Nintendo announced the Wii MotionPlus at the 2008 Electronic Entertainment Expo, and now we have a final version of the product in our hands. The MotionPlus add-on plugs in to the bottom of the Wii Remote and works with the Remote's sensors to make controls even more precise. Expect to find the MotionPlus in stores for $20 on June 8. We got to try out the MotionPlus with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and Grand Slam Tennis, both from EA. Both games will launch on June 8 for $49.99 and will later come bundled with the MotionPlus for $59.99.
At E3 2008, InvenSense's Joe Virginia, VP of wireless business, was kind enough to explain that the Wii MotionPlus uses multiaxis gyroscopes to sense rotational movement, and combining the MotionPlus' rotation sensing with the Wii Remote's other built-in sensors brings new gaming capabilities to the Wii. The Wii MotionPlus has three gyroscopes to track rotational movement across all three axes in 3D space.
The Wii MotionPlus attachment plugs in to the bottom of the Wii Remote. It adds about an inch and a half to the length of the controller and includes a pass-though port for the Nunchuk. The MotionPlus' port cover folds into the Nunchuk's connector to stay out of the way when the Nunchuk is connected. The MotionPlus has a lock that keeps the add-on attached to the Remote. Plugging the whole affair together doesn't take too long. The connector for the MotionPlus has a lot of play, making it easy to connect to the Wii Remote while in the included rubber sleeve. Connecting a Nunchuk to the bottom of the MotionPlus is equally trivial.
The version of the MotionPlus we saw at E3 2008 looks quite similar to the final version aside from a few color changes.
Our first experiences with the MotionPlus were at E3 2008 with Wii Sports Resort. When you're throwing the Frisbee in the Disc Dog game, the MotionPlus' sensor detects how you're holding the disc in your hand. Rotating your wrists causes the Frisbee to rotate up or down onscreen in response. The Wii Remote, MotionPlus, and Nunchuk become handle bars in the Power Cruising Jet Ski racing game. Rotating the Wii Remote with the MotionPlus attached activates the throttle just like on a motorcycle or personal water scooter.
Grand Slam Tennis incorporates many new controls to better simulate an actual tennis match. The MotionPlus accurately represents both forehand and backhand shots. The added sensitivity gives gamers better ball placement on the court, and rotational controller movement adds spin to shots. Opinions varied from editor to editor, but most liked the added control schemes. Lazy gamers might have trouble though. The small movements you could get away with in Wii Sports Tennis definitely won't cut it in Grand Slam Tennis with the MotionPlus attached.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 makes use of the MotionPlus by giving you the ability to more precisely hit the ball. The game brings a new HUD element specifically for the MotionPlus that incorporates draw and fade capabilities. Twisting the controller either clockwise or counterclockwise determines which way the golf club head rotates in real time. While our golf skills aren't necessarily up to par, it wasn't difficult to take advantage of the new control scheme. Simple onscreen controls gave feedback on what we were doing (and more likely what we were doing wrong).
Those eager to get their hands on the Wii MotionPlus won't have to wait too much longer because the accessory is scheduled to ship in a scant few weeks.