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Nintendo explores new monetization angles with Wii Fit U, Wii Sports Club

September 18, 2013 | By Mike Rose

Nintendo continues to experiment with its monetization techniques, this time with its popular Wii Fit and Wii Sports franchises, as the company is offering numerous methods for purchasing the upcoming Wii U games.

As part of a new Nintendo Direct broadcast, Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime said that Wii Fit U will be available to download for free between November 1 and January 31. Anyone who downloads the game during this time will be given a month of play-time for free, just as long as you own a Wii Fit Balance Board.

If players then purchase a Wii Fit U activity meter -- a physical, 3-axis accelerometer-powered device that can count your steps, exercise intensity, and calories burned -- and sync the meter to the free trial copy of Wii Fit U, this will unlock the full game for free. Essentially, you can pick up the activity meter with a copy of the game for $19.99.

Once January 31 rolls around, the free version of the game will disappear from the eShop, and be replaced by a full price version. Notably, the game will also launch at retail on December 13, with special bundles that include the Activity Meter and the Balance Board.

A little bit more Wii Sports

Nintendo has been searching for a hit as big as Wii Sports on the original Nintendo Wii for a while now, and it would appear that the company's new plan is to simply re-release the game with enhanced features.

Wii Sports Club will launch for Nintendo Wii U on November 7, and will include visually enhanced versions of the sports available in the original Wii Sports game.

There will also be online play available, with players able to join up with others in their state or region, and play either casually or competitively. Wii Sports Club will appear as a game hub on the Wii U main menu.

But you won't be able to purchase Wii Sports Club in the regular one-time payment fashion. Instead, you can choose to purchase each of the sports separately for $9.99 / 8.99 each, or you can pay for a "Day Pass", and gain access to all of the sports for 24 hours for $1.99 / 1.79.

Notably, the game will only include Tennis and Bowling at launch, with Boxing, Baseball and Golf due to be added in the months ahead.

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