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29 April 2006 

Let's go Wii!

So, like most people, my initial reaction to Nintendo's new name for their upcoming console was pretty dubious. I mean, it's the Wii. As in "we." Like us inclusive. Like pee. It's a weird name for a console. I mean, at first you think... "am I going to call it the Wii?" Like, "hey guys, come over and play some Wii!" It just is weird. The internet is going crazy with bloggers and gaming sites trashing Nintendo. No one likes it no one. Everywhere people are arguing about what a stupid name it is and how Nintendo has finally made the huge mistake that is going to crumble them in the face of Sony and Microsoft.

Then I thought... wait a second. It's two weeks from E3, the biggest event in the gaming world, and all anyone in the industry is talking about is the Wii. Nintendo are a bunch of geniuses! I actually had an hour long discussion with a group of my friends in the dorms tonight about the name "Wii." And in the end we all agreed that if it comes out at under $200, plays all the old Nintendo games we miss and offers some new and fun gameplay... we are all going to be lining up to buy it when it comes out. Something that none of us would say about the PS3 or Xbox 360.

Personally I think it would be brilliant for Nintendo if this were all a big joke. In some ways it is, but I just can't imagine a company worth billions of dollars would actually name a console something that sits so absolutely horribly with its fans. I mean, this is why they have marketing research, to tell them that if you name your console Wii, people will laugh at you. And so consider this...

Nintendo announced this name two weeks before E3 for no other reason than to stir up debate, and in that they have succeeded beautifully. This is reinforced by the sheer laughability of the name and the fact that according to several gaming news sites and blogs, Nintendo hasn't registered the trademark "Wii" with any marketing organizations in the US or Japan. So, as the hype builds around the name Nintendo, tight lipped as always, hits E3 with a fully functional console and a huge build of games, culminating in their 2 hour press conference at center stage of E3.

Imagine this... the Wii emblem glowing over the crowd of journalists and fans, boos and cheers alike drowning out the noise... then... the emblem implodes revealing.... well, I don't know, but something besides Wii. The people that hated Wii will love the new name, whatever it is. The one's that had come to grips with it won't find it hard to get over the short lived Wii. Shockwaves will ripple through the gaming news channels. And still... it's not over yet. They can go on to show off the first glimpses of all new Mario and Zelda games, new and wacky gameplay mechanics, their new online distribution and matching service and the list of thousands of games that will be available to download with the new console. And then, when the crowd is on their heels they announce the price. $199? $149? Either way, with the price point of the 360 at $399 and the PS3 projected to be $499 or higher the crowd will be floored. And just as everyone prepares to walk away, the final bombshell. The Wii, The Revolution, The Console will be available ahead of schedule... get your very own this summer.

It would be a publicity coup! No matter how amazing the graphics of the PS3 and Xbox titles, Nintendo would own the show and the headlines for weeks. A company releases a bogus name to stir discussion and fools everyone... thats free publicity in every news publication in the western world for a week! Combined with the price point, retro angle, and imminent availability, the gaming world would be in a frenzy. Talk about a way to generate some powerful publicity.

Now, I might be wrong. Maybe Nintendo is really going to call it the Wii. And maybe we will all get used to it. But something tells me that the big N didn't get where it is by being stupid. And... Revolution or Wii, I'll still be standing in line to get mine, and with any luck I'll be wearing shorts while I wait.

You amuse me! :)

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