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April 27, 2006

Nintendo's next–gen console has its name confirmed

Source: report Gamasutra, other information various

Nintendo has officially announced the final name for its Revolution next-gen console, naming it the ‘Wii’. According to its official Wii website, the new name for the console “represents the answer”, and “will break down that wall that separates video game players from everybody else.”

The site explains: “Wii sounds like “we,” which emphasizes this console is for everyone. Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. Wii has a distinctive “ii” spelling that symbolizes both the unique controllers and the image of people gathering to play.”

In addition, Nintendo has re-iterated the main features of what was formally called the Nintendo Revolution, noting “a smart, compact design, approximately the size of three standard DVD cases stacked together.” The company also revealed: “A variety of prototype colors are being showcased during E3. It will come with a silver stand that makes the system a welcome, artistic component of any multimedia setup, whether it’s displayed vertically or horizontally.”

Details on the disc format have also been confirmed: “Instead of a tray, a single, innovative, self-loading media bay will play both 12-centimeter optical discs used for the new system as well as Nintendo GameCube discs. Owners will have the option of equipping a small, self-contained attachment to play movies and other DVD content.”

Once again confirmed is backward compatibility (“The new console plays all games from the current Nintendo GameCube generation”), and downloadable classic titles (“The console also will have downloadable access to 20 years of fan-favorite titles originally released for Nintendo 64, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and even the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).”)

In addition, it’s revealed that a bay for an SD memory card will let players expand the internal flash memory. The system boasts 512 megabytes of internal flash memory, wireless controllers, two USB 2.0 ports and built-in Wi-Fi access. A worldwide network of Nintendo players “can gather to compete in a comfortable, inviting environment.”

Finally, according to Nintendo, “the introduction of a number of new franchise properties will add to the world’s richest stable of stars, including Mario, Zelda, Super Smash Bros., Donkey Kong and Metroid. Also according to Nintendo, a number of Wi-Fi-enabled launch titles are in development that will employ Nintendo’s newly announced wireless gaming service, the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Many more details are sure to be announced at E3.

Um… oh dear. And this is genuine, people who have contacted insiders at Nintendo of America have had it confirmed to them. Just about everyone who has passed comment on it seems to have poured scorn over the name, leading to lots of wii-jokes (eg wiidiculous, wiitarded) and general disbelief over the dropping of Revolution. To add another poor pun to the collection, wii did they change it?

But in better news backward compatability with what seems to be just about the entire Nintendo back catalogue is confirmed, as is DVD support which was a significant missing feature in the GC. There remains, however, no news on the supposed “Nintendo Go”, at one point rumoured to be either the new console name or the name of the online service. It’ll be interesting to see what E3 brings in terms of peripherals and hardware for the Wii.


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