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More console launch panic from Nintendo. May kill Wii U brand for new console identity. And it really should

Step one: Come up with brilliant, powered-up, innovative new successor to your last-gen console.

Step two: Make it look exactly the same, give it almost the same name, and present it to the world in a way which doesn't clearly point out that it's not actually the same thing. 

Step three: ?????????

Step four: Monstrous lack of profit!

That was the Nintendo method for launching the 3DS, and until today it's been looking dangerously close to being the method it would use to sink the Wii U. Fortunately, that may no longer be the case, because if current reports are to be believed, Nintendo is looking into dropping the Wii name and completely rebranding the machine as something different for its E3 2012 re-reveal.

Is this likely? Yes it is. While Nintendo still makes great clunking errors, President Satoru Iwata is a lot quicker to learn from and fix them than his predecessor, Hiroshi "I'm so stubborn in the face of progress that it's going to nearly kill my company" Yamauchi. He's already admitted that the 3DS' borked launch - largely due to a dearth of games, unfinished online services and unclear marketing - was a bitter lesson, and a mistake that cannot be repeated. And we're already seeing a new, very deliberate "This is not DS, this is Nintendo 3DS" tagline rolled out by way of damage control.

Releasing a new console to an audience it has largely filled with the gaming-clueless over the last few years, without distancing said new console from the machine said audience already own and have long become bored of, would be the opposite of learning from that mistake. Ditto not making it clear to the core gamer that this new machine is a powerful core console. If indeed it is. But I suspect it will be.

So I reckon we're looking at a whole new Nintendo console reveal at E3 2012. Sort of.  I reckon a new name, a new brand 'personality', and a primary focus not on the controller, but on the raw power and games. Yes, Nintendo will still show off the pioneering display-streaming controller in multiple fun and crazy permutations, but this will be a Nintendo console reveal as much in the '90s/'00s vein as that of the dread days of the Wii. Nintendo knows that the casual gaming honeymoon is over, and that it needs to provide as much for its core-gamer bread and butter as it does for the Wii Fit brigade.

The new name? At the very least, the word Nintendo needs to come back, used as the proud badge of gaming royalty it used to be before Ninty got embarrassed about being a games company and let the Wii name take centre stage. As for the format? The campaign for a third NES variant starts here.

57 comments

  • winner2 - January 30, 2012 5:54 a.m.

    Ok people, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say we've killed every possible idea for a name that makes any amount of sense, I got nothin cause all the good ones are taken... Screw it: "Wii Play"
  • captiandog - January 30, 2012 1:15 a.m.

    Like the 64 was named that becuse of it haveing 64 bits, so nintendo 327!
  • captiandog - January 30, 2012 1:03 a.m.

    ultra nintendo like super nintendo
  • mothbanquet - January 30, 2012 7:50 a.m.

    Yes.
  • Limbo - January 29, 2012 7:38 p.m.

    I really think they need to reconsider that controller layout. It really doesn't seem practical for most games not perfectly tailored to it. Imagine playing an FPS on that thing. Unless of course, the console also comes with a not iPad-looking controller.
  • DeathbyFira - January 29, 2012 5:40 p.m.

    Who cares!!! we a not trying to write for the New York times its a video game web site for crying out loud. If people don't like the way you write then sucks to be them i say. @jmcgrotty if you got a problem with the way i write and act then good for you but i am not trying to be some perfect prissy smart ass journalist like you are man i am just saying that the wii had potential but because of the lack of 3rd party games and more crappy kiddy games that even my 5 and 3 year old nieces hated that the next console should be more aware of that.
  • ManhattanTheStarr - January 29, 2012 8:11 a.m.

    Why not just... the "Super Wii"?
  • jmcgrotty - January 29, 2012 5:14 a.m.

    Thank god. I'm getting tired of calling it the Cafe. Though, truth be known, the only chance they have is to change their name to "3rd Party Game Developer"
  • CitizenWolfie - January 28, 2012 9:42 a.m.

    Always thought they should distance themselves from the Wii so this is good news. How about changing the whole design as well in case it confuses iPad users?
  • nai1210 - January 28, 2012 4:09 a.m.

    Well hopefully they replace the slider's with analouge sticks while there at it,don't get me wrong i like the slider on the 3DS but for a home console i need my analouge sticks.
  • Zageron - January 28, 2012 1:36 a.m.

    Just re-release the N64. Get all of the big hit games redeveloped, get new games made for it, use an upgraded console and controller design. (But keep the same look!~) So many people would buy it. .__.
  • RadicalVoodoo - January 27, 2012 8:59 p.m.

    Future, Ultra, Console, King, Enertainment, Revolution, System. Or F.U.C.K.E.R.S for short.
  • DaveGoose - January 27, 2012 8:12 p.m.

    Nintendo Super Wii 64 Entertainment System
  • majorsuave - January 27, 2012 5:58 p.m.

    The 10 seconds headache killed the 3DS. I, and most people I know that tried it feel physically bad within 10 seconds of staring at the 3DS screen. You try it once and ultimately buy an Android phone. I actually am looking forward to the next N console, I really wish for strong 3rd party support as I haven`t really enjoyed titles from N itself in a loooooong time
  • D0CCON - January 27, 2012 7:22 p.m.

    I like the 3d effect myself, and when it doesn't do anything for me, I turn it off. I don't need 3D, I just want games with depth that use buttons.
  • Heyexclamationpoint - January 27, 2012 4:13 p.m.

    The Nintendo Thing-A-Ma-Jigger
  • DeathbyFira - January 27, 2012 4:04 p.m.

    how bout call it "Wii Suck" or "Wii Screwed up" they should just call it something completely different that has nothing to do with the word Wii and for the love of god this time cater games to more hardcore fans and not make a bunch of lousy ass kid and family oriented games that suck
  • ItBurnsWhenIWii - January 27, 2012 4:10 p.m.

    Why do I have the feeling your under the age of 18?
  • majorsuave - January 27, 2012 5:59 p.m.

    Yeah.. call it the Yuu
  • AuthorityFigure - January 27, 2012 3:42 p.m.

    Makes a bit of sense to drop 'Wii' from the title to me.

Showing 1-20 of 57 comments

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