Nintendo has announced a November the 7th release for Wii Sports Club, an online-enabled, HD rework of original Wii flagship title Wii Sports, adding more nuanced Wii Motion Plus control to the mix. And its chosen method of release is an interesting proposition indeed.
Appearing as an eShop digital download, Wii Sports Club will allow potential players to buy its events piecemeal, paying only to download the sports they want. Arguable favourites Tennis and Bowling will be available at launch, with Boxing, Baseball and Golf to come later. The interesting part comes with the ‘Day Passes’ that Nintendo is bringing into the equation, allowing players to effectively rent all the sports in the game for 24 hours, at a price of £1.79/$1.99/€1.99.
It’s an odd conceit on first glance, seeming a little like a confused attempt at a free-to-play model, but it’s a plan that actually makes a great deal of sense. After all, Wii Sports was always a party game at heart, so allowing players to simply hire it when friends are around is quite a smart move.
What makes less sense though, is the pricing model for those wishing to make a permanent purchase. Tennis and Bowling are currently slated for a £8.99/$9.99/€9.99 price tag, each. If the rest of the game follows suit, that will put the new version of Wii Sports at around £45/$50/€50. Bear in mind, Wii Sports was absolutely free with all western Wiis, and with the Wii U being backwards compatible, any of the original game’s (millions of) owners can still play it in their new console, simply by inserting the disc. Is online play worth that increased price tag? We’ll see when the Wii Sports Club launches in a couple of months.