Nintendo pitches $20 Wiimote precision extension

Chicago (IL) – How do you increase the price of a new controller for your game console: Simple. You market a new feature as additional hardware rather than as an integrated part of your controller. In Nintendo’s case, that would translate into a 50% increase, if you plan on adding the new Wii MotionPlus to your WiiMote – or 33% if you buy the Nunchuk as well. A fully decked out 4-person controller system for the Wii costs a stunning $320.  Too much?

Nintendo’s value proposition with the Wii has been affordable video game entertainment and there is no doubt that the ingenious controller system is a critical component of the success the company has enjoyed so far. So it should not be too surprising to see the company riding that wave and is trying to squeeze more money out of your pocket.

The Wii MotionPlus is an extension for the Wiimote that simply attaches to the bottom of the device. It adds length and a considerable amount of weight to the Wiimote and Nintendo promises that it “tracks players’ movements in finer detail and with greater accuracy than ever before. […] Even the slightest twist of the wrist or turn of the body is replicated exactly on the TV screen, allowing users to become even more immersed in Wii game play.” Of course, the feature of the Wii MotionPlus will work only with games that have been designed for the device.

The extended feature will be available for $20 on June 8 and will also be bundled with a sequel to WiiSports, which be based on a beach theme. The game will be available for $50 sometime after June 8.

Those $20 may not sound much, but we begin wondering how much Nintendo users are willing to spend for that experience. We know that millions already have shelled out $90 extra for the Wii balance board. And that WiiMote extension adds another $80 to a four-player controller system, which, if equipped with the Nunchuk, will cost $320 – or $260, if we exclude the hardware that is included with the Wii. The basic Wiimote is priced at $40, while the Nunchuk costs $20.

That price tag may hurt the value proposition of the Wii in the long run.