This week, Forbes published an article called “The Truth About Wii Fit and Weight Loss”, noting that even though the Wii Fit is now in over 1.5 million households, it still isn’t delivering the health benefits that were envisioned. Why? Because people just aren’t using the Wii Fit enough to realize the weight loss benefits that the device could be used to deliver.
“What Nintendo did is they tapped into that desire people have to be healthier… Everyone wants to work out, but nobody really wants to put the effort into it.”
If Juran’s definition of quality is “fitness for use” (no pun intended), then the Wii Fit certainly meets this criteria: it meets its own performance and functional specifications. If we use the ISO 8402 definition, that quality is the totality of characteristics of the Wii Fit that bear upon its ability to satisfy stated and implied needs, it can still be considered a quality product. The ability to satisfy the stated need of fitness and weight loss is certain – the realization of this potential depends on the active participation of the consumer. Similarly, the ability to satisfy the implied emotional needs may occur whether or not the product is actually ever used!
Could the Wii Fit be a high quality product even though its buyers won’t necessarily lose weight or become more svelte? Yes. The interaction of the user with the product through proper use can unleash the potential benefits that a product offers, but does not impact the objective quality of the product.