Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!


April 28th, 2006 . by Matt


Nintendo is releasing a new console, which had been codenamed ‘Revolution’ while it was in development, but is going to be called ‘Wii’. I would be willing to bet the naming came right from the top, rather than the result of market research.

Nintendo gave the reason for the naming

Gamers no longer have to ask what Nintendo Co. will call its upcoming video game console – the answer is Wii.

Pronounced “we,” the name “emphasizes this console is for everyone,” Nintendo said in a statement posted on its Web site Thursday. “Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii.”

No price or launch date has been set for Wii, which will compete with Sony Corp.’s upcoming PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 from Microsoft Corp.

Wii had previously gone by the codename Revolution.

“We just wanted something that would be very easy to remember, that would work in every market, and certainly something that sets us apart from the competition,” Nintendo spokeswoman Beth Llewelyn said. “I’m sure when people heard Google for the first time, they were like, ‘What does that mean?'”

Wii is less powerful than the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, but the interesting feature of Wii is the backward compatibility with the Nintendo Gamecube and for a small fee people will be able to download and play games from NES/Famicom, SNES/Super Famicom, and N64, along with games from formerly rival systems, such as Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx games.

One of the most anticipated features of Wii is its game download service, dubbed the “Virtual Console.” Despite other rumors, Nintendo of America expects “Virtual Console” to be the final name of the service. Using this Virtual Console service, users will have the ability to download and play many or all Nintendo-produced NES/Famicom, SNES/Super Famicom, and N64 games for a small fee. More notably, some games may offer free retro downloads as a bonus for the purchase. Nintendo has also announced that games developed for the Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx 16 consoles will be offered via the Virtual Console download service. While not all of the Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx games will be offered, the “best of them” will be. This gives the companies a pool of over 1000 Sega Genesis games to choose from. Besides Sega and Hudson, Satoru Iwata stated that “a number of different publishers are now interested in participating in this virtual console system”. Moreover, while the gameplay will be the same for all of the retro titles offered via the Virtual Console, Nintendo has stated that some of the games may be improved with sharper graphics or better framerates. In addition, gamers may be able to download games that were not originally released in their region, and some multiplayer games may be playable online, if it is technically possible. The Virtual Console service will not be used exclusively for retro games, however. Nintendo has stated that they are interested in using the service to distribute new, original content.

According to a Japanese press release, “all downloaded games will be stored on the 512 [MB] flash memory built into the system, also any USB based storage device might be able to be used. To prevent illegal copying, downloaded games will feature a proprietary DRM system.

One of my qualms with the system is its seeming focus on kids under 10 years old, with a focus on games like Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz. In my opinion, the various cartoonish Mario golf/football/baseball/fishing/driving and similar games helped to kill off the last two Nintendo consoles. During the 1980’s these kind of games were the flagships of Nintendo growth, but in 2006 focusing on these kind of games will only reinforce the main stream perception that Nintendo is a console for kids only.

10 Responses to “Wii?”

  1. comment number 1 by: Malaclypse

    Some thoughts:

    1) While many things will be for kids, not all of it will be. e.g. Red Steel, etc.

    2) Franchises like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid may have a large following on kids but they have a large following among older gamers as well.

    3) While I liked the name “Revolution” a lot better than “Wii,” “revolution” seems downright unpronounceable for the Japanese. (These days it seems that it’s necessary to have the same name for a system in all regions)

    4) I actually played Super Monkey Ball on the Gamecube once with some buddies- it’s actually pretty fun, believe it or not.

    5) Mario Kart owns.

    6) Although Nintendo’s recent consoles haven’t gained as much market share as Sony’s or Microsoft’s, they *are* the most profitable. Nintendo isn’t going anywhere.

    7) Nintendo have always been great innovators- things we take for granted today like, oh, analog sticks. That’s why I think they can pull off all these things in a way that Sony or Microsoft couldn’t if they’d had the same ambitions.

  2. comment number 2 by: BananaBoi

    I will always have a special place in my heart for the Super Mario Brothers.

  3. comment number 3 by: polysics

    uh, what does this post have to do with hating korea? please stay on topic.. thanks!!

  4. comment number 4 by: Matt

    uh, what does this post have to do with hating korea? please stay on topic.. thanks!!

    Sorry, I was confused. I thought I was writing for slashdot. I will try harder next time.

  5. comment number 5 by: empraptor

    Matt’s gonna do what Matt’s gonna do on his own site. I assume there wasn’t something particularly interesting from Korea.

    I didn’t realize this site was dedicated to hating Korea.

    I thought it was more or less here to offset the perceived pro-Korea nationalistic bent of some blogs and Korean media. Much like how Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News is out to spread the messages of the right wing to offset the liberal views of the other news stations in their never-ending quest to be “fair and balanced”TM.

    Of course, the problem with this tendency for talking heads taking opposite ends of the argument in order to offset each other is that the midpoint is left without a champion.

    The Daily Show with John Stewart, on the other hand, is better source of balanced views than any national news station around here I’ve watched. That’s a Comedy Central show that parodies news stations bits of real news. Better than those 24-hour news stations that report on car accidents and have same people talk about the same topic over and over again because they have to fill all those hours with something and increase ratings.

    As for Nintendo Wii, I think their library of old games is going to help them a lot. I don’t know how good the controls would be though.

  6. comment number 6 by: eli

    We all have great childhood memories of the original Nintendo so it’s hard to see the modern company driving itself into the ground. But Wii? That’s just stupid. I agree with one analysis I saw, the new name is basically a publicity stunt. Nobody was talking about the Revolution any more, now they are. Marketing has done its work.

    As for the backwards compatibility, a lot depends on how their DRM works. You can already get an Xbox preloaded with Mame (though it’s not quite legal).

  7. comment number 7 by: James

    Wii is a pretty stupid name, but the system sounds pretty cool. Apparently the controller will be so strange that it will lead to more innovative game designs. I really like how Nintendo has given up on the lame race for better graphics/power, and is instead focusing on better gameplay and better games. I might pick up a system when it comes out in Japan.

    I am also eagerly awaiting your next korea-themed post, but I also appreciate this Nintendo-themed post. It was the first place I saw news on the ‘Wii’ name.

  8. comment number 8 by: randomcow

    Nintendo spokeswoman Beth Llewelyn said. “I’m sure when people heard Google for the first time, they were like, ‘What does that mean?’”

    No they weren’t, you stupid PR wench. Google just build a better mousetrap. And the techies who realised Google was better and were using it about four years before you were, *know* the significance of the word “google”.

    Your fired!


  9. comment number 9 by: YoshoMasaki

    Don’t diss the Monkey Ball series. It may be made up all cute-like, but all the games were created by the Devil himself. You see, it was his plan to drive the bulk of mankind insane with mind-bending puzzles that make you want to smash all your controllers and jump off your balcony, but he mistakenly made it for GCN and not PS2, missing his core raving Sony-fanboy audience.

    The puzzle mode is fun, but it is the Party Games that suck your soul out through your nostrils. Even chicks love playing it. Maybe you’ll see when you get here.

  10. comment number 10 by: firesoferebus

    I’m definitely getting this, actually. After E3, this system is looking a lot better. In contrast, Sony’s embaressing conference (and exorbitant price!) are a major turn-off…