Logitech’s New Wii Controller is Wheel-y Cool

Some people just haven’t taken to the Wii Wheel. I’m not really one of them; in fact, I kind of wonder how it would work as a regular controller in games that use the “NES” configuration and require the B button underneath. But that’s beside the point, as there have been players of Mario Kart Wii and more who wanted something sturdier than holding a plastic frame in the air.

Logitech has heard those prayers, and is delivering unto us a new steering wheel, complete with force feedback:

The good news? The one-piece wheel designed for Need for Speed Undercover has built-in gas and brake controls, is wireless and comes with a lap rest, allowing for play as much as 30-feet from the Wii. The bad news? The thing will ring in at $100 when it hits the U.S. and Europe in November. Yikes. $100 for a $250 console? I see Logitech is keeping it crazy. — Kotaku

Yikes indeed… I was wondering how it’d handle Mario Kart and Excite Truck, but I think I may just remain satisfied not knowing.

Here’s the full press release, if you’re curious:

Logitech Speed Force Wireless Racing Wheel Works With EA’s Highly Anticipated Racing Game Need for Speedâ„¢ Undercover

FREMONT, Calif. — Aug. 21, 2008 — To give you a more realistic driving experience on your Wiiâ„¢ console, Logitech (SWX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) today announced the Logitech® Speed Force Wirelessâ„¢ racing wheel – the first force feedback wheel for the popular gaming platform. Licensed by Nintendo®, Logitech’s newest force feedback wheel works with Electronic Arts’ Need for Speedâ„¢ Undercover and paves the way for more force feedback racing titles on the Wii console.

“We’re excited to team up with Nintendo and Electronic Arts to bring driving realism to the Wii and Need for Speed Undercover,” said Ruben Mookerjee, Logitech’s director of product marketing for gaming. “Logitech has been at the forefront of force feedback technology for more than a decade, and we’re confident that our driving platform will be an indispensable part of the racing experience on Wii as more titles that support it become available.”

“As the world’s most popular racing franchise, Need for Speed is committed to delivering players superior racing experiences,” said Larry LaPierre, Vice President at Black Box, developer of Need for Speed. “This November, Wii gamers can fully experience the thrill of the chase in Need for Speed Undercover with Logitech’s force feedback realism.”

Easy to set up and store, the Logitech Speed Force Wireless features a one-piece design that is convenient to use whether you’re sitting on your couch, arm chair or living room floor. The built-in gas and brake controls are located on the wheel itself and the expandable lap rest is easily adjusted – allowing for comfortable game play without the need to use a table or a desk. Plus, familiar Wii controls make navigating game menus a snap.

To help you minimize clutter, the Logitech Speed Force Wireless eliminates the console cable. With Logitech’s 2.4 GHz wireless technology, you can enjoy lag-free racing from up to 30 feet away from the console. To start racing, just connect the USB receiver to the Wii console, plug in the wheel’s power cord, put in Need for Speed: Undercover, adjust the lap rest to a comfortable position and wait for the race to begin. There’s no mounting or assembly involved. And when you’re ready to put it away, the USB receiver can be stowed in a convenient compartment on the bottom of the wheel.

Logitech Force Feedback Technology
Having introduced its first force feedback products in 1998, the company has designed 19 models of force feedback wheels. And more than 100 racing titles have supported Logitech force feedback technology on a variety of game platforms.

When you’re playing a racing game, standard controllers don’t let you feel all the excitement that makes racing with force feedback technology the closest you can get to the real thing. Force feedback, unlike vibration feedback or rumble technology, creates directionally precise, tactile feedback that accurately simulates forces experienced in the game. Through the use of advanced software and electronics, force feedback moves a steering wheel as if the device were subject to real external forces.

About Need for Speed Undercover
Need for Speed Undercover takes players back to the franchise’s roots and re-introduces break-neck cop chases and spectacular highway battles. Players discover a world of high-stakes and high-speed action in some of the world’s hottest cars. The all-new Heroic Driving Engine propels the action forward as players experience the dramatic story through spectacular Hollywood-style live-action in-game movies.

Pricing and Availability
The Logitech Speed Force Wireless racing wheel is expected to be available in the U.S. and Europe beginning in November for a suggested retail price of $99.99 (U.S.).

Need for Speed Undercover is being developed by Black Box in Vancouver, B.C. and is slated to ship this November. It will be available for Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and Wii™ as well as the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo DS™, PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) handheld entertainment system, PC and mobile. More information can be found at www.needforspeed.com.

About Logitech
Logitech is a world leader in personal peripherals, driving innovation in PC navigation, Internet communications, digital music, home-entertainment control, gaming and wireless devices. Founded in 1981, Logitech International is a Swiss public company listed on the SWX Swiss Exchange (LOGN) and on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (LOGI).