Is Nintendo giving competitors the finger?

495wii-vitality-sensor1I guess I hold grudges or something—or at the very least I’m a stubborn, cynical bastard—because I can’t quite let go of the Wii Vitality Sensor.

The usual software fanfare that accompanies a Nintendo accessory (see: Balance Board) was uncharacteristically absent at E3 when Iwata fingered that new peripheral for the first time, and pretty much everyone’from Ninty enthusiasts to the usual haters’were skeptical.

Nintendo execs have been pretty mum since then, with only a trickle of info seeping out into the media groundwater. There will be bundled software. No, we can’t tell you more. Reggie Fils-Aime even had the balls to say, trust us, we’re Nintendo (I paraphrase, of course).

But then today, as I read some remarks about the competition and their insane plan to price Microsoft Surface Project Natal into the stratosphere, I realized everyone is still trying to play catch up and top what they think has made Nintendo a runaway success: Motion Controls.

Which is completely wrong, of course. So, in that light, I see the Vitality Sensor as a feint. Nintendo is seeing how far competitors will go to follow it into the batsh*t crazy world of motion controls and accessories, and what kind of zany, ill-conceived (and expensive) products they produce. Hell, several third party software developers have already taken that plunge, if the Tony Hawk skateboard demo is any indication.

Now, I wrote this post half-seriously. Obviously Nintendo is serious about monitoring the heart rates of video gaming seniors. And it’s a given the Vitality Sensor will arrive on store shelves sometime in the future, where it will be placed neatly next to Wii Speak near the floor at your local Target. Even so, the past year has shown me you can’t put anything past the competition, especially when it comes to copying Nintendo: