The console was conceived in 2001, as the Nintendo GameCube was first seeing release. According to an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, 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 By 2005, the controller interface had taken form, but a public showing at that year's E3 was withdrawn.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' 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."