Wiitness the Fitness

Nintendo have already laid claim to their territory for this generation and with their portfolio of casual, family friendly games they have invaded living rooms worldwide. This spring they are prepping the occupation force and rolling out Wii Fit into the US and, as far as a number of analysts are concerned, they can look forward to a flawless victory.

Wii Fit arrived in Japan on December 1st 2007 and has since then sold over a million copies. Pretty impressive when compared to the fact that there are five million Wii’s in Japan anyway. It has to be any developers dream to get 20% coverage of a consoles user base, especially when that console is the best selling of the current generation so far.

One million is small game in contrast to what one analyst is giving the title for its May 19th US release. Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan Securities, speaking in the New York Post, has said that “Wii Fit will sell 3 million to 4 million in the US if they market aggressively”. If you can call $40 million on marketing aggressive then Nintendo is going at it full pelt.

Nintendo seems to be sat on the back of two lucrative bandwagons with this title, namely the trend in casual, social gaming and the ever strong demand of easy and accessible ways to lose weight and keep in shape. Though they are pitching the product at a wide potential user base, forgive me for sounding cynical when I say that this is Nintendo’s biggest effort yet to penetrate the female market.

Central to the title is its unique peripheral, the Wii Balance Board, which looks like the love child of a pair of weighing scales and an iPod. Its questionable how much of Wii Fit is genius and how much is gimmick. Particularly considering that a recent study found that playing Wii Sports was about as good for your health as sitting there twiddling your thumbs it may take more to convince western audiences of the title’s value.