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 Will Wii rock you?
So the final name of Nintendo’s next console has finally been revealed I’m sure you’ve heard of it already but if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days brace yourself. Behold, the Nintendo Wii.

Before you ask it’s not pronounced ‘why’, it’s pronounced ‘wee’. That’s right, Nintendo has chosen a name that sounds like a bodily function. Quite why or how they came to this decision is beyond me, but the fact remains that possibly the nicest looking console ever designed has been adorned with the most mind-bogglingly terrible name of all time. It’s hard to understand where they got the idea from, they are stating it means ‘we’ as in ‘we can play together’. I can’t help hoping they’ve missed an ‘f’ and a dash somewhere in the middle.

Nintendo’s consoles have never had ‘cool’ names like Playstation or mega drive, but they’ve always been functional. The NES was just that: an entertainment system made by Nintendo. The SNES was apt as it was a souped up NES. The N64 pertained the fact it was their first 64-Bit system; it rolled off the tongue quite nicely and provided a useful suffix for most of it’s games. Heck even the GameCube was pretty descriptive, being as it was a cube (sort of) that played games. The DS meant many things, from Dual Screen to Developer System and again, gave ports or new titles an instantly recognisable identity or excuse to come up with silly subtitles using the letters ‘D’ and ‘S’.

What can we expect from the new console? Super Mario Wii? Donkey Kong Wii? Street Fighter 2: Wii Edition? These are stupid made up titles that (hopefully) will never be used but they highlight the point that this is a really poor marketing decision.

Nintendo already had a fight on it’s hands trying to win over the general public after they decided to go for innovation over visual enhancement. Their stance in the next-gen war is admirably but nevertheless would have a harder time attracting the masses especially in the West. They’ve already shown with the DS that Japan at the very least is ready to accept this kind of drastic innovation and have even listened to the small complaints regarding the look of the system; the DS-Lite is up there with the PSP and I-Pod and smart looking pieces of kit.

But the new name is really a shot in the foot considering all the positive moves they’ve made over the past 18 months. Developers have been queing up to announce their support for Nintendo and their intention to be a part of their Revolution. The relatively low development costs have meant that smaller studios are still able to compete on an even stage with the big boys; I wonder if Nibris are considering renaming their titles to avoid the unfortunate title ‘Raid over the River Wii’. All in all, Nintendo looked to be doing just about everything right this time around and the Revolution’s full unveiling was easily the most anticipated event of the upcoming E3 in May. The rebranding of the Revolution has put a bit of a dampener on things.

Apart from the obvious schoolboy jokes the name just doesn’t work. Shigeru Miyamoto said the following in a recent interview: “We want everyone to have a Revolution. If I go to someone’s house and they don’t have a Revolution under their TV set I will ask them ‘You don’t have a Revolution? Why don’t you have a Revolution?’ “ Now play that quote back in your head with the new name. Doesn’t sound appealing one little bit does it?

The Revolution is really a make or break console for Nintendo, even more of a risk than the DS and they needed to rebuild their image in the eyes of gamers and fight their way to the front of the minds of the public. Nintendo used to be the word everyone used when they referred to games, like Playstation is now; this has just set them back a decade. Hopefully they won’t lose to much hardcore support; I would buy the next console even if was called the Nintendo Buggery, but there are a lot of fickle people out there for whom the name of their console means a lot. Nintendo has just lost their support. And if they lose the support of the mainstream, they will lose the support of developers and once again we’ll be in the situation where the only significant number of games being made for a Nintendo home console is from Nintendo themselves.

Can we draw any positives from this strange move? The logo looks quite cool if you just look at the individual letters and ignore the connotations of the whole word. And Nintendo has shocked and disappointed it’s fans many times before and they are still going strong; the GameCube took a while to worm it’s way into my affections – it initially looked like a fisher price ‘My first console’ when it was unveiled. Even the Rev controller had it’s own shock value, but has since gained acceptance in wider circles. When the dust settles on this incident will Nintendo’s reputation be left in tatters? Only time will tell.

This article reflects the thoughts of the author and not EuroFusion as a whole

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