When Nintendo announced its plans to release a video games console with a ridiculous name that was American slang for urinating, the world laughed. A lot. The Wii, of course, went on to sell over 100 million units, making it the second-most successful games console of all time, leaving no one but Nintendo’s branding folks laughing.
In October, the company announced its latest games console, this one a hybrid home/portable platform. And while the Nintendo Switch isn’t the type of name that produces juvenile sniggering, it still sounds a little odd rolling off the tongue. Despite being a rather apt name for a device that lets players switch between their TVs and the system’s tablet screen, Switch sounds out of place in a world dominated by the Xbox and PlayStation brands.
Nintendo, however, has hidden huge ambitions behind the name. While it’s obviously supposed to convey to players that they can switch between screens, it’s also meant to deliver another message, one that’s similar to the promise made by the Wii’s more on-the-nose code name: Revolution.
“We decided that this name would be the best fit for our product for two reasons,” a Nintendo representative recently told Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream (as translated by Nintendo Everything). “It represents one of the defining features of the Switch, the ability to seamlessly ‘switch’ between the TV screen and Switch’s screen, while also embodying the idea of being a ‘switch’ that will flip, and change the way people experience entertainment in their daily lives.”
To that end, the company hoped the system’s October announcement trailer would convey the value of this new way of experiencing play.
“We wanted to show people just how much of an enjoyable difference it will make in their entertainment experiences, by having them see and hear for themselves what it can do in an easy-to-digest manner,” added the Nintendo rep. “It allows people to enjoy a home console experience not only in front of a TV, but in rooms with no TV, or outside altogether. And because the controllers are detachable from the main body of the console, each of its forms offer different play experiences for people to enjoy.”
The Nintendo Switch is scheduled to launch in March 2017. Nintendo will share more details about the console next month.