US Nintendo Wii bundle gets Sports Resort and MotionPlus

To compete with the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo plans to release a new Wii bundle that includes Wii Sports Resort and MotionPlus.

Nintendo will offer the new bundles for $200, the same price as the current Wii that ships with Wii Sports.  It was first rumored last week a new Nintendo bundle and a different color model would be released, but Nintendo not surprisingly stayed quiet about the pending launch.

The United States will also finally receive the black color Wiis, which have been available for awhile in Japan and Europe.  Nintendo didn’t say how much the new Wiis will cost, but they should be comparable to similar models currently available.

Adding new games and add-ons to the Wii bundle without a price increase is a major step forward for the company.  MotionPlus has higher accuracy and better control than the Wiis regular nunchuck, which is very important now that rival motion technology will be released by competitors soon.

The Wii, which launched with a $249 price tag, has held a strong sales lead over the Xbox 360 and PS3 — but that lead has drastically fallen.  Both Microsoft and Sony have motion-based controller systems that will become available before 2011.  Nintendo’s sales dominance continues to slide as Microsoft and Sony add new features to their consoles.

Wii Sports Resort ships with MotionPlus for around $50 as a standalone package, so Nintendo is marketing the deal as a “value enhancement,” not a “price cut.”

I think this is a wise choice by Nintendo, especially since Sports Resort includes additional, easy games for casual gamers.  I still think Nintendo has to work more closely with game developers to expand its still disappointing Wii game catalog.

SportsResort includes basketball, bowling, archery, cycling, golf, and fencing.