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The new Wii Remote Jacket  (Source: Nintendo)
Wii Remotes get a "cushiony shield," in case wrist straps weren't enough

Surely to the horror of all third-party Wii accessory companies, Nintendo announced today the Wii Remote Jacket that will be given to all system owners completely free of charge. The Wii Remote Jacket is a silicone cover made specifically to fit the Wii Remote and “provides cushioning for the Wii Remote for people who might accidentally throw or drop their Wii Remotes while playing games.”

Third-party accessory companies already have similar products on the market, which are meant to both enhance grip and to personalize Wii Remotes in various colors. The official Wii Remote Jacket appears to cushion the outer rounded edges of the device, which with some imagination, could produce some trauma should it meet with another living participant.

"We're always looking for ways to improve our products and make sure everyone has a safe and fun experience," says George Harrison, Nintendo of America's senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications. "Many electronics manufacturers provide similar protective covers for products like cell phones, PDAs and MP3 players."

Nintendo’s free offering is just the latest in the game company’s effort to address the issue of flying Wii Remotes launched from the slippery grips of overly enthusiastic Wii users. Early batches of Wii consoles and Remotes shipped with wrist straps that were less resistant to flagrant motions. Nintendo quickly issued safety warnings, beefed-up the wrist straps and offered free replacements to all.

Like the wrist strap revision, the Wii Remote Jackets will be offered free to all Wii owners. Those who wish to claim their free Wii Remote Jackets can go to Wii.com or nintendo.com, or call 1-866-431-8367 to place an order. Also, Wii Remote Jackets will begin shipping with Wii consoles, Remotes and Wii Play the week of October 15.

Along with upgraded straps, Nintendo stressed that the Wii Remote Jacket is meant to supplement, not replace, the basic game-play instructions: “Keep a firm grip, don't let go of the controller, use the wrist strap and make sure your play area is free of people or objects,” reminds Nintendo.

With Nintendo stating that the new Wii Remote Jackets were made for safety reasons, it would not be out of the question to assume that the free accessories are somehow connected to company’s legal position. Last December, Nintendo was sued in a class action lawsuit over defective wrist straps. While Nintendo claimed that the lawsuit was “completely without merit,” the company would likely prefer to avoid any further litigation.

The updated wrist straps guard against incidents where the Wii Remote leaves the user’s hands, and the upcoming Wii Remote Jackets appear to protect the environment while the Wii Remote is in active use. With the Wii potentially entering into the hottest selling season yet, Nintendo may simply be trying to cover its bases.





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