The Average Gamer

Wii around the world

Nintendo Wii logo This week Nintendo announced that the official release name for its new console is the Nintendo Wii. Cue Internet outrage and an abundance of pee jokes:

“Mario Wii? Zelda Wii?? Pokémon Wii???” – Itamae, Eurogamer comments.

“What names were rejected, that something like Wii remained vertical at the end of it?”- Tycho, Penny Arcade.

“That the Internet in toto is less mature than a group of thirteen-year-olds is not surprising, but neither is it damning to Nintendo’s fortunes. ” – Chris Kohler, Game|Life.

“Urine the game with Nintendo Wii.” – Jontacular, Eurogamer comments.

“Wii are amused by the outrage of gamers. How short their memories are, for in years past they mocked the names of other consoles, only to grow accustomed to them later on. Was it too far in the past that gamers forget how they disliked the name “PlayStation” or “Xbox 360″ or even “Dreamcast”?” – Brinstar, The Game Chair.

“Nintendo Wii? “La, La, La, this isn’t haaappen-ing!” ” – GamingHobo, The Gaming Hobo

“I’m from The Netherlands, and I do think the name is childish. It’s something we Dutch say when we are childishly happy. It’s not as bad as you British must feel hearing the word, but it’s still a daft name altogether. For me it’s a childish name for a childish console maker which is clearly targeting the market of children.” – Brombeer, Eurogamer comments.

“A majority of Joystiq readers (58%) disliked the new name or preferred its codename, the Revolution. 18% of those who participated in the poll have already thrown their support behind the name, while one-fourth of the respondents have started the 12-step program to recovery and acceptance.” – Joystiq.

“The new name – Wii [pronounced ‘Wee’] gives the impression of a fun console – we want the excitement of Wii to be so great you can’t hold it in, and we want people to think that playing with Wii will be nice and warm, like a flood of entertainment.” – Beforan, Random Nation.

When was the last time you saw the whole internet in agreement over any one thing? It takes a pretty conscious effort to come close to the universal confusion, derision, and out-and-out rancor inspired by the bombshell announcement that Nintendo laid on us earlier today. – Jeremy LaMont, Nintendo Now.

Personally, I think it’s a ridiculous name but I’m not so stupid as to let that get in the way of good gaming. Sure, not all the world speaks English but it was chosen for its English homophonic link! You don’t just get to announce which word association should take priority in people’s minds and be done with it. (For that matter, the only homophonic noun is the one that describes urine). If you were launching, say, a stuffed toy monkey in Japan would you call it the Chimpoko because you like the sound of it? Of course not!

A silly name doesn’t make the console any worse or any better but what does it say about the value they place on localising for the English-speaking market? I hope this is a one-off marketing blunder and not an indication of things to come.

I can already see the following conversations being enacted all over the English-speaking world:

Small Child passes a video game store and begins tugging on Mommy’s clothes.
Small Child: Mommy, Mommy, I want a Wii!
Mommy (exasperated): No, honey. You just went to the toilet 5 minutes ago.
Small Child: Huh?

Or how about at home…

Guest spies strange little box nestling between the Xbox 360 and the PS3.
Guest: Hey, what’s that sexy-looking gadget?
You: That’s our Wii.
Guest: Huh?
You: *sigh*

Maybe I should make a little card of the Nintendo press release to hand out to visitors when they ask. It would save both of us so much time.

One Comment

  1. Mangahunter

    4th Sep, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Nintendo Wii is the fastest selling console ever, and this post reminds us that Nintendo will not die.