Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has explained to investors why they decided to cancel the Wii Vitality Sensor. Iwata says that after conducting a large-scale test of a prototype the company found that the peripheral only worked on certain people. The success rate of the device was around nine out of ten, which was a success rate that Iwata says just wasn’t good enough.
“After a large-scale test of a prototype inside the company, we found out that for some people the sensor did not work as expected.”
“We pushed forward its development on the academic assumption that by observing the wave patterns of the human pulse, we could quantify how tense or relaxed a person is,” Iwata explained. “Or, to be more specific, how much the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves work as functions of the autonomic nerve.”
“The Wii Vitality Sensor is an interesting device and we did various experiments to see what is possible when it was combined with a video game. But, as a result, 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.”
“We would like to launch it into the market if technology advancements enable 999 of 1000 people to use it without any problems, not only 90 out of 100 people.”
Microsoft is preparing to reveal a peripheral not unlike the Wii Vitality Sensor for Xbox 360. The device will be used to accompany the currently announced Kinect Play Fit service and is codenamed Joule. The Joule heart-rate monitor will let Kinect owners track their heart rate wirelessly. Microsoft is gearing up to show off the device during its E3 press conference on Monday June 4th.
Sony has issued a patent for a biometric PlayStation 3 controller and handheld, which if they saw the light of day, would function similarly to Nintendo’s delayed Vitality Sensor. The device will check things such as how moist your skin is, your heart rhythm, and muscle movements. Here’s a list of ideas regarding the device direct from Sony:
- Weapons that change depending on how stressed you are. An increase in stress level could make a weapon more accurate or less steady, which will make it difficult to target an enemy. Sony specifically mentions a sniper situation where the weapon becomes more steady if you’re relaxed.
- Tensing up your muscles to withstand an attack or charge up a shield.
- A video game character whose facial expressions, movements, posture, and even voice changes depending on your biometric data. For example, this character will sweat when a player is nervous.
- An adrenaline style boost which will let you run faster, jump higher, and punch harder when stressed.
- A health bar that depletes more rapidly if you have a high stress level.
- An attack button that changes a character’s move depending if the player is stressed or relaxed.
- Background music and scenery that changes depending on your stress level. Matching music is one example, but Sony also proposes to change music to make a player more relaxed. Brightness of objects and the zoom level, representing a higher level of focus, are two ideas for scenery.
- A game that adapts difficulty levels depending on a players stress level.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has clarified to investors why the company have chosen to keep quiet about the Wii Vitality Sensor. The Wii Vitality sensor is currently still in the works at Nintendo but there have been numerous factors that have delayed the peripherals development.
“I imagine that you are worried about that because it hasn’t been put on the market even though a long time has passed since it was initially announced.”
“This is a totally new type of entertainment, and there are large individual differences in the biological information of humans.
“For example, if it was acceptable that only 80 per cent of the users thought the result was natural, then we could propose this to consumers right now. However, we are aiming for a level of quality in which 99 per cent of consumers feel comfortable, and that is why this project is taking time to complete.”
“I feel that this project has a lot of interesting potential, and we would like to continue this project without giving up,” he continued, “but it is difficult to overcome this hurdle, so please understand that now I cannot clearly say when we will be ready to put this on the market.”
- Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata
Gamers have proven to be excessively sceptical when it comes to Nintendo’s forthcoming Wii Vitality Sensor. Shigeru Miyamoto on the other hand claims gamers should have some faith in future plans for the peripheral.
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.We understand the challenge before us, and we have met these challenges in the past. We just ask that people have confidence in us.