Nintendo Explains Why It Canceled The Wii Vitality Sensor


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.”


    1. The irony of your comment. It was not even implemented in a game commercially and you judge it. Had the wright brothers not gone ahead with their “stupid” tests, there would have been no aeroplanes now.

      1. I imagined it being used for action and horror games. It altered music, on screen action, enemies, etc, based on your heart rate. So that you were always being mentally stimulated. Granted I don’t think the Wii or even current gen tech, could make such significant in game alterations on the fly. Maybe next gen though.

        See guys. That is one example of the type of new experiences I am referring to, that next gen can offer.

        1. I don’t see why current generation tech couldn’t change parameters in a game based on a vitality sensor input.

          If it was measuring a BPM then that would be a simple integer value that could be monitored, an engine like Source in L4D with it’s director program would then use that as a intensity value instead of a randomly generated one.

          And you could easily play or segue a different soundtrack if the value entered different pre-determined zones.

        2. I don’t see what it couldn’t be implemented in current gen. It could be simply measuring the BPM and storing that as an integer, a game program could then modify soundtrack or intensity level easily be referencing this.

        3. I mean, quite significant changes. Like enemy behaviour, aggression and numbers, controlled character behaviour and controls, changes to the environment, weapon jamming, stumbling, loss of accuracy. However, if these things can be done easily with current gen consoles, then I take it back… and they should release a device that can do all this…NOW!

          1. Now you’re talking, that kind of thing would really reward gamers who could keep cool under pressure!

            Watch the Valve space for this kind of thing I think, I have read that they are very very interested in biometrics, the new controller that they are working on might well have this stuff in it.

          2. Those features could make shooters much more interesting. Having a high activation level while playing for example CoD often gives you advantages with reaction time and so on, but in reality it should also make you less accurate, contrary to when you’re calm. Having these vitality sensors somehow integrated into controllers would make games much more interesting, and possibly even more challenging.

    2. The irony of your comment. It was not even implemented in a game commercially and you judge it. Had the wright brothers not gone ahead with their “stupid” tests, there would have been no aeroplanes today.

  1. If this was Microsoft with their policy of releasing consoles and peripherals that are 30%( RROD 360s, disk scratching) done, we would have seen the vitality sensor connected to the Kinect.

    You are wise and consumer focused great nintendo :).

    1. No, YOU’RE kinda weird. Please stop impersonating a Pikachu on the internet, it’s really sad.

      1. Jynx Jyyynx jynx Jynx Jynx JYYYn Jynnnxx Jynxxx Jynnnx Jynnx! 💋
        (you think it’s sad someone’s impersonating a Pikachu? Look around, everyone is impersonating SOMEONE or SOMETHING on the internet… it’s actually pretty normal…)

          1. Jynx Jynx Junx Jyyyynx! 💋
            (Than that puts YOU in the minority… guess we should call you “weird.”)

              1. Relax. The people who do that are socially inept weirdos with way too much time on their hands. Just ignore them and let them feel special.

  2. Could you imagine playing a survival horror with this thing? Imagine you start panicking and it effects the way your character plays or sees things. Maybe it’ll make it harder to stealth your way past foes. I think there’s much potential for this thing, so I come it ends up being made in the long run!

    1. It is a good idea, especially now at the point we’ve reach in games, you can make something really engaging.

      They should impliment it as a wrist device though, i imagine that would be a more accurate way of measuring heart rate.

  3. “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.”

    That’s why like you Nintendo.
    You understand, so do Sony, unlike MS.

    But i think the V.Sensor would’ve been interesting, especially in a horror game, you game character panics according to your heart rate, that would’ve been amazing.
    Or in a shooter (just an example), you calm your to take a shoot or focus.

  4. Seems like a few of us have some interesting ideas for such a device.

    In all honesty though, I could never imagine a third party devoting the time to make them a reality. And we all know that Nintendo would never make the type of horror/action game that would suit such an effect.

    Such a waste. I would have really loved to see these ideas implemented.

  5. It’s a little concerning that they would be okay with shipping something that won’t work for 1/1000 people. Those people are still going to spend money on it, and then what? It just doesn’t work for them? That would be a pr disaster if Nintendo knowingly released something that doesn’t work with everybody unless they put, ‘may not work on everybody’ right on the box or something.

    1. 1 out of 1000 people is 0.1% though. That’s an incredibly small number of people.

      They only had it working for 90% of people though. So, they weren’t happy with 10% of people potentially having issues with it. But they were ok with 0.1% potentially having issues.

      I think that’s reasonable.

      The 3D in the 3DS doesn’t work for everyone. Not every is physically capable of using a wiimote. Not everyone can use voice controls. There’s almost always going to be a small amount of people that can have problems with various input methods.

      I think 0.1% would be an ok margin to launch a product with.

  6. It’s just a pulse ox. I use them at work all the time. Go out and get one yourself for cheap. Oh and they’re not always accurate depending on things such as nail polish (distorts reading) or medical history e.g.

    1. For anyone interested, it gives you a blood/oxygen saturation reading, respirations per minute and heart rate per minute.

  7. You know i would love to see Nintendo incorporate this kind of device on their next gen console, so in that way could be another revolution, and every other company will follow; obviously a better device with more tech that could help enhanced a videogame, like the ideas from user “Phil Kavadias”. It would be nice to see a WiiU Gamepad Plus connected with this thing, so you can be on your bed at night playing. For survival horror games could awesome.

    1. Buy one really cheap with the reading on the side than one requiring a monitor. Doesn’t need to hook up to the gamepad or any other device, nor are they expensive.

  8. the thing is that this thing goes in your cock. you will go crazy after you see what happened in the scream after you put this in your cock

    1. You love deeming everything a failure when you see so much as a picture or 10 second video.

  9. This paired with a second Eternal Darkness.
    I think it would make this one of the most mind-blowingly amazing peripherals ever.

    But I doubt Nintendo would have used it like that at the time.

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