The name--which is pronounced "we"--is meant to invoke the feeling of cooperation that comes when people play games together. Further, Nintendo said, the written name is meant to visually conjure up the image of two people standing together.
"The goal is we are a highly innovative company and we want the name to speak to that innovation and uniqueness," said Perrin Kaplan, Nintendo's vice president of marketing and corporate affairs. "If you were to look at (the name of the controller) visually, the point isn't just how you pronounce it, but it symbolizes the controllers, which are one of the most innovative and unique parts of the system.
The Wii, which is expected to launch in the fourth quarter, is Nintendo's answer to Microsoft's, and Sony's . Nintendo has, so far, been differentiating what has been known as the Revolution by promoting its controller, which players will hold in a single hand like a remote control.
In any case, Kaplan admitted that some people won't know how to pronounce "Wii" but said Nintendo will embark on an ambitious campaign to ensure that's not a problem come the console's expected fourth-quarter launch.
That push will include disseminating a Web video--currently available at Nintendo.com--as well as television ads that will begin airing later this year.
"We think that after some time," Kaplan said, "people will become comfortable with it. But it will strike people as different, and that's what we're after."