I bought a Wii Fit a little while back, in part simply because I was fascinated by the demographics of it. The product is aimed at middle aged women (urp!), probably a first for a video game. The launch was handled very differently from the normal run of highly hyped new electronic product--there was very little advanced advertising, no attempt to generate long, splashy lines to be filmed for the news at eleven. Their target demographic doesn't have time to spend standing on line for five hours, and (they think) would have been turned off by that sort of ubergeeky atmosphere.
It seems to have worked; the product is doing well enough to be selling on Amazon at several times what I paid for the one I pre-ordered shortly before the launch. And I have to admit, it's pretty great. With good evolutionary reason, I loathe exercise; I can't say that the Wii fit makes it as much fun as, say, an afternoon at King's Dominion, but it's vastly more bearable while playing a video game. Moreover, the Fit focuses on four areas--aerobics, strength, flexibility, and balance. Since I'm the least flexible person on the planet not suffering from Fibrodysplasia Ossificans, and my balance is if anything worse, I feel like it's actually making a notable improvement in my physical abilities.
I am very interested to know why Nintendo ramps up these launches so slowly. The Wii has been an astoundingly successful product, but it took over a year for them to get enough to market to get the standard price down to the MSRP. Now the Fit seems to be following the same trend. I would have thought that this was exactly the sort of thing they were trying to avoid--making women feel as if they were running after a children's toy. On the other hand, if it's selling at $172, I guess it's hard to argue with success.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.