Saturday, April 29, 2006

Nintendo introduce Wii

In the world of technology, there are two names that consistently impress me with their ability to mix innovation, humanity and fun. Apple is one, Nintendo is the other. Another characteristic they both share is influence far beyond that which their sales figures might suggest. Look at any list of 'greatest computer games ever' and Nintendo titles will be in the top ten.

For some time Nintendo has been talking about releasing a new console. Code-named 'Revolution', its main feature is a revolutionary new 'joypad', which will work in a similar way to a television's remote control (for more info, click here).

Yesterday, Nintendo announced the launch name of its next games console with this typically quirky (and frustratingly brief) press release.

Introducing... Wii

As in 'We'.

While the code name 'Revolution' expressed our direction, Wii represents the answer.

Wii will break down the wall that separates video game players from everybody else.

Wii will put people more in touch with their games... and each other.

But you're probably asking: What does the name mean?

Wii sounds like 'We', which emphasises this console is 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.

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.

So, that's Wii. But now Nintendo needs you.

Because, it's really not about you or me.

It's about Wii.

And together, Wii will change everything.

A small QuickTime video was also released.

Geek forums are already awash with 'shock/gasp/horror' comments on the 'silly' name. It's already growing on me. It sidesteps the need to create another 'gamestation' derived title. And, of course, like most nouns, context and usage will soon see it used without a second thought, joining the ranks of the existing computer games looney tunes vocabulary (Bibble Bobble, Nintendogs, Donkey Kong, Super Smash Bros, Yoot Saito's Odama, etc...).

For those of you interested, IGN have released a good interview with Nintendo's VP of corporate affairs.

And finally, is it only me who finds the 'Wii' name, the logo, and the movie's style, incredibly Apple/Pixar-like?


Anonymous said...

Nintendo execs talked about Apple a few times since 2005.

They clearly indicated that they wanted to use "disruptive marketing", literally saying that they were inspired by Apple. I think that the name "Wii" is part of this approach.

The president of Nintendo, Mr. Iwata is a PowerBook user (probably has MacBook Pro by now). He also quoted Steve Jobs at last year's E3. Shigeru Miyamoto was a Mac user a few years ago, and he's probably still one.

An alliance between Apple and Nintendo would be insanely great from my point of view. They share similar goals and design philosophies, while being perfectly complementary.

Nintendo wants to stay focused on gaming, while Apple could provide the NES/SNES/N64 game store infrastructure to Wii.

Apple could also sell music and video through the Wii network and enable native iPod connectivity. The drive part of iPods could also be used to store downloaded games. They could also design the OS and take care of the non-gaming aspect.

Best of all, the main hub interface could be a modified Front-Row, controlled by the Wii remote which is in some ways similar to the Apple 6 buttons remote...

Maybe, ultimately, the name "Wii" was in part created to mean: "We, Nintendo and Apple..." and that they will announce the alliance at E3 2006 in a few days.

I guess it's just wishful thinking... but it's not totally impossible.

brett jordan said...

Excellent comment Anon, thanks. Brett.

ConradGempf said...

Only TWO names consistently impress you with innovation, humanity and fun? What about "Gempf"? Oh... I see... you limited it just to the world of technology. OK....

Don't you think console-skeptics like me will pronounce the name "Why?" I suppose there are good reasons they couldn't spell it with "e"s, though: already gamers all over the world are going to be saying, "Excellent! Homework's done. Time for me to go Wii."

The main thing that they could do to "break down the wall that separates game players from everyone else" is have the console's games automatically lock up for 45 minutes when supper is ready and for 7.5 hours at bedtime.

Do you think that Apple are now readying the iiPod? (A name with a pleasantly jaunty nautical ring to it.) Or the iPod ii?

I'm looking forward to the Nintendo game covering the global conflict from 1914-18: WWi for Wii.

Maybe the next version of it could be called the Wiii (pronounced Aye-yi-yi).

brett jordan said...

"Gempf"... "Innovation"?... "Gempf"... "Humanity"?... "Gempf"... "Fun"?... erm...

"Gempf"... "Innovation"?... "Gempf"... "Humanity"?... "Gempf"... "Fun"?... Nope, still nothing!

And with a name like 'Gempf', you're mocking something with a weird-sounding name? :-)

Personally, I predict a huge growth in Nintendo market-share around the Northumbria area, where 'Why aye' is Geordie dialect for 'Oh yes!'.

on a serious note, this 'i'd like a console that only works when i want it to' stuff continues to bug me... i mean, no one ever made a book, or a board game that only worked certain times of the day, and not many people moan about that... surely it is up to humans to decide when they (and their children), do and don't use technology of all kinds?

ConradGempf said...

Mmm... on that serious note, here's the thing. The console doesn't just replace the board game, it also replaces the other player. The console doesn't just replace the book, it replaces Aunt Judi reading the book. So kids learned to stop when called because Freddy had to go home to have supper too and "Oh, Aunt Judi, don't stop THERE!" "Sorry, kids, but it's time for supper." And sometimes it was you who stopped early and sometimes it was the other kid and you learned that they would forgive you just like you forgave them. Now the console's always willing to play and often not very forgiving to folks who have to leave right now.

brett jordan said...

ok... point taken for kids who need things read to them... or kids who are only happy when playing with other kids...

to me, books were very analagous to games consoles... my family were very willing to provide me with reading material ANY time i wanted it... somehow books fitted into the 'good' part of the venn diagram... no matter what the content...

games machines/books/bicycles/hula hoops/running shoes all fit into a similar category... they can sit on the floor unused, they can be used properly, or they can become an obsessive and unhealthy object of our hopes and dreams... surely the point is to educate ourselves/our children/our society to understand that technology is a thing that is morally neutral, but which needs to be organised/harnessed/controlled to benefit its users.

Anonymous said...

I read this on BBC. The best Satire was, "Eat, Sleep, Wii". read on here

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