What’s In A Name: Nintendo Switch

Nintendo began naming its video game systems rather simple. The Nintendo Entertainment System was often called “Nintendo” by most kids and in fact the name became synonymous with video games. It’s no surprise then that the next iteration simply added Super to the front and called it good. Nintendo 64 kept the Nintendo name front and center, but starting with the GameCube, the Nintendo name began taking a backseat. Of course with the Wii (a completely made up word), the Nintendo name was completely dropped and the Wii U confused just about everybody.

Perhaps that’s why Nintendo really wanted to nail the naming of its new system. Calling it the Nintendo Switch put the company’s name back in the title, front and center. Seeing the preview trailer, it immediately became obvious that the Switch moniker was referring to the ability to instantly switch between handheld and TV gameplay.



In the latest issue of Nintendo Dream, a Japanese gaming magazine, they sent a few questions to Nintendo, one of which was asking about the Switch’s name and how it came to me. Nintendo replied:


“We decided that this name would be the best fit for our product for two reasons. 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.”

“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. 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.”


So, there you have it. The Nintendo Switch was meant to convey the ability to switch between handheld and TV gaming as well as flipping a switch to change the way people experience entertainment. Nothing too complicated, which is a good thing for conveying a simple message to customers and for a cohesive marketing plan. Sometimes simple is better – just look at Sony with its consistent naming scheme for its PlayStation gaming consoles.


[Source: Nintendo Everything]

Craig Majaski

Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He's currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.

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