Say goodbye to the Revolution -- Nintendo has unveiled the official name of its next generation console, Wii.
Pronounced "we", Wii takes over Nintendo's original code name of "Revolution". In a statement, Nintendo said "while the code-name "Revolution" expressed our direction, Wii represents the answer".
"Wii will break down that wall that separates video game players from everybody else."
Nintendo said the name was chosen to emphasise the message that its upcoming console was for everyone.
"Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii," the Nintendo statement said. "Wii has a distinctive 'ii' spelling that symbolises both the unique controllers and the image of people gathering to play.
"And Wii, as a name and a console, brings something revolutionary to the world of video games that sets it apart from the crowd."
It may also be worth noting that "ii" means "good" in Japanese.
Game-industry analysts were swift with their responses. "Looks like a good solid name for Nintendo," said an optimistic Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director of Jupiter Research. "The key is making sure they follow up with a strong launch campaign to evangelise the new brand and help drive the message forward."
Michael Goodman, senior analyst of media and entertainment strategies at The Yankee Group, believes the name change is a mistake. "I thought Revolution had much more meaning," he told CNET.com.au sister site GameSpot.com. "It was an apt description for the console. It was a revolutionary design ... the controller is pretty revolutionary. Wii just doesn't do it for me. How do we even pronounce this? WEEE? I'm not sure this is technically a word. What is a WEE, W-I-I? You're building everything from scratch in terms of awareness and in terms of building a brand. Versus Xbox 360 -- you're taking the core Xbox brand and leveraging it to a new product. With PlayStation 3, it still has all those great attributes of the PlayStation."
Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter was more mixed in his assessment. "My initial reaction, of course, is that the name is dumb," he bluntly stated. "However, upon reflection, I thought that the name Game Boy was dumb, REALLY thought that the name Xbox was dumb, and can't even recall my reaction to PlayStation. Let's face it, devices with cool names like Dreamcast and Gizmondo fail, and the lame names seem to do well."
Colin Sebastian, Lazard Capital Markets' senior research analyst for Internet and interactive entertainment, displayed Vulcan-like logic responding to the Wii revelation. "The success of the console will have much more to do with the quality of the games and the gameplay," he said. "Nintendo probably believes they've found a name that can stick with consumers. Revolution was catchy, but given similarities with the Xbox 360 name, perhaps Nintendo felt they had to make a change."
However, Nintendo is confident that, after the initial shock wears off, people will take to the Wii name. "The other systems have an extension of their current names -- ours is a new leap to something different," Nintendo of America vice president Perrin Kaplan told CNN/Money. A rep for the company echoed similar sentiments, assuring GameSpot that "the name will grow on you."
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