Nintendo Announces Name of Next-Gen Console, Says No to High-Def Formats

Posted Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 12:12 PM PDT by
Nintendo Wii Logo In a surprise announcement this morning, Nintendo has unveiled the name of its new next-gen game console, as well as confirmed that it will not drive the device with either the HD-DVD or Blu-Ray next-gen high-def DVD formats.

The system, dubbed "Revolution" throughout its two-year development, will now be known as Wii, as in "We." Nintendo announced the name on its official website this morning, via a short Flash animated movie followed by this bold proclamation.
While the code-name 'Revolution' expressed our direction, Wii represents the answer. Wii will break down that wall that separates game players from everybody else. Wii will put people more in touch with their games...and each other.

Because it is not really about you and me. It is about Wii. And together, Wii will change everything."
The company also confirmed to media outlets that the console's software, though disc-based, will not utilize either the HD-DVD or Blu-Ray high-def DVD formats. This is a marked departure from Wii's two rivals, Sony's Blu-Ray-driven PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's XBox 360, which plans to offer an HD-DVD peripheral drive later this year.

Given Nintendo's standing in the gaming industry as a company that caters primarily to younger gamers at the expense of the "cool" factor -- its cute GameBoy handheld portable device continues to be a huge hit with teen and pre-teens, though its brightly-colored GameCube consoles floundered against Sony's PlayStation 2 and Microsoft's original XBox -- reaction to the name change for its next-gen console was greeted largely with jokes by industry analysts.

Michael Goodman, senior analyst of media and entertainment strategies at The Yankee Group, told GameSpot that the name change is a mistake. "I thought Revolution had much more meaning," he told GameSpot. "It was an apt description for the console. It was a revolutionary design... the controller is pretty revolutionary. Wii just doesn't do it for me. How do we even pronounce this? WEEE? I'm not sure this is technically a word. What is a WEE, W-I-I?"

Other analysts were even more pointed in their attacks. "Now they [Nintendo] have a stupid-sounding manufactured name that probably wouldn't have tested well with English speakers if they'd bothered doing any market research," chided one industry analyst who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. "And they're going to try to use it to replace an evocative, well-accepted name that people have been using for well over a year? Bad, stupid move."
Tags: High-Def Gaming (all tags)