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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

More On Wii

I've defended Wii a few times around the blogosphere, when I've had the chance ... but I don't want to give the impression I'm crazy about the name. The negative reaction has a pretty wide range, from rational to funny to ... let's face it ... pure attention whoring. There are times when the online gaming crowd gets into an fever that I really need to learn to just duck out of ... like when Doom 3 or Deus Ex II were released. It's just hits a pitch and there's no real method of discussing it anymore. It doesn't really reflect reality, but people sure have fun venting.

I don't like the name Wii not because people will make wang or pee jokes out of it ... honestly making childish puns out of console games is an inevitable fact of gaming, as owners of the suXbox, LameCube or PrayStation would know by now. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Nintendo haters start making "Pii" banners for their forum sigs.

No, I don't like "Wii" because I think it's a missed opportunity for Nintendo to continue with simple, serious branding which was working very well for them. Nintendo DS sounds like something a thirtysomething might buy. Nintendo Wii sounds like something a thirtysomething would buy for their kid. And that's where it really irks me. The old N has done some great work lately with getting people to take them seriously ... and naming something after a sound you might make at a carnival would not be one of them. That very sound is also why few developers will probably choose to name products in a similar fasion as the DS. "Tetris DS" sounds like a version of Tetris for the DS. "Tetris Wii" sounds like you're trying to speak a foriegn language.

So sure, it's whimsical and unique and it's easy to remember. And branding types will point out that all this recent ferver is nothing short of free advertising. It's not this short term complaining that makes me wish Nintendo would reconsider the name ... it's the long term effect it has with a console I'd like for people to take seriously. In the end, the name isn't nearly as important as the console itself ... but it's still important.

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Jason "Botswana" Cox said...

Well, you've obviously read my own post and know my feelings on the matter.

I don't really get the "Hey, it's free publicity", because who wants free publicity that is basically stating your stupid? Do political candidates like attack ads that call them stupid? Would Nike be ok with a Reebok campaign that says all their shoes suck?

It's an incredibly naive position to take, and I don't think anyone who says that has really thought it through.

Josh said...

Well, I'm certainly not suggesting it was Nintendo's intended effect, but that doesn't mean it isn't free advertising. And nobody is really saying the consoles suck, they're just repeating the name over and over again. That's a big difference right there.

So no ... I'm not saying "Wow, Nintendo was smart to name something so ridiculous that people will naturally ridicule it and save them millions in advertising". Still, people are talking about it ... and there is some truth in the whole "no such thing as bad PR". Nintendo probably doesn't want people attacking the name ... but they'd rather have them attacking "Wii" than talking about the PlayStation 3.