Wii Is The Revolution.
Reactions thus far are mixed. Some e-pundits absolutely hate it, some are ambivalent, and some would continue to love the console even if you named it Radioactive Cancer Magnet. There are very few positive opinions on the name change. Game Informer posted an interview with Nintendo of America's Public Relations Manager Matt Atwood. Although there is much juvenile humor on behalf of the interviewer, and a fair share of marketing speak on behalf of Nintendo, a few things become clear. The Wii name is here to stay. It was a group decision by Nintendo's global upper echelon, whom never intended for the Revolution name to be permanent. They expected there to be some negative backlash around the renaming, which is why they announced the name early, so the air would be clear in time for E3.
Reading around the urine jokes and marketing one liners, something else is evident. Nintedo believes in what they are selling. Matt says, "Once you touch the Revolution, this will make more sense. Once you play more games, and once the system is out, and more and more people play it, and you’re realizing these different experiences, it’ll make more sense. Again, it may sound a little bit of a line, but I think it fits well. This is not about you or me, it’s about Wii." And together Wii will change everything.
It almost comes off as cultish. Which ties into what the new name and logo make me think of when I see it; APPLE. With those two little i characters, it promotes a very iMac, iPod kind of feeling. The universal association of the letter i with all things glossy, slick and electronic. The Wii's controllers and base have already been noted to have an Apple aesthetic and feel. Perhaps Nintendo is standing on the shoulders of Apple designers with the Wii. If so, they could stand to do much worse. The other thing that immediately comes to mind when looking at the Wii logo is Wi-fi. Another world spanning bandwagon that could be smartly jumped onto. And check out the neat short video on Nintendo's revolution site. I love how the little i guys bow at the end.
Nintendo promotes the global aspect of the name Wii. Many people don't appreciate just how impossible it is to say Revolution in Japanese. By calling the Revolution Wii, they have taken all of the various translations of revolution, and cut it down to a single particularly spelled sylable, that will be universal all over the world. Wii is a sort of proto-kanji, where the look of the symbol, the sound it makes and the thing it represents are all uniform and universal. There is something else we are all familiar with that has a similar effect... Icons.
Rather than a mistake, I think that Wii is actually a step forward. It will globalize the Nintendo meme in a way that "Revolution" never could. Since Nintendo is billing the Wii as a system for everyone everywhere to enjoy, I think that's a pretty solid idea. More importantly, this console is supposed to break all the rules, it is supposed to be something unlike anything we've seen or played before. It is supposed to be in a entirely different league than the various iterations of Xboxes and Playstations. If so, they will have done well giving it a name that stands out so far from the rest.
However, I am still willing to take Matt Atwood up on his suggestion; "Get your hands on the system. Once you see entirely what we’re doing with the system it will make more sense." Matt, feel free to ship me a Wii and I will get back to you with my reaction. Although I will not be able to make E3 this year, some will get a chance to experience the Wii first hand. For the rest of us... Wii will just have to wait and see.
You say you want a Revolution
Well, you know
Wii all want to change the world - (apologies to) The Beatles