Last night Nintendo released a mysterious trailer for new software and a home kit that buzzed the internet. A Nintendo Direct presentation was broadcast less than 48 hours ago, but is there more ?! The fact that this "new attempt at the Nintendo Switch" was not included in the direct one is remarkable, which suggests that this will not be a "game" in the traditional sense. The new periphery may be related to patents filed before the switch was released, and in fact, all this stretching and activity has many people accepting it to be the equivalent of the Wii Fit Switch .
These comparisons are certainly understandable, though after looking more closely at the trailer, we're not so sure. Nintendo seems to be focusing on the fun and social gameplay here, but admits it also challenges the fitness-lite gameplay that has gone down so well in the Wii era. Our initial impression ̵
Let's take a closer look at the trailer and speculate on what it all means …
It starts with group gathering and focuses on a shared, social experience – we're surprised that not on the roof. Everyone says "Oooh, what's this fun thing?"
Cut to Paris:
From the beginning, Nintendo emphasized versatility – everyone wants to have fun and be appropriate, whether you are alone or with friends. lifestyle is strong and clear and immediately signals why this product is kept separate from Nintendo Direct games.
Then we cut to Madrid:
A group of friends make fun of each other have fun. The tension and flexibility of the ring is emphasized here – it really does look like a Pilates ring, though they are certainly not exercised. Note that there is only one bell here in the entire trailer. It may be just to keep things disclosed, but the focus is on how this thing brings friends together.
Next stop in this city is hop: Rome …
Again is not a look of sweat. Instead, we see middle-aged Italian men walking around and having fun with their family and friends. A similar story is in San Francisco:
to look like he's toning his triceps, but we doubt he's doing much. Also notice that the focus is a lot on the TV. "Oh, I did a reverse flip!" exclaims the man in the shirt. We can safely assume that he is referring to his screen avatar, whatever that is.
We jump to another fabulous living room, this time in Kyoto , Nintendo's hometown. We return to emphasizing yoga-like health benefits as players here stretch, rotate and balance. "Entertainment" is still in the spotlight, though the core muscle ability shown here may exceed that of an Italian man swinging his legs in the air.
In Dallas, the hats are down, so things get serious. Again, Nintendo emphasizes the social fun of the ring here (and that it's for all ages). Notice that in one shot, the ring is on the floor, with only the hip left Joy-Con sending data to the console. Just like with the Wii Fit, it seems like a variety of games will require different inputs. Ah, we can already see those spray screens!
So what do we do about it? Is this switch appropriate? Well, we are not convinced by this mysterious revelation. The Parisian woman is the only person wearing a remote fitness gym worthy (doing a seat while wearing a buckle sported by a man in Dallas can cause serious internal injuries), and though it's important that Nintendo cuts a single player after entering the ring with the original group shots, the clear focus is the fun, social aspect. From the beginning, it was emphasized that there was a solo experience to enjoy, with the potential for health and fitness benefits, but they were clearly de-emphasized compared to something like the Wii Fit.
It looks like Nintendo may be trying to have its cake and eat it by combining the fitness-lit aspects of Fitness Boxing with the 1-2-Switch party gameplay. While or of these titles will not receive the racing impulses of the core gamers (this is exactly why it was not part of the Nintendo Direct presentation), Fitness Boxing was a big hit. Although this game may have "fitness" in its name, it is as much a rhythm game as something that sheds a few pounds, so expanding the appeal of this type of content with a wider "social" context seems like a good thing plan to expand the Switch audience even further. If this ordinary periphery brings memories of the Wii Fit in the mind of the casual audience, it's just dandy, but the important thing is that this flexible hoop only seems to work with Joy-Con. This should be cheap enough for curious gamers to check out, even if they aren't sold on supported software. Everyone is a winner.
It's important to remember that the landscape of health and fitness aids is very different from how it was when Wii Fit briefly invaded the world imagination. Fitbits, Apple Watches and other wearables with health monitoring apps are quite commonplace and no one will leave 100 notes for a pair of bathroom scales in 2019. By redefining this as "social" software and disabling the light health benefits, Nintendo must wear two different hats and, potentially, attract the widest possible audience.
Whatever this ring may be (and we would expect a name that emphasizes how it brings people together – a switch ring or circles or some such thing), we'll find out more on September 12th.
What do you make of this flexible little peripheral? Is this just a new generation Wii Fit or is Nintendo hoping to win over the social crowd as well as the healthy ones? Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings below and give us your best guess for a name for this periphery. We go with "Halo" – no one has that brand associated, right?