While Microsoft and Sony are exploring motion-based gaming for the first time this holiday season, Nintendo's already been there and done that for years. While the Wii debuted in 2006 with its iconic Wii Remote, an upgrade to the Wii Remote technology called Wii Motion Plus was unveiled last summer, adding true 1:1 mapping to Nintendo's motion controller via a $20 white dongle that plugged into existing remotes. The device came packed in with Wii Sports Resort and offered some promise for future Wii games, but it also added weight and length to the Wii Remote.
Nintendo's latest iteration of the Wii Remote is called the Wii Remote Plus, and it integrates the new technology as seamlessly as we always hoped it would. Third-party manufacturers have already taken a stab at their own controllers with integrated Motion Plus, including Nyko's Wand+, but their construction quality has varied compared with the relatively rock-solid first-party Nintendo hardware.
At first glance, the remote looks indistinguishable from a standard Wii Remote. Button placement and overall design are identical, except for a curved logo on the bottom identifying it differently. The weight's even exactly the same as a regular Wii Remote, at 0.3 pounds. Even after all these years, the Wii Remote's design remains both striking and effective, but we'd prefer a bit more ergonomic consideration for the tiny 1 and 2 buttons, which are used for an increasing number of games.
AA batteries load in the back the same way batteries did before; Nintendo hasn't made any other engineering improvements to the Wii Remote as we know it. That also means it's compatible with third-party charging accessories such as battery packs and docks, which is welcome news.