There is an old joke that Commadore was so bad at marketing, if they bought KFC they would name it “Warm Dead Bird”. Reflecting on this for a second, you see how big of a difference marketing can make. I wanted to delve a bit into the names that the current generations have given to their gear, and see what theme’s exist. Lets get to it!
The Consoles: Xbox 360: This name captures the spirit of what Microsoft is doing so well. It has X in it that’s how you know it’s cool. It’s trying to ride the Mountain Dew drinking, BMX watching, graffiti-ing demographic that refuses to stay off my lawn. And it totally works, dude. The only real reason I can think they used 360 in there was so that it sounded more like something Tony Hawk would do while at a skate park, because that’s what kids are into these days, right Mr Gates? Of course right.
Playstation 3: Sony, I want to have a heart to heart here with you - you have the least creative names in the industry. Seriously every single thing that they have ever made in gaming is a Playstation. PS1, 2, 3, X, Portable, Portable Go, and Vita. I recognize that it is brand recognition but damn. It gives this cold hearted feeling that it is just another iteration of their previous model. Who else just increased their number....I’m thinking fro 7 to 8. Hm....Look forward to the PS4 next year, because Sony isn’t about changing the name up.
Wii: Nintendo, on the other hand, loves to go with crazy names, but in this case it really makes sense. The Wii was designed for multiple people to get together and have fun, and the name offers a quirky (and possibly immature) take on that. Looking at the software, the most common games were party games, so they really stuck to the theme. So before you even start playing it, you know that it is about playing it with other people just by the name alone. Pretty smart thinking Nintendo (if you are in an English speaking country, but ‘wareware’ doesn’t have quite the same appeal).
Wii U: The ambulance jokes will never end with this name, but I really like it. The Wii was about bringing together your friends and throwing a party. The Wii U seems to be more about playing games by yourself, like the hermit you really are - which after the Wii is what the audience was asking for.
The Online Name Gamertag: Sweet merciful Christ on a cracker, that is so hardcore I think I just shit my pants. Not really, but that name seriously follows the Gen X stuff mentioned above. It is a mark that you are leaving on the careful laid brick walls of society, so that people will always remember how boss you really were...at playing Halo
PSN ID: Seriously? Are you kidding me? That isn’t a real for real name, that is the name of the field in the table in the database that the IT crew slipped past marketing. If robots played videogames, they would know each other by their PSN ID.
Friend Code: Dawww. The only way they could make that sweeter would be by calling it a fwiend code. And honestly, no one would notice, because no one ever uses them. And for something so childish, on such a multi-person centric console, the best they could do was a 16 digit, randomized, alphanumeric jumbling of characters? Sony, I am so sorry for what I said above.
Achievements: Compared to everything else, this seems...professional. Like, if you stopped skateboarding for a minute and had to write down a gamer resume, these are what you would put at the bottom. And yet, they are more relaxed than...
Trophies: I love this. So much. A trophy isn’t an achievement - an achievement is something you did once, that your friends remember. A trophy is something that you did that deserved its own damn award ceremony. You had to stand on a pedestal to receive this thing, and even if you die, someone can walk into your trophy room and wallow in your greatness. What’s that? They too, are intangible? Welp.
Nintendo doesn’t have a persistent e-peen tracker, so I can’t comment on what they called it. As a bonus for you though, I have a suggestion for what they should have called it: Participation Ribbons. You get one when you start up the game, and then a palm appears on screen to give you a high five. Then the speaker on the controller says “look, the important thing isn’t about a trophy, it’s about if you had fun, right champ?” And then it takes you out for ice cream.
The Controllers: Xbox 360 Wireless Controller: Yawn, Microsoft, yawn. You need to watch your back on the next console, because these next controller names will blow you away. You couldn't have called it the ‘hand-deck’ or the ‘finger-board’ or the ‘bong-stick’? I am ashamed.
DualShock 3: Holy shit. What the hell happened here? I was expecting “Button pad for use with Sony Playstation” and you drop that bomb on me? Whoa. Whoa. That brings up the theme of the PS3: this bad boy isn’t a gaming console, it is the sexiest piece of hardware you will ever find. Your guide to this pinnacle of technological perfection? The thundercougarfalconbird. I mean, the Dualshock 3. (Aside: There was no spell check error on thundercougarfalconbird. Awesome.)
Wiimote: This is a pretty cool name for it, because it gets the console name right in there, and also gets you in the mindset to use it like something that you probably already use daily. Any non gamer can tell you that a dual stick controller is intimidating (one guy fainted just hearing DualShock 3), so giving them a frame of reference for what is coming up is actually pretty smart. You can hand one of these bad boys to grandma and just tell her to use it like the TV remote, and she is on her way. It’s a smart and clever combination, that also doubles as an instruction manual. Way to go Nintendo! Now about that ice cream....
If the comparison was ‘which one would best pleasure a woman’ Sony looks like they are in the best shape.
Kinect: I know a lot of people will hate me for this, but I love this name in a genuine way. Remember what I said about how the Wii had a cool thing going for it by placing the idea of multiple people in the name? Kinect does the same thing, but twice! Because it is a more casual oriented (for lack of a better term) peripheral, they want to say, hey you can ‘connect’ with Kinect (by the way Microsoft marketing, that gem will cost you 25 grand). But why is it spelled that way? Because you will be active. As in kinetic energy. Kinetic. Connect. Kinect. Is your mind blown? Mine was.
Move: “Hey, what makes this controller different?”
“You have to move while playing it”
“Oh, can we call it the Move?”
Now the Wii already is motion controlled, so I want to touch on something else. The Nunchuck. Again, holy shit, what? Wii. Friend codes. Lets be together, and party. Hey grandma, you can use it like a remote to play bowling! Or if you are Bruce dick-kicking Lee you can man the hell up and play some Zelda or Mario. Woaoaoaaaoaaaaaaaa.
So what do you guys think about the state of the current names? Was I dead on or way off?