altitude. When you sync it to Wii Fit U through your Gamepad, you’ll see a graph of your daily activity. There’s a pretty slick demo of it if you watch through Nintendo’s announcement video.
Bottom line, I think anyone with a Wii U and an old Wii Balance Board should jump at the chance to download the Wii Fit U free trial and buy a Fit Meter if they can find one on November 1 (I don’t see preorders yet on any of the usual sites, but I’ll post them once I do).
Nintendo’s press release also mentioned two other cool games that might just help Wii Fit U breathe new life into the Wii U as an fitness platform.
The first game is an updated of Wii Sports called “Wii Sports Club”. This will be exclusively downloadable via the Wii U eShop, and will support not just the higher resolution graphics of the Wii U, but also online multiplayer and much more precise controls than the original Wii Sports. It’s the same set of sports as Wii Sports (bowling, tennis, baseball, foxing, and golf), and you’ll only be able to buy one sport at a time. Only bowling and tennis will be available on launch date (first week of November), and other sports will be coming later. There will be two pricing options: each sport will cost $9.99 to buy permanently, or you can buy a “one-day pass” to unlock all sports for unlimited play for 24 hours for $1.99. While some may scoff at the thought of paying for a 5 year-old game, I have a feeling that the ability to play online against others, as well as the social aspects of joining these virtual “sports clubs”, will breathe new life into these games (which incidentally have always been pretty good for fitness).
The second game isn’t really a game–it’s called “Wii Street Powered by Google”. Basically, Wii Street (which I always misread as “Wall Street”) as it does today will allow you to view Google Maps Street View images It will be improved with Balance Board support so that you can virtually walk any street in the world just by stepping on the Balance Board. It’s a brilliant idea, and here’s hoping that they execute it well. Supposedly, this is only free for download until October 31, 2013–unclear whether they’ll remove it or start charging for it after that, but get in while you can!
Clearly, Nintendo is hoping that Wii Sports Club and Wii Fit U help them recapture the magic of the original Wii Sports and Wii Fit. From an exergaming perspective, I’m very glad to see them back in the game, and have high hopes for all three of these.