The MotionPlus mystery us over. Nintendo announced that the peripheral that is designed to enhance the motion-sensitivity of the Wii remote will ship the U.S. on June 8, one week after the big E3 trade show and one week before the launch of the first game announced to support it, EA’s “Grand Slam Tennis.”
[UPDATE: A Nintendo spokesperson told me that Sega’s May 19 “Virtua Tennis” will support MotionPlus.]
The Wii MotionPlus peripheral will cost $20, bringing the cost of a fully-featured Wii controller to $80 ($40 for the remote; $20 for the sometimes-optional nunchuk; $20 for the mostly-optional MotionPlus).
Nintendo will also bundle MotionPlus units with “Wii Sports Resort,” the beach-based “Wii Sports” sequel demonstrated at last year’s E3. The game will ship on July 26 for $50, with one MotionPlus unit included. It had been announced last year as a spring 2009 game. Nintendo’s announcement this morning did not reveal any new mini-games for “Wii Sports Resort,” referencing the already-demonstrated water-scooter racing, sword-dueling and disc-throwing — though the disc-throwing now appears to include licensed Frisbees, as the product is mentioned by its trademarked name.
Nintendo’s press release did not explain which games, if any, MotionPlus early adopters will be able to use the add-on for, should they purchase it on launch day.
The July release date for “Wii Sports Resort” livens what is usually a slow mid-summer release timeframe and sandwiches it between the mid-July and mid-August launches of EA’s two big football games, “NCAA Football” and “Madden.”