A scene from 'Wii Fit U.'
Due out November 1 in North America - just in time to get in the exercising habit before Thanksgiving - is Nintendo's Wii Fit U for the Wii U. The third iteration in the Wii Fit franchise, which began with Wii Fit on the original Wii in 2008, Wii Fit U expands beyond the home console fitness experience and takes things outdoors.
"Wii Fit U: it comes with - part of it - the Fit Meter," stated David Young, Asst. PR Manager at Nintendo of America. "So the Fit Meter is not only a pedometer - you know, you clip it onto your belt or carry it with you in your purse or pocket and it'll keep track of your steps throughout the day - but it's also an altimeter."
The altimeter functionality allows the Fit Meter (MSRP $19.99) to detect if you are, for example, hiking up a hill or doing stairs - both are activities that burn more calories than simple walking on a flat surface. Detecting changes in elevation, however, isn't the device's only cool trick.
"It can also tell you your velocity," he explained. "Running, you know, is a more strenuous activity than walking. It can keep track of that."
Once data is recorded to the Fit Meter, it can then link up with the Wii U via the Wii U's gamepad. Doing so imports that information into the Wii Fit U software and is added to that day's workout total.
The Fit Meter, however, is only one of the many new features that come with the new edition of Wii Fit. In addition to 19 new activities (bringing the franchise total to 77), Wii Fit U brings online connectivity into the fold. Through the game's "Gym Community" mode, users can have virtual real-life workout partners.
"You can connect with other people online either in public communities that are created, or you can have your own private Gym Community," Young pointed out. "You can share your code - your Gym Community code - with other friends that have Wii Fit U and then you can work out with eachother."
Gym Community also allows users to share workout information and send congratulations when fitness goals are met by others.
But while new features and the Fit Meter might add a few new things to the Wii Fit franchise, there is something else that is sure to move a few extra copies of the game: it'll be free. Well, sort of.
"Starting November 1st on the Nintendo eShop you can download a free trial of Wii Fit U and you can play that as much as you'd like," Young stated. "You pick up a Fit Meter, sync that up and then that copy of Wii Fit U is yours."
In other words: download the trial for free, purchase the Fit Meter for $20, and the full version of the software becomes yours to keep. With or without this offer (which ends January 31 of next year), Young believes Wii Fit U will be one of the hot products during the latter part of this year.
"Fitness is always an important thing for people and with Wii Fit U it's also about making fitness fun," he commented. "And now with the Fit Meter you're able to take the rest of your life... and those calories you burn throughout the day can also be part of you overall routine."
Wii Fit U is a Wii U exclusive and is rated "E for Everyone" by the ESRB.