Nintendo's 'Revolution' Gets a Name: 'Wii'


April 27, 2006 -- -- Nintendo's entry into the next generation video game console war has been called many things by many people, but now it has an official name: "Wii" -- pronounced "we."

The official naming of the console, which had been code named "Revolution" for what a spokesperson calls its "disruptive nature," comes less than two weeks before the world's biggest industry-only video game trade show, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3.

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"While the code name 'Revolution' expressed our direction, Wii represents the answer," read a statement from Nintendo of America Inc. "Wii will break down that wall that separates video game players from everybody else."

Wii's double "I's" are meant to represent the unit's unique controller, which is broken into two parts. But the word itself is meant to conjure up a sense of inclusiveness.

"It's really not about you or me," said the statement. "It's about Wii. And together, Wii will change everything."

The new console's name is part of a broader strategy by Nintendo to introduce video games to a bigger audience.

"Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak," the statement read. "No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii."

But not everyone is convinced it's a strategy that's necessary.

"I was one of those people who were hoping they'd just leave it 'Revolution,'" said Brian Crecente, editor of game blog Kotaku and video game writer for the Rocky Mountain News. "I really think this boils down to Nintendo trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist."

Crecente says the name of a console has never affected the gaming community's capacity to enjoy -- or revile -- it, and he doubts the name will have an impact on someone who doesn't game.

Still, he's reserving judgment, he says, until the name's had a chance to sink in.

"I've been hearing 'Revolution' for so long, it's engrained in my head," he jokes. "Ask me again in a week what I think."

The reaction from Kotaku's readers and from gamers across the Web has been mixed.

"I dunno, it's better than it could have been I guess," writes someone named Trachalio. "I just don't understand what was wrong with 'Revolution.' It was catchy and encompassed what they were trying to do with this new console."

But while some are frustrated by the choice, others see it as a boon for Nintendo that fits in perfectly with its plan to bring something new to the console market.

"I like it ... different, yet edgy and simple," writes in XgamerM. "The fact that it looks like two of the controllers is kinda cool. Regardless, I like their innovation and bold steps to change the rules of the gaming world.

Of course, there are the jokers who point out that some kids may have trouble inviting their friends over to play with their Wii, or those who simply ask, "Wii? Why?"

One gamer whose comments appear on may sum it up best by saying that regardless of the name, people who were going to buy the console will still buy it.

"My jaw just hit the floor," one gamer writes. "I think the name, from a marketing standpoint, is as bad as it gets. Of course, I'll have it on day one, but that's besides the point."

With the new Xbox 360 already gobbling up shelf space and Sony's fully-loaded PlayStation 3 on the way, Nintendo, which many say reinvented the console market with the Nintendo Entertainment System in the 1980s, is trying to do it again.

Wii will feature a unique controller that will consist of two parts: a remote control-like device and a joystick.

Thanks to motion sensitivity on the remote, players will be able to experience games in a way they haven't before. They can use the controller to conduct an orchestra, paint a painting, swing a baseball bat or chop away with a sword.

Nintendo has yet to announce an official release date or price, but the unit is expected to hit stores toward the end of the year.

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