Fitness was not on Nintendo's mind when Wii launched

Posted by Mark Raby

Santa Monica (CA) - Wii Fit is essentially the brain child of overzealous fans that turned the Wii into a virtual workout machine.


In pictures: Wii Fit (9 slides) ...

During an interview, Nintendo's senior director of PR, Beth Llewelyn, told us that using the Wii for serious fitness training was never a main idea in the development of the console.  When owners of the console started this new trend, a light bulb went off inside Nintendo.

"It's certainly become a phenomenon far beyond what we ever anticipated," said Llewelyn.  After Nintendo saw people getting really active with Wii Sports and other movement-intensive titles, "It sort of started a germ of an idea there...and it just took off."

Wii Fit uses a new controller called the Balance Board.  Instead of measuring points and high scores, the "game" keeps track of the player's body mass index.

Llewelyn attributes the spark of self-prescribed Wii workout regimens to the mass appeal of the console.  "A lot of it has to do with how we've gone after this broad audience," she said.

The Wii began spiraling into headlines of fitness publications within weeks of its launch.  A personal trainer from the UK even uses the console in his workout routines.

Llewelyn would not comment on the price of the game, which will include the Balance Board, but said it will be available "in the first part of 2008".