The names "Wii" and "Wii U" are ridiculous.
Back when Nintendo was releasing their new console, I had heard rumblings that it was going to be called the "Nintendo Revolution" and my first reaction was a big sigh of "meh". Revolution used to be an awesome word but it's been overplayed in pop culture and is losing its value. Nintendo Revolution sounded more like an advertisement for a console or a marketing campaign more so than the console itself. Something along the lines of "get ready for a brand new Nintendo revolution with the (insert console here)!"
Then, out of nowhere, I hear that it is actually called the Wii, which I naturally misread as "why" and had the same question on my mind. I've overheard lots of arguments for and against the Wii name over the past few years. It seems as though most of the pro-Wii people claim that it's original, fun, childish to go with its market, and easily translated in every language. Ok, I'll give you some of those points. But I have to side with the negatives, personally.
It would appear as though the Wii console itself sold for two primary reasons: 1) it's an anchor Nintendo console rather than a random offshoot subsidiary (like a 3DS in comparison to the DS in comparison to the Gameboy) and 2) motion. It didn't sell because of the name. The name only exists so people can know what it is rather than labeling the box "The Next Nintendo Thing". Let's not give the name any more credit towards the success of the console than that.
Then we have the Wii U, which has no value to the name whatsoever. They struggled with the question of whether or not they should name it "Wii - Related" to let people know that it's connected in some way to the Wii and they decided that that was much more important than to go with something fresh. While PlayStation has the much simpler PS4 model (to designate that it comes after PS3 but is still related) and Xbox will probably go with something like the Xbox 720 (to designate that it comes after Xbox 360 but is still related), Nintendo decided to go with.......U. What is that supposed to mean? Does it stand for Universe? Is this Wii Unlimited? Wii Ultimate? Wii Undecided?
|Wii Uh...2. Yeah. The Wii 2. Jeez it took us a long time to figure that out...|
It doesn't help their case at all that it appears from a relative outsider like myself that the Wii U is nothing but a smaller Wii with a tablet-esque controller as opposed to an entirely different console. This looks like a different version of the Wii similar to how PS2 eventually came out with a "slim" console and now that they're naming it the Wii U, it SOUNDS like it as well. To show you an example, Nintendo had the N64 and then the GameCube, entirely different. Xbox 360 Elite vs. Xbox 360 S are a part of the same line. Wii and Wii U. Which of those two scenarios does it match better?
No wonder they feel the need to advertise to people that this is more than just a firmware update. The only reason that I know that it is something more than that is because I run a website that has to deal with this sort of stuff, so I pay a little more attention than someone like myself would otherwise. The hardcore gamers are going to know as much about these things as possible no matter what the situation is, so they don't need to market to them. The less informed people, though, are going to be confused, and I bet you that the next console has an entirely different name just because they'll have learned their lesson (for now).