According to GoNintendo, George Harrison, Sr. VP of Marketing Nintendo America had this to say about the Wii Remote rubber:
“We’re always looking for ways to improve our products and make sure everyone has a safe and fun experience. Many electronics manufacturers provide similar protective covers for [their] products.”
Everyone is talking about how stupid this is, or how generous (depending on your reaction to it), but no-one has really speculated what’s in it for Nintendo.
Well, it’s a simple direct marketing technique. For just under $2 a console (assuming 9.3 Million have been sold worldwide) Nintendo gets your full name, address and postal code. This up-to-date list of user data will tell the Wii creators exactly where you live, which will allow them to speculate your age, your average income, and other socio-economic data that is readily available about your neighborhood.
Next they email you Christmas & holiday offers for new accessories, games, and products they ‘know’ you’ll enjoy. This time you’ll have to pay for it, but hey, you already know how to use their online ordering service now, don’t you?