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Wii wii? Non non.
April 27, 2006 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Introducing Nintendo Wii The revolution is officially the Nintendo Wii: pronounced "we", as in 'to urinate'. If only we weren't coming to the end of april.
posted by 6am (150 comments total)

 
What? Nintendo? What are you doing to me?
/me jumps out of the timestream
posted by Plutor at 10:57 AM on April 27, 2006


Gonads and strife.
posted by driveler at 10:57 AM on April 27, 2006


i like the name. emphasis on WE but on WIFI too.
does sound positive in french anyway (OUI!) :D
posted by zenzizi at 10:57 AM on April 27, 2006


Here's the name.

Here's how you pronounce it.

Here's the lame justification for it.

Here's the person we're going to fire.
posted by jon_kill at 11:00 AM on April 27, 2006


I think I prefer to pronouce it "Why", as in "DEAR GOD NO, WHYYYYYYYYYYY!"
posted by shinji_ikari at 11:00 AM on April 27, 2006


Well, it's less awkward than "XBOX 360", but Revolution was a cool name :/
posted by Foosnark at 11:00 AM on April 27, 2006


I'm reading a lot of naysaying around the internet about this name. Personally, I don't think it's that bad, I like Nintendo's intentions with the whole console. It's definitely a better name than the Revolution which was fairly bland and uninspired if you ask me.

I don't plan on purchasing the console, but I don't think the name should alter anyone's decision over whether or not to buy it.

Besides it looks to be quite a neat and innovative contraption.
posted by cloeburner at 11:00 AM on April 27, 2006


According to the official site, the "ii" "symbolizes both the unique controllers and the image of people gathering to play".
posted by Plutor at 11:00 AM on April 27, 2006


Ouch. Terrible name. Extra half-point for effort, however, in trying to rationalize the double-i spelling.
posted by NationalKato at 11:01 AM on April 27, 2006


Ummm... ok.... wow... er... um.
posted by Meccabilly at 11:01 AM on April 27, 2006


I don't think the name should alter anyone's decision over whether or not to buy it.

What if it was called the Mussolinwii?
posted by jon_kill at 11:02 AM on April 27, 2006


jon_kill wins--A free Nintendo Wii!
posted by bardic at 11:03 AM on April 27, 2006


Ze official site. Sorry I missed out the full stop on the FPP. The name looks much better on the official marketing stuff...and I do appreciate the sentiment that the "ii" look sort of like the controllers...but to me "Wii" sounds unavoidably like "wee". It's like that Big Train sketch: "Titz, titz.".

I suppose the "HAHA wee HAHA nintendo wee like wee" gag is so obvious that nintendo haters will have to be more creative. Do you think they even bothered to consult their western counterparts before settling on the name?
posted by 6am at 11:03 AM on April 27, 2006


I heard Will Wright is working on a game for it.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:03 AM on April 27, 2006


Only one W away from World War 2.
posted by smackfu at 11:04 AM on April 27, 2006


What they haven't released is that one of the earlier drafts was the name "Wiinis," pronounced weenis. Symbolizing the similarities of using the new controller and waving your dick in the wind.
posted by NationalKato at 11:04 AM on April 27, 2006


Wii? Why? We know you're not trying to compete in the console wars this time Nintendo, and I was all behind the strategy of "everyone's second console", but are you just trying to not sell the thing? Stick with your codename, please. I guess I should just be glad its not called the iWii.
posted by Orange Goblin at 11:05 AM on April 27, 2006


I like Revolution way better. Was that name not cute enough?
posted by mathowie at 11:06 AM on April 27, 2006


You know what.

I have decided this is a 'good' thing.

I was mulling over weather to buy a 360 or wait for the Ps3 bt screw it... ill get my high deff thrills another way.. I want the cool remote control thingy.
posted by Meccabilly at 11:07 AM on April 27, 2006


Don't say 'Si', say 'Wii'.
posted by mazola at 11:11 AM on April 27, 2006


Wi-yi-yi. Why you gotta hurt me so good, Nintendo? Bad name aside, I'll still line up for a crack at it at E3, while calling it the "Double-you-two" all the time.
posted by boo_radley at 11:12 AM on April 27, 2006


I think its a great name.

Gameboy is hardly without fault and people dont think twice about it now do they? Same goes for SNES and NES.

Fans of PS2 and XBOX would rather it be called something manly like Revolution or Cybercock'n'balls.
posted by aqueousdan at 11:12 AM on April 27, 2006


Looking at the official, I can see the 'two people sitting together' aspect of the 'ii'. But the 'W'? It makes the name look like some crude asci porn of two midgets watching a stick-figure goatse.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:13 AM on April 27, 2006


That said, I'll buy one. Going sans-Sony this generation!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:14 AM on April 27, 2006


Well shit yeah, I'm not gonna not buy a console just because it has a ridiculous name. The...Nintendo Wii...is the only next gen console I'm vaguely interested in buying. They're the only ones who seem to realise that the future of gaming is finding original approaches to playing games, not the incredibly unoriginal approach of making them prettier in the hope that they'll be more fun to play.
posted by 6am at 11:16 AM on April 27, 2006


The emotional reaction to the name change, specifically those displaying a personal response "What are you doing to me?" is an interesting demonstration of how people link their self-identity with the products they own.
posted by jsonic at 11:16 AM on April 27, 2006


People will still buy it. I mean, they bought the Gamecube.
posted by NationalKato at 11:17 AM on April 27, 2006


I like the name too, and I like how it's just called Wii, no "the", just like Ukraine.
posted by bobo123 at 11:17 AM on April 27, 2006


Wheeeeee!!!!

I can't wait for the Wii WWII games.
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:17 AM on April 27, 2006


Incidentally, Canon cameras never released a model G4 (they jumped straight from G3 to G5) because apparently G4 sounds a little like the Japanese for "to die". Clearly Nintendo market research favours their home country.
posted by 6am at 11:21 AM on April 27, 2006


6am, the future of gaming is the games themselves, not the approach (remember the Eye-Toy?). That said, no one knows whether Nintendo's Wii games will be groundbreaking. The controller may make them frustrating, for one. I read a report stating that the controller was best used with the player standing up. That might've worked with coin-ops, but not anymore.
posted by NationalKato at 11:22 AM on April 27, 2006


crude asci porn of two midgets watching a stick-figure goatse

YAY!
posted by aqueousdan at 11:23 AM on April 27, 2006


Revolution was just a development codename. Dolphin was the GameCube's codename.
posted by zsazsa at 11:28 AM on April 27, 2006


Are you sure people won't stand for it, NationalKato? After all, look at the success of Dance Dance Revolution.

As for the controller being frustrating, the Wii will also support GameCube controllers. So theoretically, games that don't work well with the new controller can just use the old GC one.
posted by The Castle at 11:28 AM on April 27, 2006


I am thoroughly sick of "next gen" console hype. 1UP went as far as to say, "E3 just got a whole lot more interesting." No, it didn't. It's just the name, and a pretty lame one at that. "Mom, I'm going to go over to Billy's house and play with his Wii."

Here's an idea: how about releasing the next gen instead of talking about them endlessly for two years? Yeesh.
posted by MegoSteve at 11:28 AM on April 27, 2006


By the way, I thought PlayStation was the absolute stupidest name for a game console when it first came out. I think you can even find a post by me on rec.games.video.sega from 1994 making fun it.
posted by zsazsa at 11:30 AM on April 27, 2006


NationalKato, well the way I see it the approach and the game are really the same thing. Maybe I used the wrong word. Sure, a 'sword slashing' game on xbox is still a 'sword slashing' game on the "Wii", you're still using the same verbs, but the level of control afforded to the player on Nintendos console is unprecendented. It's not the same to push a button and see a move performed than to actually perform it yourself. But of course, I have no idea whether it'll work yet. Don't you think that the idea of standing up and actually moving your body is a step forward? I suppose it's down to what you want to invest in a gaming experience. Personally, I think getting arses off chairs and getting active is a plus.
posted by 6am at 11:34 AM on April 27, 2006


zsazsa, if you're the dude who coined the name 'GayStation,' you need a Bud Light 'Real Men of Genius' ad all your own. And a timemachine. And a copyright lawyer.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:34 AM on April 27, 2006


Nintendo: Killling the art of orthography one letter at a time.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:35 AM on April 27, 2006


The Castle, Dance Dance Revolution is an extreme example. Take the large library of highly popular games in non-dance genres (Zelda, Metroid, sports titles, RTS, RPG, etc.) that do not require physical motion to play and you're going to have a lot of gamers looking to sit down and concentrate on the game.

In the end, it's not Nintendo who will bring 'the future of gaming.' It's the developers. For many developers, it may not make much financial sense to create a totally seperate controller scheme for their games that must be cross-platform.
posted by NationalKato at 11:35 AM on April 27, 2006


Augh, even in the face of things like 'Dreamcast' and 'WonderSwan', this is a really horrible name. The sound of it connotes babytalk - 'wee world' etc - which can't possibly do them any favours. 'Revolution' wasn't at all manly, but it was definitely memorable and a world better than 'wii'.

Also, hold on a sec - is 'wee' used for urine in the US, too? Because I really can't believe they've called it something that's pronounced almost identically to a synonym for piss. Nintendo, what are you doing? Bad Nintendo! Bad!
posted by terpsichoria at 11:39 AM on April 27, 2006


zsazsa, PlayStation still is a dumb name. That's why people started referring to it by its cooler name of "PSX" pretty much right away, and the PS2 is referred to that way (also it saves a syllable, I guess). How can you make "Wii" easier to spit out? I guess boo_radley's "w-2" isn't so bad.
posted by ducksauce at 11:42 AM on April 27, 2006


Nintendo is the coolest name ever. Seriously, does anyone else remember the first time they heard that name? And the hard time adults had pronouncing it?

I don't hate this name, it's too complicated (needs an explanation) but at the same time, as they say, it works in every language pretty much. And, as someone here said, they are really focusing on Japan anyway.
posted by cell divide at 11:43 AM on April 27, 2006


sigh, I hate defending wee, but it is something that can appeal to non-gamers, which is the whole market they are going after. It's simple and fairly non-nerdy. But god, my inital impressions of it are it sounds like a 8 year old japanese girl came up with it.
posted by dig_duggler at 11:44 AM on April 27, 2006


I, for one am looking forward to Super Mario Wii.
posted by Plutor at 11:44 AM on April 27, 2006


Again, 6am, it will end up being personal preference. Sword slashing through the air with a handheld controller is too much 'Eye-Toy' for me - I'm perfectly content using an analog thumbstick (or analog trigger) for the back- and fore-swing action, currently showcased in sports titles and Oblivion, for example.

I guess my point is this: I don't want to hear about how the controller will let you slash through the air or swat baseballs or poke rubbery nubbins in virtual space. I want to hear about how the titles themselves will break boundaries with non-linear gameplay (see aforementioned Oblivion), expanded narratives (see Dreamfall adventure titles), and unique execution of classic/overdone genres (see Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter or Condemned).
posted by NationalKato at 11:44 AM on April 27, 2006


Nintendo Japanese,

Nintendo play joke,

Nintendo put wii wii in my coke...
posted by vronsky at 11:45 AM on April 27, 2006


I hope the Why works in my Nissan Morono.
posted by fenriq at 11:46 AM on April 27, 2006


In the end, it's not Nintendo who will bring 'the future of gaming.' It's the developers.

Of course. I'd be surprised if there weren't quite a lot of games released that don't use the remote thingie as the primary controller. You use whatever's most appropriate for the task. I'm sure there will be cross platform games, but I'm looking forward to the games developed exclusively for Nintendo. If the console and games are released at the right price I reckon there's a big market for Nintendo's Piss.
posted by 6am at 11:48 AM on April 27, 2006


I, for one am looking forward to Super Mario Wii.

How about Castlevania: Woeful Infamy Interlude.
posted by bobo123 at 11:48 AM on April 27, 2006


Aaaaaand the wee-wee jokes are pouring in from UK gaming forums all over the 'net...

I can't wait to have a wii in my lounge! I laughed so hard a bit of wii came out! Come the end of the year, we'll all want a wii!

Dear lord.

Then again, this is the same company who released Touch Kirby's Magical Paintbrish. They've never had a wii with names.
posted by terpsichoria at 11:49 AM on April 27, 2006


I blame Rome: Total War for making me unable to pronounce Wii as anything other than Wee-eye.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:51 AM on April 27, 2006


Seriously, I have no idea about this - does 'wee' mean 'urine' in US English?
posted by terpsichoria at 11:58 AM on April 27, 2006


I think the name is just fine. One syllable and sounds a lot like fun (whee!) Nintendo's simplicity is paramount to their success, bells and pretty pictures are secondary to gaming pleasure. I look forward to the different interface (controller.) I don't think this will turn into another GC debacle, I read somewhere they'll have 20 games @ launch. Not to mention the 1000 previous titles you can download (nintendo, sega, turbogfx.) (yeah, yeah, emu's, roms, etc) Time will tell.
posted by AllesKlar at 11:59 AM on April 27, 2006


I, for one am looking forward to Super Mario Wii.

Super Mario Sunshine Wii.
posted by smackfu at 11:59 AM on April 27, 2006


@terpsichoria--yes.
posted by Prospero at 12:04 PM on April 27, 2006


terpsichoria, 'wee' is used as slang for urine in the US, but usually by children.
posted by NationalKato at 12:05 PM on April 27, 2006


I want to hear about how the titles themselves will break boundaries with non-linear gameplay (see aforementioned Oblivion), expanded narratives (see Dreamfall adventure titles), and unique execution of classic/overdone genres (see Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter or Condemned).

Well that's fair enough. It's down to what you want from a game. Personally, it's the nitty gritty stuff that matters to me as much as what you mentioned - I love Oblivion and I loved Fahrenheit - and I'm sure that this is something developers for other consoles will focus on.

The thing is, although Nintendo games might not look as realistic as other consoles' games - they can still do with stories and non-linearities the same things other console developers can, but will afford you something the other consoles cannot - far greater control over the basics of the game itself. That level of control may not be appropriate for some games, but I can think of a lot of things it could improve.

Obviously it remains to be seen what the titles will offer.
posted by 6am at 12:05 PM on April 27, 2006


Oh god, it does? That's even worse than them just not having checked its meaning in UK English! This means literally hundreds of people inside Nintendo, inside dev studios and publishers and so on must have seen the name over the last few months, and nobody said anything!

The thing is, I'd have no problem with a couple of nonsense syllables implying fun or whatever - the Nintendo Yay, or the Nintendo Eep or something. It just strikes me that whatever marketing they try to do, whether it's to middle-aged women, elderly men, schoolkids or whoever, is going to be overshadowed by the pee jokes. It may only be used as a synonym for urine by children, but that's even worse - it makes Nintendo sound childish as well as ridiculous. The people they're trying to sell the thing to might not use the word themselves, but they'll certainly have heard it.
posted by terpsichoria at 12:10 PM on April 27, 2006


I'm going to try pronouncing it "wih", with a short i.
posted by breath at 12:14 PM on April 27, 2006


No one's mentioned it yet, but the Wii is very cool for this reason as well: it is extremely easy to remember and pronounce, and yet it is also extremely easy to Google. If I want to find the "Revolution", there are 350,000,000 hits. Nintendo gets three on the first page (which surprised me).

"Wii" is only competeing (right now) with the "Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun".
posted by Squid Voltaire at 12:15 PM on April 27, 2006


Squid Voltaire: ""Wii" is only competeing (right now) with the "Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun"."

I smell a lawsuit.

Yeah, I think that if you completely ignore how easy it makes it to mock the console, this is a really good name. The official site mentioned that this means there doesn't have to be any translation or anything anywhere. It's the Wii everywhere. What are the PlayStation and Xbox called in Farsi? Plus, it doesn't have to be abbreviated. It's short to say and short to type.
posted by Plutor at 12:19 PM on April 27, 2006


It's Lylat Wars all over again.
posted by reklaw at 12:20 PM on April 27, 2006


I like the "double-u too" pronunciation idea.

But how about making it EVEN COOLER and/or MORE X-TREEM!

The Dub-too!

The Dub-Deuce!
posted by papakwanz at 12:21 PM on April 27, 2006


The Dubya?
posted by NationalKato at 12:26 PM on April 27, 2006


The Doob Deux?

Doo-Doo!
posted by jefbla at 12:29 PM on April 27, 2006


The mob rules. You can like the name if you want, but the fact that so many people don’t means that it is a bad name. The point of choosing a name is to facilitate sales, if the name hurts sales more than it helps them it is a bad name. Don’t think that people don’t like the name because it’s bad, think the name is bad because people don’t like it.

I would Have called it the VS like the DS, because it is the fifth system and people play against each other. It has all the good things about V if your into convoluted marketing talk but it doesn't sound like your talking about and infant's dick.
posted by I Foody at 12:29 PM on April 27, 2006


I kinda like the name. It's kawaii. I certainly like the marketing video.

I think it would be fun to Wii... and probably even more enjoyable to Wii together!
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:38 PM on April 27, 2006


insomnia_lj: I think I'm going to Wii on you.
posted by papakwanz at 12:39 PM on April 27, 2006


This is RETARDED.

You know what's going to happen? Everybody's just going to continue calling it the Revolution. Because that name is better... and that's how it was introduced and promoted! Remember, "what's the lineup for the Revolution?... How about that Revolution controller? it revolves!... they're gonna have NES games on the Revolution!"

No one in the WORLD is going to call it a goddamn wii, because that name sounds dumb. It already has a meaning, and that meaning is piss. Anyone who calls it a Wii, I am certain, will be regarded in the same way as people who call frisbees "flying discs," q-tips "cotton swabs" and band-aids "elastic bandages." kind of backwards, but similar disdain. I think Nintendo will buckle and change it.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:40 PM on April 27, 2006


Twii.
posted by gigawhat? at 12:41 PM on April 27, 2006


The only problem with revolution is that Japanese people would have difficulty saying it.
posted by I Foody at 12:41 PM on April 27, 2006


In related news, Sony have announced that their next portable gaming device will be called Sony PeePee.
posted by eritain at 12:41 PM on April 27, 2006


BlackLeotardFront writes "It already has a meaning, and that meaning is piss."

C'mon; that's not even close to the most used meaning of that syllable in English. Its most common meaning, by far, is as the first person plural subjective pronoun. To say otherwise is disingenuous.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:46 PM on April 27, 2006


"if the name hurts sales more than it helps them it is a bad name"

So, in other words, the jury is still out on this one, right?!

BTW, why define success by what a few weenies in the US think about the name or not? They're going after a global market, here... and some could argue that since the console will probably be released in other countries first, sales there are what really matters, since they will be the ones which determine important factors like rate-of-adoption by game designers, which translates most directly into sales of the console back over here.

I think you could name it the Nintendo Advanced System (and market it as nADS) and it would sell like hotcakes if had the best software.

Gimme the games!
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:50 PM on April 27, 2006


Sure the jury is still out, but it seems to me the evidence points to it being a bad name. Just because it could have an even worse name and sell doesn't excuse paying people to come up with a dumb fuck name.
posted by I Foody at 12:56 PM on April 27, 2006


The problem is it sounds too asian. Obviously Sony and Nintendo are from Japan but its one thing to know this and another to be constantly reminded of the fact through the names of the products. Feeling like you have an import hurts business, this is why all the manuals are well translated and graphics redone English (or whatever market) style.

The site says "its like We." Well, why not just name it "We" then? I think Nintendo wants to brand their stuff with non-acronym acronyms. Like the DS. You'd think it stands for Dual Screen, but it officially doesn't stand for anything but DS.

Personally, it took me a long time to think of the Playstation as anything but a horribly named me-too console. "Its a station you can play at! How adorable!" Now Sony sticks to the PS acronym, which is a smart move.
posted by skallas at 12:58 PM on April 27, 2006


I've been saving this one up all day: wiik.

The way I see it, the name isn't for us. It's a pleasant, non-threatening name for people who normally wouldn't think about touching a console. It's a cute technology name like iMac or Vaio.

Nintendo is not going after the same market as the Xbox or PS3. They're going after the other (large number)% of the world (plus the old-school Nintendo fans).
posted by Sibrax at 1:12 PM on April 27, 2006


I thought PlayStation was the absolute stupidest name for a game console

Are you kidding? It's great. You work on your workstation; you play on your playstation. In one stroke Sony dissed PC-based gaming (why would you play on something meant for work?) and defined their console as the alternative.
posted by kindall at 1:27 PM on April 27, 2006


The naysayers are undoubtedly right. Consider the critical misstep that was iPod.

Nintendo will or will not make an unprecedented amount of money and weild a huge sea-change in game development with this console. If they fail to do so, they will still sell a crapload of consoles and make a profit.

The name is, as has been noted, collision free. Google "wii" for yourself. It is a striking and memorable name—this is key. All the sophomoric giggling about urination will not defeat that. Nintendo is not some withering Howard Dean, to be shamed into apologizing for an enthusiastic outburst. They know what they are doing, and what they are doing is generating buzz and sealing, in the minds of millions, a newly coined brand name.

I love certain major Sony-centric games with embarassing ardor, but I won't be upgrading to a PS3 any time soon. Xboxen are right out as well. But I'll be buying a Wii without hesitation, for on primary reason:

I like games. I like having fun; I like enjoying, and not slogging through, my entertainment. I have, as I've aged, become less the intense hardcore gamer and more the Guy Who Likes Games. I discuss with my wife whether or not we should undertake a replay of one of the several FF games we own, and we get caught up on the various design missteps that would bear heavy on our attentions for the forty hours required for a (brisk) playthrough.

posted by cortex at 1:28 PM on April 27, 2006


Dumbest console name since Xbox 360.

Wonderswan is still my favorite name ever.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:37 PM on April 27, 2006


Incidentally, Canon cameras never released a model G4 (they jumped straight from G3 to G5) because apparently G4 sounds a little like the Japanese for "to die".

In Japanese, the number 4 is "shi", same as the Chinese-derived reading of 死, the kanji for "to die". The coincidence is similar in Cantonese. 4 is considered the unluckiest number in both Japan and China, for that reason. In Japan, sometimes you see room numbers, seat numbers, etc. that skip number 4, and you should not give gifts in sets of 4. So skipping "G4" was probably a good marketing idea.
posted by vorfeed at 1:45 PM on April 27, 2006


Imgagine though everytime someone says "WE" from now on you will think of the new nintendo console . That 's viral!
posted by grex at 1:47 PM on April 27, 2006


thanks for the extra info vorfeed.

C'mon; that's not even close to the most used meaning of that syllable in English. Its most common meaning, by far, is as the first person plural subjective pronoun. To say otherwise is disingenuous.

I agree, however it took me all of two seconds to think..."we. wee. Nintendo Wee.", and now I can't hear it any other way. That's what counts. It won't change whether I buy one or not, but I still think it's a very poor choice of name for the US/UK market. They'll love it in France and Scotland though.
posted by 6am at 2:00 PM on April 27, 2006


In other news, their marketing strategy will be to push the unprecedented level of immersion players will experience.

The slogan: "Nintendo Wii: You're in the game!"
posted by papakwanz at 2:03 PM on April 27, 2006


The pee jokes are not what counts. The first time someone sees someone having a good time with it, or sees a demo in the store, or hears an enthusiastic anecdote from a gamer—that is what counts. Folks can only keep up the pee jokes for so long; they'll have peaked and faded months before the console even hits (and commences flying off of) shelves.
posted by cortex at 2:06 PM on April 27, 2006


The thing that amazes me most is that - in this interview - Nintendo are comparing the name to things like Yahoo! or Google. The problem is that those names were meaningless when they were first introduced. They might have sounded silly because they were unusual, unexpected words, but they didn't already carry any negative baggage. The only use of the 'wee' sound as a noun in English that I'm aware of (Scots aside) is to describe urine. It's an incredibly common word when used as a pronoun, but that's not how Nintendo are using it. By comparison, there was no existing usage of 'yahoo' or 'google' as nouns, so the companies were free to define whatever meaning they wanted.

cortex, time will tell and of course this is all blind speculation, but I'm worried the pee jokes are exactly what counts. The very non-gamers and long-term lapsed gamers Nintendo want to market this to are just going to think this is ridiculous, babyish and faintly embarrassing. Discounting it as 'tongue-in-cheek' or 'sophomoric' is misunderstanding the way people will relate to this. We net-savvy types might all have gotten through every Wii-related joke by next week, and be thoroughly used to the name in a month, but the people Nintendo wants to bring in from the non-gaming cold, so to speak - the people it has to convince they want to play games at all - are going to be hearing the name for the first time, and the immediate association is always going to be piss.
posted by terpsichoria at 2:14 PM on April 27, 2006


terpsichoria: "By comparison, there was no existing usage of 'yahoo' or 'google' as nouns, so the companies were free to define whatever meaning they wanted."

Both yahoo and google were nouns, although the latter was a misspelling. Both are even in the dictionary. Yahoo: "A crude or brutish person." (What's that? A negative connotation?) Googol: "The number 10 raised to the power 100 (10100)".
posted by Plutor at 2:20 PM on April 27, 2006


Yahoo also existed (in a positive context) as a shout of joy. Indeed, those were not blank slates at all.

Only in fevered dreams could I believe that someone who was otherwise in any way inclined to purchase a Wii would shrink back because, dear god, it's name invokes a baby-talk word for urine. And the idea that folks would refuse to begin to consider it based on the name strikes me as equally absurd. It's not an entry in a Good Names contest; it is a name attached to interesting entertainment hardware.

The only use of the 'wee' sound as a noun in English that I'm aware of (Scots aside) is to describe urine.

We, the rest of the English-speaking world, might argue with you on that.
posted by cortex at 2:29 PM on April 27, 2006


"the evidence points to it being a bad name"

And what, pray tell, is your evidence?

I think it's a good name, although not very focused on the US market. I agree with the other comment -- it will do well in Asia, where it might actually matter the most. There's a huge, very active game market in South Korea, a country of 48 million, and, of course, a huge, emergent game market in China. Add in Europe, and you've easily got more potential customers than all of the US. So why an English word like "revolution"? Say "oui!" or "Wii", even.

It will also do well with females and non-traditional gamers. Given Nintendo's track record for creating fun, relatively non-violent games, this isn't a bad idea at all.

Really, I think what bugs people the most about this is that the name isn't English, and isn't focused on the American market. Well, I'm sorry to say this to some of you, but hey, if you haven't noticed yet, your country is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

From a BBC article of Sept. 2003:
"Nintendo is to start selling a version of its home video game console in China, becoming the first of the big console makers to break into the Chinese market. . . . Nintendo said it hopes "to see this market grow bigger than Japan, the United States or Europe."
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:32 PM on April 27, 2006


In the end, we'll just have to wait and see. I'd love to see Nintendo really succeed this generation, but it seems a shame to hamstring themselves with a name that, as far as I can see, doesn't carry any positive connotations over any other random group of syllables, but does potentially carry a lot of negative ones.

We, the rest of the English-speaking world, might argue with you on that.

Would you mind explaining, then, or do you only have time to be needlessly smug? If you're right and I'm wrong, please educate me so I won't make the same mistake again.
posted by terpsichoria at 2:39 PM on April 27, 2006


We, the rest of the English-speaking world, might argue with you on that.

The only use of the 'wee' sound as a noun in English that I'm aware of (Scots aside) is to describe urine.

But yeah, our objections are based on the association of the sound of the word "wii" and piss, because apart from the collective pronoun that's what it means to us (westerners).

Spend long enough referring to "wee" as a games console and spend enough fun time with the machine itself (building all kinds of positive associations with the name) and despite the word being pronouced the same it'll cease to make you think of 'piss', depending on the context. ie you'll grow to like it. which I'm sure I will too, it just takes time to create new associations.
posted by 6am at 2:42 PM on April 27, 2006


"We." I was trying to be cute, not smug; apologies if I caused any offense.

And yes, I glossed over the "noun" bit—I can't see why part of speech would matter.
posted by cortex at 2:43 PM on April 27, 2006


Yippie!

Oh, wait..make that

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:46 PM on April 27, 2006


I hear they've come out with a successor to the PowerPad for the Wii - they're apparently calling it the uRun...


*ba-dump bump*

Thanks folks, I'll be here all week. Try the borscht!"
posted by stenseng at 2:50 PM on April 27, 2006


My apologies too, cortex - I was getting combative myself, and for no good reason. I think Nintendo would do really well to market it with slogans along the lines of 'Wii love playing online' or 'Wii talk to each other' - to reinforce the association of the name with 'we' rather than 'wee' - but it's a bit of a concern that the only current usage of the name I've seen has been 'the Nintendo Wii', or 'the Wii'. You'd never see 'the we are going to play games' or 'the we love Nintendo', whereas you would see 'the wee got all over the carpet'. It's just associating the name with the much worse of two existing options, and I really hope Nintendo have a marketing campaign all lined up to fix that.
posted by terpsichoria at 2:50 PM on April 27, 2006


Agreed. And if they put out a quirky launch title called "Golden Showers", I'll apologize to everyone present. :)
posted by cortex at 2:53 PM on April 27, 2006


Cortex: It may be true that "We" is the most common meaning of that phoneme, the most common meaning in english of that phoneme when used as a noun or a verb is urine and urination.

Say: look at that wii, I'm going to wii, i'm going to play with my wii, i'm going to buy a wii, you are certainly not going to think of "We", but "Wee", that is -- urine.
posted by empath at 2:57 PM on April 27, 2006


In other words, in every single context in which 'wii' could conceivably used in a sentence, it will illicit snickers. No one is giong to say, "Wii are going to the store", ever.
posted by empath at 2:59 PM on April 27, 2006


I think they just need to flip it all around. Instead of Nintendo Wii, it's a Wii Nintendo!

Get a jaunty Irishman to v.o. all the commercials!



INSTANT SUCCESS.
posted by stenseng at 2:59 PM on April 27, 2006


I understand the pee connection. I get that. I promise. I think it's a non-issue for a variety of reasons, but I get it.

It's worth noting, however, that "we" is a pronoun; pedantic reassertions that "wee" is a noun aren't doing much for me at this point, accordingly.

And the reasonable thing to note is that, a year from now, "I'm going to play some wii" will invoke the game system more than either urine or collective pronouns. It's reasonable to expect that folks will favor phrases less likely to generate these humorous ambiguities once the novelty of the pee-jokes passes.

We might as well argue that Google ought to have failed, as folks would have been stymied by all this discussions of very large numbers. "Googol it? With what, my graphing calculator?!" Etc. Language changes, and folks tend to enjoy adapting new terms.
posted by cortex at 3:03 PM on April 27, 2006


An interview with the PR director at nintendo
posted by empath at 3:05 PM on April 27, 2006


My partner just reminded me that we've got the Official Wii Magazine to look forward to, and the promise of forthcoming games being thoroughly covered in Official Wii. Hopelessly juvenile I may be, but the name's really starting to grow on me :)

(In all seriousness, it actually is growing on me. Taken as Nintendo mean it, and used to replace 'we' in advertising, it does a good job of being quirky and reinforcing the community rather than competitiveness and inclusiveness rather than over-complexity that Nintendo are aiming for. I'm still concerned about how the general public will take it, but that's all down to Nintendo's marketing people now, I guess. I'd love to see Nintendo be the ones to set the tone for the next geneation of videogames, so here's hoping they don't stuff it up.)
posted by terpsichoria at 3:05 PM on April 27, 2006


China Game Market: $2.1 Billion in 2010.

Considering that their market is currently $683 million, that's a ton of growth in the next four years... and Nintendo is excellently positioned to be at the forefront of that marketplace with this new system. They've already got a head start in the console market in China, and they obviously hope to capitalize on China's interest, esp. their interest in multiplayer gaming.

What Nintendo really needs, IMO, is a game for their system with an actual economy, such as WoW, as there are numerous Chinese gamers out there playing with the intent of making money by selling gold, leveled characters, etc. Nintendo's Virtual Console is well-positioned to become the bank / marketplace for such user-created commerce. If this happens, expect Nintendo to pocket a commission on such virtual sales.

"I consider our virtual console concept the video game version of Apple’s iTunes music store." - Satoru Iwata.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:06 PM on April 27, 2006


I'd buy the 'Wii' = 'we' connection more if they hadn't doubled up the 'i.' I haven't heard an official pronunciation of 'Wii' yet, but in my mind it's a long vowel and that makes it sound more like 'wee' than 'we' to me. Presumably 'Wi' doesn't google as well though.
posted by zanni at 3:17 PM on April 27, 2006


I don't know if there was an Official Pronunciation, but the AP stories have been pretty clear about the "wii sounds like we" angle; and the Japanese pronunciation is similar—the Japanese "i" sound is like the "long e" in English we, thee, see etc.

The doubled i denotes holding the vowel longer, a distinction we don't really formally make in English. For example, we distinguish "we" from "wee" graphically and semantically, but they are phonologically identical so far as I can discern.

While "wi" might not be too ambiguous for English speakers, I think "wii" is even less so.
posted by cortex at 3:23 PM on April 27, 2006


distinction we don't really formally

Poor choice of words—it's a distinction we certainly don't informally make. I'm sure a Pheonetician would have some formal objections.
posted by cortex at 3:25 PM on April 27, 2006


1. My evidence that it's a bad name is that most people who have reacted to it have reacted very negatively. That's all I'm going on but since there isn't much more to go on I don't think it's so bad.

2. My problem is not that it sounds like baby talk or that it is slang for piss or that it is the but of penis jokes (though those are strikes against it). My problem is that it uses a pronoun as a brand name and just hearing it used in a sentance sounds stupid to me. If I were to make up a bullshit word like Glypist or Loopdid and use either of them in a senance as a noun they would sound less stupid than we.

3. Why don't they incorporate a swashtika into the logo? In China and Korea and Japan that might not pose problems. They don't because there is no need to and it is an international product. I think they can put their heads together and come up with something better than this.

4. I'm not ragging on the console, it has me really interested, but I don't like the name and will never like the name. It's not a deal breaker or anything but it seems like a major blunder.
posted by I Foody at 3:38 PM on April 27, 2006


It is an international product, and by all reports so far it's not a problem (or a pronoun, for that matter) for any non-Anglo market. Nintendo likes American gamer money, but they're a quintessentially Japanese company. What you see as a major blunder they likely see as a mere blip, or as a happy opportunity for a ridiculous amount of brand-buzz in this market.

The swastika comparison is ridiculous.
posted by cortex at 3:43 PM on April 27, 2006


If I were to make up a bullshit word like Glypist or Loopdid and use either of them in a senance as a noun they would sound less stupid than we.

Loop-did, loop-done, looptid.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:47 PM on April 27, 2006


You melt like sand to form the glass, joe. Admit it.
posted by cortex at 3:50 PM on April 27, 2006


I just used the swastika example because it was the first thing that I could think of off the top of my head that is acceptable in Asia but frowned upon here. I don't believe this mistake to be at all equivalent in magnitude.

My point is not seeing this as a problem is a problem. If I was marketing a product in Japan I'd make damn sure that the name of the product was not another word for piss. But that's just me.
posted by I Foody at 3:50 PM on April 27, 2006


I was just thinking....

You know, I really think it's getting named that because of how damn small the system is. The thing is tiny, the figure that keeps getting bandied around is the size of three stacked DVD cases. I think the sales box will probably be ultra small as well -- and that could be really cool, with that name.

It'll be interesting to see how Nintendo plays this out. I think it just might work.
posted by JHarris at 3:52 PM on April 27, 2006


The swastika comparison is ridiculous.

"The swastika is a holy symbol in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism"

The piss association will fade as people get used to referring to the console as Wii, but I still can't disagree with people who think the name sounds weak. However, Nintendo have shown their intention isn't to do another 'macho bullshit we're hard and we've got the fastest console' console.
posted by 6am at 3:53 PM on April 27, 2006


I am aware of the history of the swastika. The comparison was ridiculous because it sought to compare the US-centric offensiveness of the symbol with the US/UK-centric offensiveness of the term wee-as-in-piss. I Foody acknowledged as much, above.
posted by cortex at 4:00 PM on April 27, 2006


This is RETARDED.

don't you mean wiitarded?
posted by mrgrimm at 4:05 PM on April 27, 2006


heh!
posted by 6am at 4:20 PM on April 27, 2006


Ha!
posted by cortex at 4:23 PM on April 27, 2006


I have never based my purchasing decision for a product on the name. Never.
posted by graventy at 4:27 PM on April 27, 2006


At least Ayds diet candy had the excuse of being around before the disease. This, there's no excuse.

Also:


posted by darukaru at 4:29 PM on April 27, 2006


Oh and saying Nintendo Wii sounds like an adjective for something that is reminiscent of nintendo, Nintendoey
posted by I Foody at 4:38 PM on April 27, 2006


This is a terrible name.

Sure, people who are into nintendo consoles will still buy one. There's only so much power to a name. The problem is that to people over here, the name sounds of both baby talk and piss. It sounds monumentally stupid. People who do research will not be dissuaded based on it, but people who only know of it by the name are going to start expecting it to be retarded. After all, the name is.

Not to mention that video gaming and nintendo in general already have a reputation of being for the kiddies. A baby talk name will just reinforce that in everyone's minds.

The worst part is, they already had a good name. "Revolution" was about the best name they could have hoped for. It's mature, it's dynamic, and it's descriptive (after all, it's intended to revolutionize gaming and has the revolutionary controller.) It sounds good and it goes right out and says what the console is supposed to accomplish. It was excellent. Probably everyone will keep calling it that, like one of the above posts claimed, because talking about the wii sounds like something that should be going on in a urologists' office. I can't imagine having a conversation with that word in it and not feeling my dignity draining away.

Maybe Wii sounds like the most brilliant thing ever in Japanese. I don't know. They do know they can call it different things in different markets, right? Call it the Wii in Japan and the Revolution over here. Or just anything but Wii. Wii is the single worst name I've ever seen for any product. It won't doom it; I imagine it will still succeed or fail on it's own merits (the controller is probably the linchpin and will either make it or doom it.) But it bet it will affect it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:44 PM on April 27, 2006


count me amongst the "good name" clan.
posted by firemouth at 4:54 PM on April 27, 2006


"Looks like a good solid name for Nintendo," said an optimistic Michael Gartenberg, laying down his crack pipe and inserting a hypodermic needle into his eye. "The key is making sure they follow up with a strong launch campaign to evangelize the new brand and help drive the message forward. Do you perhaps have any money you could give me so I can buy some food?"
posted by 6am at 4:54 PM on April 27, 2006


Also, I hate "xbox360" but I loves me some xbox360. I didn't think twice about buying it because of my disdain for it's awkward moniker. (the price, though...) So , I bet intendo players (that's what we called them-intendo) will buy them silly-if they're any good and the controller isn't too weird. I think large swaths of 30ish gamers will just call it "the new nintendo" for the majority of its viable shelf life.
posted by firemouth at 5:04 PM on April 27, 2006


Caught red-handed, cortex. Nicely played.

... and if ya missed it, I am the one who said just grab 'em in the biscuits.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:11 PM on April 27, 2006


Boy, what focus group thought that was a good idea? All of my workmates are laughing their asses off at this.

Wii... whew. Not good at all.

Prediction: new name announced at (or simultaneous with) E3, amid much embarrassed bowing and apologizing.

C'mon, Shig, Revolution was fine.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:25 PM on April 27, 2006


Personally, it reminds me of Muhammad Ali's famous poem:

"Me. Whee!"
posted by papakwanz at 6:36 PM on April 27, 2006


It's obvious that Wario is behind this.
posted by jtron at 6:42 PM on April 27, 2006


"What you see as a major blunder they likely see as a mere blip, or as a happy opportunity for a ridiculous amount of brand-buzz in this market."

*Nods.* From what I've seen, the debate about the name change is mostly free advertising.

When the fancy graphics start flying, and the prerelease ad campaign kicks in, people will think differently. It would be easy to sell, really.

A simple idea for a short TV spot:

Caption: "Let's play a game."
(Cut to fast-moving PvP looking, serious fragging action)
Caption: Together.
(Graphics and gameplay show a wide variety of games, getting progressively more intense.)
Caption: You.
Music: *STOMPSTOMPCLAP! STOMPSTOMPCLAP!*
Caption:Me.
(Show person wirelessly connecting to a multiplayer game server.)
Caption: Us.
Music: o/~ " Wii will Wii will rock you!"
(Fancy graphical flourish w/ sound effects, animated logo.)
Modulated computer Voice: Wii.

---------------

Really, it wouldn't be too hard to sell, I'd think.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:00 PM on April 27, 2006


Indeed.

Also: Wii. Self-link.
posted by cortex at 7:04 PM on April 27, 2006


Surely everyone's just going to go back to calling it Nintendo? "What are you doing?" "Playing Nintendo".
posted by bonaldi at 7:04 PM on April 27, 2006


From the interview link:
For a long time there we’ve been discussing the name and there was a lot of talk, and this is what the committee came up with. It was a large group of people that came up with the name.

Committees are fucking stupid.
posted by bonaldi at 7:08 PM on April 27, 2006


It's obvious that Wario is behind this.
posted by jtron at 6:42 PM PST on April 27 [!]


Mii? Lii? Luigi never gets any love, man.

I honestly didn't get the piss thing until I read the 1up article on it. Maybe it's my Scottish upbringing showing, but I thought about the size thing first. (Aww, lookit the wii console...)

In the long run, once the silliness wears off this will probably only be considered a bad name by those on gaming forums who frequently use such words as "gaystation". Myself, I don't care what it's called, so long as it has fun games. :>
posted by kosher_jenny at 7:19 PM on April 27, 2006


Absolutely amazing is the whois trawl. Try out whois wiifanboy or wiiplanet, or whatever. All registered today.
posted by neustile at 7:58 PM on April 27, 2006


I can't wait to read the Wiki on Wii.

Stupid name. I'll still probably buy the console though (cause I'm a Nintendo whore). I'll just ignore the official name and keep calling it the Revolution. That's my plan.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:11 PM on April 27, 2006


"Googol it? With what, my graphing calculator?!"

I don't know why, but that line just has my laughing.

Oh, and great song.
posted by visual mechanic at 8:13 PM on April 27, 2006


I can't wait to read the Wiki on Wii.

Don't!

I second visualmechanic, nice tune cortex!
posted by 6am at 8:40 PM on April 27, 2006


Surely everyone's just going to go back to calling it Nintendo? "What are you doing?" "Playing Nintendo".
posted by bonaldi


You're absolutely correct.
posted by NationalKato at 9:22 PM on April 27, 2006


Nice job, cortex!
posted by NationalKato at 9:23 PM on April 27, 2006


Wii. W2. Double-yoo-two.

It's the Nintendo Double Deuce!
posted by wanderingmind at 9:36 PM on April 27, 2006


One more for bonaldi's analysis, with an addendum: many non-gamers have continued to refer to Nintendo systems, and games in general, as "Nintendo" in accordance with a trend started about twenty years ago.

"You kids with your nin ten doh and your rap music &c..."
posted by cortex at 9:59 PM on April 27, 2006


Pilot Wiings? Seriously - the name's a grower. We'll get over it. Revolution would have been too generic. The wee thing is nowhere near as bad as Toyota not working out that maybe they should rename the MR2 for the French market.
posted by nthdegx at 12:45 AM on April 28, 2006


At least it's not the Nintendo Puu.
posted by PenDevil at 2:21 AM on April 28, 2006


You know what the absolute best thing is? The Wii is being distributed in the UK by a company called Koch.

You really cannot make this shit up.
posted by terpsichoria at 3:42 AM on April 28, 2006


It could have been worse.
posted by emmastory at 6:40 AM on April 28, 2006


My evidence that it's a bad name is that most people who have reacted to it have reacted very negatively.

We're talking about gamers. On the internet. Reacting negatively is what they do. Nothing gets positive attention until it's obselete.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:01 AM on April 28, 2006


dagny: I'm a gamer, and I have boundless enthusiasm for new, exciting things. I can't wait for the Rev! In fact, I get pretty excited when I get a new component cable. I have enthusiasm to spare.

But I still think the new name could be a problem for them unless they're very clever with their marketing. And whatever the virtues of Nintendo Japan and Nintendo US, Nintendo Europe wouldn't know a good marketing campaign if it sidled up to them while they were on the loo and drank their wee.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:22 AM on April 28, 2006


When i heard about the name change I felt shocked because the name "Revolution" said so much to me as an extremely bored gamer. After 10 or so hours of the news sinking in the name change started to make a heap of sense. Changing the name away from Revolution takes away any ego that comes with it, leaving a void to fill with fun, enjoyment and everything else that nintendo does best.

That being said, yes Wii is unusual, but its too early to judge. I think I might like it.
posted by a. at 8:45 AM on April 28, 2006


If negative reaction to the name in the West continues, I wonder if different markets will see different names for the system. Like how the Super Nintendo (SNES) was known in Japan as the Super Famicom and in South Korea as the Super Comboy. One would hope so, anyway.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:10 PM on April 28, 2006


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