|Release date(s)|| November 19, 2006|
December 2, 2006
December 7, 2006
December 8, 2006
|Players||1 to 4 players dependent on game.|
|Media||Wii Optical Disc, Gamecube discs (as its backward compatibility)|
|Input||Wii Remote, Nunchuk, Classic Controller, and Gamecube Controller|
|Preceded By||Nintendo GameCube|
|Followed By||Wii U|
The Wii is Nintendo's 5th home entertainment console and is a 7th generation console. It came out in North America on November 19th, 2006, for a price of $249.99(currently you can find it in stores commonly for $199.99). At launch, several games were available, such as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Excite Truck and Wii Sports. Wii Sports, one Wii Remote, one Nunchuk, a set of AA batteries, and all necessary cables come packaged with the Wii. Currently it is only available in white and black, although there may be more colors available in the future. It comes with 256 MB of memory; also, SD Cards up to 32 GB can be used to store data (using 4.x System Menu). The Wii can also view photos and videos stored on an SD card. The Wii uses regular 12 cm discs for games like the ones used for the Xbox, Playstation 2, etc., but it can also read 8 cm GameCube discs as the systems backward compatibility. The Wii's Shopping Channel has a video game section called Virtual Console, which allows users to purchase games from past consoles, including the NES, SNES, and N64, as well as titles from the Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx-16.
The console was conceived in 2001, as the Nintendo GameCube was first seeing release. According to an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, the creater and designer of Mario, the concept involved focusing on a new form of player interaction. "The consensus was that power isn't everything for a console. Too many powerful consoles can't coexist. It's like having only ferocious dinosaurs. They might fight and hasten their own extinction."
Two years later, engineers and designers were brought together to further develop the concept. By 2005, the controller interface had taken form, but a public showing at that year's E3 was withdrawn. Miyamoto stated that "we had some troubleshooting to do. So we decided not to reveal the controller and instead we displayed just the console."  Satoru Iwata later unveiled and demonstrated the Wii Remote at the September Tokyo Game Show.
The Nintendo DS is stated to have influenced the Wii design. Designer Ken'ichiro Ashida noted "We had the DS on our minds as we worked on the Wii. We thought about copying the DS's touch-panel interface and even came up with a prototype." The idea was eventually rejected, with the notion that the two gaming systems would be identical. Miyamoto also expressed that "if the DS had flopped, we might have taken the Wii back to the drawing board."
The console was known by the code name of "Revolution" until April 27, 2006, immediately prior to E3. According to the Nintendo Style Guide, the name "is simply Wii, not Nintendo Wii." This means it is the first home console Nintendo has marketed outside of Japan without the company name featured in its trademark. While "Wiis" is a commonly used pluralization of the console, Nintendo has stated that the official plural form is "Wii systems" or "Wii consoles." Nintendo spells "Wii" with two lower-case "i" characters meant to resemble two people standing side by side, representing players gathering together, as well as to represent the console's controllers. The company has given many reasons for this choice of name since the announcement; however, the most well known is: “ Wii sounds like 'we', which emphasizes that the console is for everyone. Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii. ”
Despite Nintendo's justification for the name, some game developers and members of the press initially reacted negatively towards the change. They preferred "Revolution" over "Wii" and expressed fear "that the name would convey a continued sense of 'kidiness'[sic] to the console." The BBC reported the day after the name was announced that "a long list of puerile jokes, based on the name," had appeared on the Internet. Reggie Fils-Aime acknowledged the initial reaction and further explained the change: “ Revolution as a name is not ideal; it's long, and in some cultures, it's hard to pronounce. So we wanted something that was short, to the point, easy to pronounce, and distinctive. That's how 'Wii,' as a console name, was created. ”
Nintendo defended its choice of "Wii" over "Revolution" and responded to critics of the name by stating: "live with it, sleep with it, eat with it, move along with it."
On September 14, 2006, Nintendo announced release information for Japan, North and South America, Australasia (Oceania), Asia, and Europe, including dates, prices, and projected unit distribution numbers. At an earlier policy briefing, Nintendo revealed plans to release 6 million console units and 17 million software units during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007. This included the 4 million or more console units they expected to ship by the end of the 2006 calendar year. It was announced that the majority of the 2006 shipments would be allotted to the Americas and that 33 titles would be available in the 2006 launch window. As reported, the United Kingdom suffered a large shortage of console units as many high-street and online stores were unable to fulfill all preorders when it was released on December 8, 2006. As of March 2007, some UK stores still had a shortage of consoles.
Nintendo announced that they would release their console in South Korea by the end of 2007.
When the Wii was released, there was much criticism about the Wii's graphic engine and power as a whole. The Wii has been marked by many players and critics as a family friendly system with no "hard core" market. Third party games have also had trouble selling well on the Wii due to piracy and their unknown existence to many new gamers. To critics, the engine seemed weak, and so third parties wouldn't try their best at making games for the Wii, or support Nintendo at all. Graphical power started to improve and is currently still improving with the use of cell-shaded graphics.
- Official sites