NINTENDO: Has Vitality Sensor flatlined?

Nintendo struck a good chord between core games and mass market fare at its E3 press conference today.

However the odd hardware unveiled at last year’s E3, the Wii Vitality Sensor, was mysteriously absent from proceedings.

The device – which clips onto a finger and monitors the player’s heart-rate – was shown off at last year’s E3 Nintendo press event.

Back then Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said: "What’s next [in the future of gaming]? I though I should give you at least one potential answer. So I’d like to give you a sneak peek at an entirely different way of thinking about games.

"This measures the pulse – not just the heartbeat. It helps you visualise something which is invisible. The Wii Vitaity Sensor sees the information relating to the inner world of your body. You can use the product to achieve greater relaxation. Maybe everyone under pressure in our stressful society could use this to relax. Currently, video games give us increased excitement or stimulation. But it will not be long before games are used to let people unwind or even fall asleep."
But there was no sleeping or invisible forces in the breathless E3 presentation today, which started with a slow tour of the new Zelda game, Skyward Sword, before ramping up to a whistlestop tour through new games, the 3DS, its advanced features, and huge publisher support.

The Vitality Sensor was nowhere to be seen in the 75 minute presentation, despite claims by Nintendo’s American president Reggie Fils-Aime in November 2009 that we will show off the Vitality Sensor with software at E3. I’m not going to give you any more hints beyond that.”

So has Nintendo relaxed its attentions on the new Wii peripheral?

Maybe not – as recently as March, Miyamoto had said the Vitality Sensor could be used by the new Zelda game.

And Iwata always insisted the device was due much later than many thought.

But certainly the hardware – presuming it is still in development – hasn’t warranted a place on the main stage this year.

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