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Nintendo's 'Wii' Just A Marketing Gimmick? 356

An anonymous reader writes "Tom's Hardware has an editorial up on the Nintendo Wii in which the author postulates that the new name may be a bigger PR stunt than it looks. From the article: 'Saying Wii is controversial mainly in the English-speaking world (the Japanese can't even pronounce it); in France, for instance, it's a homonym for oui. But the upcoming E3 Expo plays mostly to an English-speaking crowd, even though it's an international event. It's just over a week to E3, where Sony fans will be all giddy and running around like they have a Blu-ray chasing their tails. Amid all this, Nintendo announces a name change which is not only interesting, but controversial. You can't not notice it. Essentially, Nintendo steals more than a wee bit of Sony's thunder.'"
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Nintendo's 'Wii' Just A Marketing Gimmick?

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  • by Wind_Walker ( 83965 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @01:53PM (#15232614) Homepage Journal
    I knew the strange name was a PR stunt when it was on the front page of the whole day of the announcement, followed shortly by postings on Fark and two posts here on Slashdot.

    I don't think they're going to rename it again to get rid of the naysayers, but the timing of the announcement and the uniqueness of it was pretty clearly a PR ploy.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:31PM (#15232773)
      Honestly, I'm not too sure that Nintendo named the Revolution Wii simply to gain press; I do think that Nintendo recognized that the Hard-Core segment of the gaming population would dislike the name and that simply releasing the name would provide a lot of press.

      The question I want to ask is why does the Hard-Core gaming population hate the name Wii?

      Personally, I think I know the answer. When you watch Nintendo's flash video you'll realize that Wii is not just cute, it's simply adorable; adorable in a way that only women and gay men really understand. The fact is that this is simply unacceptable to much of the gaming population because they wanted something edgier and cooler like "Nintendo Revolution Extreme 1080".

      Face it, Nintendo may make games for them (and the system may be great for them) but Nintendo is no longer actively marketing towards Hard-Core gamers; with Animal Crossing, Brain Training and Nintendogs Nintendo has realized that they can be very successful with non-traditional gamers on a level no one ever has been (non-traditional as in women).

      Will they be successful? I don't know, but the Nintendo DS has (so far) sold faster than the PS2 did simply because their potential market was much larger.
      • Or straight men who wear women's clothing. Not that I'd know...

        SHUT UP!
      • "...adorable in a way that only women and gay men really understand."

        And therefore the name makes PERFECT sense, because women and gay men are the CORE of Nintendo's customer base. Right? Right?
        • They're the core of much of the "non-hardcore gamer" group, and this is the group Nintendo is now targetting to expand the gaming market beyond what it currently is, while Sony and Microsoft will be battling for the current gaming market Nintendo will be (and already is, see the DS) opening new ones.

          So in a sense even though you were sarcastic you're pretty much dead on.

      • by radish ( 98371 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @04:04PM (#15233210) Homepage
        I'm not a "hardcore" gamer (though I play a decent number of games). I think the name is dumb. My older brother IS a hardcore gamer, he works for Sega, and he thinks the name is dumb. My fiance is not a gamer. She likes Paper Mario and Bejewelled and that's about it. She thinks the name is dumb.

        Everyone I've spoken to (IRL) about this thinks the name is dumb, be they male or female, gay or straight. I don't need an edgy name, I think GameCube was a pretty good name - simple but descriptive. But Wii looks stupid on paper, and sounds even worse when actually pronounced.
        • by Meagermanx ( 768421 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @10:01PM (#15234513)
          Personally, I'd rather game consoles have cool, interesting names. First you had the Nintendo, which was nondescript, but had a ring to it. Then you had the Super Nintendo. That name was cool because it had the word "super" in it. Gameboy was patronizing, Virtual Boy was too homoerotic (for my tastes), Genesis was too Bibley, Saturn was a cool name, Lynx was okay, because it's a cat, as well, Gamegear was cool, because "gear" sounds all mechanical and cool, Playstation sounded dumb, as did Playstation 2, Playstation Portable, Gamecube, and DS. Dreamcast was a decent name, simply because it didn't mean anything. Then there's XBOX, which has the best name for a console since Super Nintendo. Plus, the thing's black.
          Personally, if I released a game maching, I'd name it something like "Psychotic Dragonskull: Mechanized Deathpod Maximized." Its logo would be a flaming skull with a dagger stuck through it, and a snake wrapped around a babe going through its eyes and mouth. The box itself would be a jet black sphere, and it would play overly-angsty deathmetal screams as it started up.
          And it's predecessor wouldn't be white or have the number three hundred and sixty in its name.
        • Even though this would be speculation, I wonder what the people you spoke to would say about these names when they were first announced:

          A web portal / search engine named YAHOO!
          An online store that sells books named AMAZON.
          An mp3 player called iPod.
          A computer company called ASUS (*sarcastic* could sound like ASS US lol)
          A lame handheld called the Nintendo DS.
          A car named Integra...*sarcastic* LOL they can't spell integral
          A game named Donkey Kong with no Donkey
          etc etc etc.

          The point is, in the end, t

      • by Hogwash McFly ( 678207 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @04:06PM (#15233217)
        The fact is that this is simply unacceptable to much of the gaming population because they wanted something edgier and cooler like "Nintendo Revolution Extreme 1080".

        No, they didn't.

        What about a regular, non-gimmicky, non-confusing name like the ones given to practically every other Nintendo system? Where would that fit into that false dichotomy of yours?
    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @03:07PM (#15232946)
      This is all pure speculation, but it is entirely possible that this whole thing is a big, albeit late, April Fool's joke. Consider the following scenario: Thousands of people are gathered around Nintendo's booth at E3 waiting for them to talk more about the Wii, DS, and other things. A spokesperson for Nintendo steps up to a podium and begins delivering a speech about the Wii. "Wii have a dream!" the spokesperson begins. The speech is filled with similar puns and word plays. As the speech ends, the spokesperson closes with, "Of course, wii're just joking. Viva la REVOLUTION!" Screens light up with pictures of the Revolution/Wii and some of the games that are going to be launched or are being worked on for the console. Throw in some banners, fireworks, or anything else to add to the overall emotional rush and the entire expo will be talking about it. No one's going to care about the PS3's launch or how many tera-majigaflops it can do and how it's better than the Xbox 360 and can play Blu-Ray movies. No one's going to care about Halo 3 demo (non-playable) that Microsoft came up with. Nintendo will essentially steal the show if they were to do something like this. The important part is that there's a lot of fanfare so that everyone gets caught up in the moment. They'll also need to keep the surprises and big announcements comming in a steady rate after that to keep the emotions running high. I'd suggest allowing people to get hands on and showing some good looking vaporware to keep people excited. Kudos if it isn't vaporware, but it really doesn't matter if it will keep people impressed. They'll get coverage based on the games they're releasing, but they'll get even more when every site that posted a story about the Wii has to post another one saying it was all a big gag that Nintendo played on everyone. Of course, like I said, this is all purely speculation.
  • Free PR (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 9mm Censor ( 705379 ) * on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:01PM (#15232647) Homepage
    If Nintendo said they were going to call the Wii say the Nintendo GameCube 2, would they have gotten near as much PR for the name? Lots of people know they name of nintendos new console, and Nintendo did little more than release a press release, it wasn't a multi million dollar ad campaign. genious!
    • There was a lot of PR for the name "Revolution" too, and that was a good name.

      • Re:Free PR (Score:5, Insightful)

        by masklinn ( 823351 ) <slashdot DOT org AT masklinn DOT net> on Sunday April 30, 2006 @04:09PM (#15233234)

        "Revolution" just sold among the geeks & gamers. Geeks and gamers aren't the market nintendo wants to create, it's not the segment they want to sell to, geeks&gamers already know, they know the controller, they know the console, some already know whether they'll buy it (if only at a second console next to an XBox360/PS3), most will know soon after it's release and won't base it on the name.

        Revolution was good to market the console to the enthusiasts and the early adopters, but that's not the population N wants to reach now. What they want are the non gamers, the ones who like slick logos and funny names (iPod anyone?), the non gamers.

        Plus the new name gives Nintendo and the Revo a unique spot among search engines. Google for "Revolution", see how many links are about the revo on page one. Now do the same with "Wii".

        • MOD PARENT UP! (Score:3, Interesting)

          Re. search engine scoring: excellent point; their marketing people must have taken that into consideration. It would virtually guarantee that any name they chose would have to have been completely unheard of in all major languages (except possibly as a little-known acronym).

          Consider the other criteria met by the name "Wii":

          It's short (one or two syllables, depending on how syllables are delimited in a language).

          It's easy to pronounce in all major languages (despite erroneous claims to the contrary).

          It loo
  • by djkitsch ( 576853 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:01PM (#15232648)
    ...that would kinda suggest that they're planning on either

    1) A name change (again) in the near future


    2) A different name for the Japanese market (a-la "Super Famicom")

    3) ...

    4) Profit!

    Oh, wait - I think I got confused a little along the way...
    • IDNSJ (I Do Not Speak Japanese) but it seems unlikely that it would be true to say "the japanese can't pronounce it".
      It seems more likely that they will use the same stylized logo and spelling (IIRC romanji is considered very stylish in japan anyway) and simply adjust the pronounciation to fit the local language.
      In English speaking countries, it is "We"
      In German speaking countries, "wie"
      In French speaking countries, "oui"
      ..etc. It's actually quite clever because it is a word in each of those languages. A single name and logo, and one can get "Wii play together" or "Parole juste Wii" (just say yes) or "Wii wir umziehen, wii wir spielen" (how we move, how we play).
      These are just theoretical ideas of course, but it nintendo were able to do find homonyms in other languages, it could create a globally recognized product name.
      • "Parole juste Wii" doesn't make any sense. I like where you're going, but translated back into English, it would be like saying "Fair word yes (Wii)." A better French translation would be "Dites (or 'dire') seulement 'Wii'."
      • Parole juste Wii
        We humbly bow to your expertise [] in marketing linguistics, thou king amongst men.
        • I was not claiming to speak french, as you surmised I did in fact use bablefish to translate. Someone else helpfully pointed out a better translation, I was merely trying to get a point across that.
      • You should note that Germans won't be able to pronounce it at all. In Germany there is no "w" sound, only "v" (although the letter 'w' is used). This is traditionally lampooned by every WW2 movie and all episodes of Hogan's Heroes.

        "Wie" is NOT pronounced "Wii", it's pronounced "vee."

        So in Germany, "Wii" is simply unpronounceable.

        • It is interesting to hear people dictate urls in german. v v v sounds so much better than w w w, IMHO.

        • by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @03:24PM (#15233030) Journal
          So in Germany, "Wii" is simply unpronounceable.

          I think you mean "there is no way to represent the English pronunciation of 'Wii' in standard German orthography".

          That does not mean that the name "Wii" is unpronounceable in German (it is trivially pronounceable: it will simply be read [vi:]), nor does it mean that no German is capable of uttering the sound [w], as you appear to be claiming.

          To claim that "Wii" is unpronounceable in Germany, simply because the Germans will not pronounce it the way you pronounce it, is like claiming that "kimono" is unpronounceable in English, because the Americans do not pronounce it the way the Japanese do. That is to say, it's patent nonsense.
        • Two things: One is that, although there is no "W" sound in German, it does not mean that a native german speaker would not be able to produce that sound.
          Secondly, as I said in my post, I would not expect it to be pronounced as in the english "we" in german, but as in the german "wie". That was sorta the whole point of my post- that though the sounds may differ, Wii has an analogous word in all three languages.
      • Living in Japan for several years now, I can most definitely attest to the fact that it is very trivial for the Japanese to pronounce it. However, the kids at my school don't really think much of the name. They could have named it Revolution and the Japanese would have just shortened it to "rebo" or something. After all, "Famicom" was short for "Family Computer," so it's not like Nintendo hasn't abused the Japanese with awkward naming conventions before.

        And your German is a bit off. You used the word "u
    • You would create the name for the japanese by combining the standalone U and I sounds written out in Katakana (foreign word writing system). Even though it is the fault of a japanese company, thus making it a sort of Japanese word and prone to Hiragana (native word writing system), Katakana is the modern accepted way of writing that sound.

      Check the katakana table at Wikipedia []. Wi is listed. Unfortunatley, Slashdot ate the unicode, so you'll have to see the glyphs yourself. Wi is completely acceptable /
  • They can... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rydia ( 556444 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:05PM (#15232667)
    The Japanese can pronounce it about as well as most loan words, and just as well as "revolution." There's also the added bonus of greater consistency in the pronunciation of difthongs, so it's not even ambiguous.
    • I was wondering about that claim. How much harder can "Wii" be than "kawaii", one of the more popular words in Japan? I haven't learned much about Japanese, but it seems like "Wee" would even be their native reading of "Wii", since "i" is(/is very close to) the English hard "e".

      It's English where the name is odd and invites mispronunciation; the only native word in common use that has two "i"s in a row is "skiing". (I just grepped /usr/dict/words and I'd say the next most common one would be Naziism; everyt
      • Yeah, the article's claim is a load of crap.

        There is a deprecated "wi" syllable in Japanese that could be used. Even without that, most English speakers pronounce "we"/"wii" as two syllables (like the French "oui"), so "uii" is accurate in that sense. Doubling the vowel sounds in Japanese just makes them longer, it doesn't modify the pronounciation as it does with e.g. the English "drop"/"droop".
      • by miyako ( 632510 ) < minus language> on Sunday April 30, 2006 @05:21PM (#15233536) Homepage Journal
        I'd say the next most common one would be Naziism
        Did you just Godwin the name of Nintendo's new console? Are they going to have to change to something else now? ...and just when I'd started to think the name was kinda neat.
  • What's in a name? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:06PM (#15232674)
    Aside from the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis, I don't think I remember there ever being a cool-sounding console or hand-held name. Nintendo 64? Dreamcast? Xbox... 360? PlayStation? Wonder... [i]Swan[/i]?

    To me, all these names sounded ridiculous, and I know I'm not alone. We made fun of the 360's name but now it's pretty much accepted and any complaints about it have nothing to do with the name.

    By July, at the latest, this will be a non-issue.

    • There have been good names. Neo Geo, for instance.
    • I always thought the Ultra 64 was a pretty cool name for a console... but it seems history does indeed repeat itself.
  • The New Coke (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:09PM (#15232685) Homepage
    As hard as I find it to believe, I'm not against the idea that this is another "New Coke".

    Did Nintendo do this just to get more support when they bring back "Coke Classic" (i.e. Revolution or another better name)?

    Even if this IS the name, they certainly got quite a lot of press over it.

    I still don't really like it. I'll buy the system, don't get me wrong. They could call it "Magic Happy Leprosy Spreading Bad Smell Maker" and I'd buy it. But I think Revolution was such a perfect name. It was catchy, yet differentiated the console perfectly.

    DS was just a code name and they said they would change the name, until they said DS was the final name.

    Is this all a stunt? Who knows. We'll find out when the system actually launches.

    That said, I'm getting used to the name. Maybe it's like Game Cube and I'll come to like it.

    That said the blurb mentions that "wii" is not a sound in the Japanese language (which I've heard elsewhere). I've heard that "revolution" is similarly unpronounceable because it also contains sounds not in Japanese. Is that true?

    They could always call it Revolution here and the Japanese word for Revolution there (like the NES/Famicom, SNES/Super Famicom, Genesis/MegaDrive and a few others had different names).

    • by shirai ( 42309 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @03:43PM (#15233131) Homepage
      Japanese seem to have a thing for liking made up names that are not easy to pronounce in Japanese. I'm Japanese and I remember making fun of all of the Japanese car names because most could not be pronounced in Japanese.

      * Honda Accord (can't pronounce "r")
      * Honda Civic (can't pronounce "v")
      * Acura (can't pronounce "r")
      * Integra (can't pronounce "r")
      * Legend (can't pronounce "l")
      * Camry ( no 'r')
      * Corolla (holy crap!)
      * Celica (no 'l')
      * Supra (no 'r')
      * Avalon (no 'r')

      I say no 'l' and no 'r' but they have a similar sound which is halfway between 'l' and 'r' which is why Japanese often mix these two letters up.

      I was just going to comment that this may be less now that Acura has switched to letters but actually, that's not entirely true either.

      * RL (both letters not easy to pronounce)
      * TL (L?)
      * RSX (R?)

      Anyways, the fact that it can't be pronounced is not an impediment to them using that name. In fact, I think for many using these sounds make the products sound more upmarket. Besides, Revolution is also difficult to pronounce in Japanese.

      p.s. wii would most likely be pronounced like oo-ee.
    • Re:The New Coke (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TRACK-YOUR-POSITION ( 553878 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @03:53PM (#15233173)
      I'll likely buy this console as well. But I do not look forward to this name. For the very simple reason that it's awkward to tell people about. If they haven't already heard of Wii, you can forget about--you'll immediately sound like either someone who doesn't understand the concept of pronouns or some kind of pervert. I think the pervert response will actually be more common that people realize--when you are given a set of sounds to interpret that has multiple possible meanings, the shocking meanings are going to draw more of your attention.

      In any event, if you tell someone you're going to play Wii, the urine/pronoun blur will color their interpretation of you. You then explain what Wii is, but now you're the sort of dork who has to explain everything he says. Awkwardness, poor grammar, and perversion are all now associated with you.

      You'll even have to spell it! Double-ewe-eye-eye! (Dubya, aye aye?!! OMG SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE Wii: it's a uniter, not a divider)

      And if this console is supposed to focus on social interaction, any added difficultly in word of mouth advertising seems like a huge liability. The problem is mitigated assuming Nintendo advertising of the Wii brand is omnipresent, but I'm not sure advertising has ever been the primary way people are introduced to new games. Especially for regular people--the games famous for appealing to non-gamers--from Tetris to The Sims, from Nintendogs to Bejewled, from WoW to DDR, tended, I think, to spread more by word of mouth than by massive advertising campaigns. Any game, even the simplest, is a bigger time sink than a tv show or a movie or a flavor of soda, and so those who are least "hard-core" about games are the ones who most rely on other people they trust to point out when something worth their attention comes along.

      I remember back in the nineties people would wonder what they would call this decade. We never did find a good name for it, and so therefore we never refer to it--I never hear anyone refer to this decade as a cultural unit. Awkwardness is a powerful cultural disincentive--awkward ideas don't last. And ideas like "I play Wii and you should too!" or "We should play Wii!" are spatially sound but aurally awkward. People will likely end up saying something like "Nintendo Wii" or "the Wii system" or "Wii gaming" or some other unauthorized set of disambiguation sounds when necessary in non-games contexts. It's one thing to have a product name that people can make jokes about, but in this case the jokes could conceivably cloud understanding.

  • by Frag-A-Muffin ( 5490 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:09PM (#15232687) Homepage
    if this is indeed a hoax. When the name first came out, I was rather indifferent about it. In the end, I don't really care about the name, I'm still buying it :)

    However, I did have time to think about it, since I didn't waste my day posting to message boards about how I think it's so stupid like the rest of the world did. What I came up with was rather simular.

    Either I'll be made fun of for playing my Wii ... OR ... Nintendo is a brilliant. Why brilliant? Well, what if on E3, they don't unveil the Wii .. they unveil the "XXXXXX" (Whatever the REAL name is) !!!??? Yah .. that would be absolutely pure genius. Not only did they steal attention of everyone for the 2 weeks BEFORE E3 ... they'll steal the attention at E3 and for the 2 weeks following!

    It wouldn't have been an expensive campaign either. 1 Press Release. 1 stupid little flash movie up on [] That's it!? And it got all this press!

    Here's a little more fuel for this consipiracy fire. Why does [] not work? That'd take a whole 10 seconds for someone to create that subdomain and point it to or even just mirror that page from it. Hmmmmmm? Maybe it isn't the name after all?!??!

    Indeed, things that make you go Hmmmmmm.
  • Bad Names? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:13PM (#15232693) Homepage
    I distinctly remember when "Dreamcast" was released that everyone thought it was a terrible, touchy-feely name. And when the iPod came out, we all thought Apple was smoking the eCrack. Even the PlayStation was a pretty dumb sounding name, and was proof that Sony's SNES CD was never going to amount to anything. For that matter, the Super NES sounded incredibly bad to US ears.

    Now all of these names are recognized worldwide. They gained traction on the strength of the systems, and are now highly recognizable and much loved. It's theoretically possible that the same will happen to Wii.

    Kotaku has a better breakdown [] of the situation, which includes the nugget that nobody prior to the announcement had registered any tradmarks or websites with the Wii name.

    • Re:Bad Names? (Score:4, Informative)

      by VJ42 ( 860241 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:27PM (#15232753)
      nobody prior to the announcement had registered any tradmarks or websites with the Wii name.

      If this was true, it'd deserve an article all of it's own, but look at the update at the bottom of that site:
      Update: This just in from Nintendo on the subject of the missing Wii trademark: "Nintendo has filed many trademark applications for Wii. Trademark Web sites often take time to update, and you can expect the Wii trademarks to appear shortly."
    • which includes the nugget that nobody prior to the announcement had registered any tradmarks or websites with the Wii name.

      I thought about that, and my conclusion is that this was most likely simply an oversight.

      On first blush, it may seem like evidence that they don't intend to keep the Wii name, but in reality, even if they don't intend to keep the name, they would still trademark it, to prevent people from swooping in later and using it for the publicity, even if only a week's worth.

      So it's not very comp
  • Hold on.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EpochVII ( 212896 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:13PM (#15232695)
    Look I didnt read thge article, but I read the post about it here on Slashdot. I lived with 5 guys from Thailand and they couldnt pronounce 'Will'. But they could pronouce the W, just not the ll'. In fact, it came out sounding like 'Wiww'. Even more W's!. Japanese people cant pronounce W's or E's? Its essentially 'Wee', right? Can they pronounce Wakizashi? So I dont get that.

    And last time I checked, all names are marketing gimmicks. I thought we all walked around knowing that. Ive seen countless articles and comments about this. Mission accomplished, Nintendo. Your marketing guys probably deserve their exorbitant salaries now. I hope the console lives up to all the talk. Also, I dont know Japanese, but I believe I heard about some point pictograms have a relation to words in Japanese. That makes the Wii/Controller/Multiplayer concept somewhat Japanese in its thinking. I applaud them for an original name for a product as well, instead of the cheesy techno names like the Playstation or the XBox. What tired thinking.

    Finally, how dumb an idea would it be to call a product the revolution if for whatever reason it ended up sucking? It would be an even bigger disaster.
    • Look I didnt read thge article, but I read the post about it here on Slashdot. I lived with 5 guys from Thailand and they couldnt pronounce 'Will'. But they could pronouce the W, just not the ll'. In fact, it came out sounding like 'Wiww'. Even more W's!. Japanese people cant pronounce W's or E's? Its essentially 'Wee', right? Can they pronounce Wakizashi? So I dont get that.

      In case you weren't aware, Thailand is not a part of Japan. Neither of them are U.S. states either, in case you were wondering. What

  • by spooje ( 582773 ) <`moc.liamtoh' `ta' `ejoops'> on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:15PM (#15232701) Homepage
    Yesterday I was watching the Saturday morning talk shows here in Tokyo and they were talking about it. One of the commentators actually said, "In English that word means piss, why didn't they just name it kuso("shit" in Japanese)?!" All the other hosts laughed and agreed.
  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:24PM (#15232745) Homepage
    Wiiiiiiii! []

  • there are no on any of the graphics from nintendo and i couldn't find anything on TESS [] Either
  • by Valar ( 167606 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:30PM (#15232766)
    Let me answer your question with a question...

    No shit?
  • Archaic kana (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dorceon ( 928997 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:33PM (#15232788)
    The japanese can pronounce it just fine. The language used to include kana with the wi sound ( in katakana and in hiragana), and now they use a kana compound, , like they do with other foreign sounds.
  • This is the company who brought you this []. Which is too bad, since I think the name sounds stupid. I'll probably get one anyway though.
  • by kingsmedley ( 796795 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @03:19PM (#15233001)
    From the article:

    The moment you have to begin to explain your branding in pedantic detail - which Nintendo is doing through both its spokespeople and its promotional material - you're screwed.

    On the surface, this seems quite logical. After all, a good brand should be instantly recognizable to the observer. People should immediately know what you are talking about, and why it should matter to them.

    But what the writer is missing out on is the fact that ALL brands must go through a building phase. Even the name 'Revolution' had to be spoken, explained, and repeated. (Let's be honest - the name wasn't an obvious fit until AFTER we saw the controller!)

    But I digress, back to the point of my post. Every brand must be talked up to become a useful marketing tool. I used to work for GTE. I was there when they merged with Bell Atlantic to become 'Verizon'. Boy did that sound like a stupid name. I remember all the internal e-mails and printed flyers that were circulated, explaining to all of us just why this was such a cool name, pointing out all the absurd meanings behind the name, the logo, even the frickin' colors for crying out loud. But look at the Verizon brand now. Instantly recognized. You immediately know what services they offer, and why you need (or don't need) them.

    As cool as the name 'Revolution' was, it's appeal was primarily to the current gaming audience. Just as with the Sega Genesis, the significance of the name was only meaningful to those already interested in the video game industry.

    Which is not Nintendo's target audience. Not anymore. It costs too much to cater to such a demanding lot. And the word 'revolution' doesn't exactly conjur up an image of friendly fun for the soft core mass market.

    So even though all of us here wish the Revolution name had stuck, that doesn't mean that this name won't actually be a more marketable, more recognizable choice for Nintendo.

    And a plea to those companies making game console "skins" - a nice flashy Revolution logo will sell like HOTCAKES!
  • I think Penny Arcade nailed it, []
  • And at the end of the day, that's what the name "Wii" is all about: another in the long line of utterly meaningless names meant to convey friendliness or slickness in a non-culture-specific manner.

    And actually VAIO is pronounceable in Japanese with some approximation; "Wii" with less approximation (in katakana it would be rendered as "uii").
  • I seen every excuse possible for the name change so far.

    The simplest problem is that "Nintendo Revolution" while merely the codename for the upcoming console worked. It appealled to people and told them what this console was all about.

    X-box 360 is just as stupid but since its codename wasn't that appealling, what was it anyway, we could only joke about the stupidity of doing a 360 wich means you end facing the same direction as before just more dizzy.

    PS3? Talk about playing it save. Granted when you are

  • "U-I-", much like the referenced "oui" in French, is perfectly pronouncible in Japanese, and sounds the same as "We" would in English. And, IIAL (I am a Linguist), and IAFIJ, (I am fluent in Japanese).
  • what can be adequately blamed on management.

    Seriously, Wii sucks. It sounds like something off a dum sum cart and not a revolutionary game machine.

  • "Wii" is pronounced like "Wie?", which is the German for "How?", but is often also used as the German equivalent of "Huh?"

    No, be honest, would you label your console "Huh?"
  • This is utter nonsense. Anyone under forty in Japan can say, "We". Slashdot won't display Japanese characters for some reason, but it's written with the kana u and i and is pronounced "we".

    I don't expect everyone to know this, but if you're aiming for accuracy and respectability, maybe a little fact-checking wouldn't hurt, hm?
  • by Skraut ( 545247 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @04:55PM (#15233421) Journal
    Am I the only one who can't stop hearing "We are Knights who say Wii!" over and over in their head?

    I guess it's time for my meds again.
  • The name of a product - its trademark, being determined by and used as marketing?!?!? IMPOSSIBLE!

    Next you'll be claiming that their ad campaign is based solely on trying to drive sales!

  • Everybody here speculating about the japanese side needs to simply stop their crackpot theories about the japanese name of the console and whether it's easy to pronounce or write it.

    The name is Wii in all languages, and the japanese don't go for the writing, they simply try to mimic the English pronuntiation and write it so that it reads "uii" (similar to "we" in English, as we already know), they even state it so clearly in their own Japanese website [], that it's silly to be speculating at this point.

    For th

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