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Nintendo Businesses Portables (Games)

Nintendo May Retire Game Boy Name 93

Posted by Zonk
from the game-over-man dept.
GameDaily is reporting on commentary from Nintendo of America's George Harrison, who essentially says the company will no longer be using the Game Boy brand. While at one point the DS was the 'third pillar' along with the Game Boy and the GameCube/Wii, the handheld has in recent years more than proven its worth. "This year in our marketing you really won't see much push against Game Boy itself, so it will kind of seek its own level. It's hard to say in the future if we will ever bring back the Game Boy trademark. It was a big risk for us to actually pass on it and call the new product the Nintendo DS, but it was part of Mr. Iwata's philosophy that if we're going to make a radical difference and try to reach a new audience, then we have to change the name ... We had to make a break even though we had one of the greatest trademarks in the history of the industry."
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Nintendo May Retire Game Boy Name

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  • with this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jimbug (1119529) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:13PM (#19892225)
    a part of my childhood just died.
  • by riceboy50 (631755) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:14PM (#19892233)
    Every once in a while, it's nice to develop a totally new idea that doesn't leverage the same brand for eternity. It shows a willingness to innovate IMO.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Tell that the company that makes the PSone, PS2, and PS3.
      • Not to be a Sony apologist or anything but as far as the brand name goes, who cares? If Nintendo had named the Wii, the Gamecube 2, would the innovation of the system itself take a huge hit? So yes - branding like the Playstation brand can stagnate but that has more to do with the products that the branding is applied to than the actual use of the brand.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by riceboy50 (631755)
          My point was that, at least to me, it shows that a company is probably more willing to innovate with their product if they are willing to step out into an entirely new name. It shows a certain level of marketing courage. Some people may not agree, that is why I said that it was my opinion. :D
          • by tbannist (230135)
            Actually, companies that are willing to "innovate" with the brand name are usually less likely to make significant changes to the branded product. They usually spend a lot of money on a new name rather than new features for the product.

            However, it's Nintendo. Mostly likely the name "Gameboy" is being dropped because it's perceived to limit the console's appeal to girls and adults. They'll choose some new name doesn't include the word boy, I expect they're going to try to follow up on the Wii's runaway su
        • by nearlygod (641860)
          Nintendo has an advantage here because long as it is a Nintendo ________, people will know it is a gaming system. However, Sony _______ wouldn't necessarily be a gaming system because they make other stuff: TV's, Stereos, etc. Same with Microsoft. The XBox and Playstation brands let you know that they are game related were as Nintendo is both a gaming brand and the name of the company.

          nearlygod
      • gameboy, game boy color, gameboy advance, gameboy advance sp, gameboy micro, say what now mr. Anonymous Coward?
        • by Yvan256 (722131)
          And you forgot the Gameboy pocket, too. That means 6 consoles with the name "Gameboy".

          Granted, Sony hasn't made consoles for as long as Nintendo, so who knows.

        • by Yvan256 (722131)
          Eh, we both forgot the Super Gameboy (GB add-on cart for SNES) and the Gameboy Player (GBA add-on for Gamecube).

          Make that 8 Nintendo consoles/add-ons with Gameboy in the name.

          • You are right. I never owned a gameboy until last year (won it at a company party) so I was going off a rusty memory
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        Well, either it's that or the console market really will give everyone at most two generations in the spotlight.
    • by Dogtanian (588974) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @05:00PM (#19892917) Homepage

      Every once in a while, it's nice to develop a totally new idea that doesn't leverage the same brand for eternity. It shows a willingness to innovate IMO.
      Well, I've heard it stated or implied in more than one place that the DS wasn't a guaranteed success, and that not calling it "Game Boy" also reduced the risk to the brand. Of course, since the DS did succeed and overshadowed the Game Boy-branded devices, it has ultimately left the Game Boy brand stranded.

      Personally, I wouldn't want to see the name associated with the DS anyway (as some have suggested and/or hinted that Nintendo would do). The DS really did take things in a new direction, and I've always associated the Game Boy with children and early-teens. The original DS's childish appearance (and possibly the child-associated legacy of Nintendo's name) slightly turned me off the thing. It wasn't until the Lite came out that I saw the ligh... um, sense ;-) It looks great, and coupled with the range of more adult/universal (*) games that had been released, it overcame my prejudices. DS is now more than a kids console, and using the Game Boy name again would be a step backwards.

      Nintendo have stated that they don't intend using it again anyway. [modojo.com]

      (*) That's "adult" as in games adults of all ages would play- Kawashima, Big Brain, 42 All Time Classics (AKA Clubhouse games). Not as in "lots of soft porn to get 14 year olds' attention".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I hate to break it to you, but it's too late. In some places, the term "Gameboy" is irreperably tied to the DS.

        When I bought my DS while overseas in Japan, my japanese friends were impressed with my "Gameboy DS". I've seen my fair share of mothers referring to their child's DS as their "Gameboy", and also a number of store clerks called it the "New Gameboy" when it first appeared on shelves.

        Maybe the next iteration will leave behind the name, but much like how many parents called the Sega Genesis the "Ninte
  • Why don't they just quietly stop advertising for the Game Boy product, stop it's production.
    • by triso (67491)

      Why don't they just quietly stop advertising for the Game Boy product, stop it's production.
      Well, this is free advertising...But the real problem is the retail stock on the shelves. They just can't abandon the GB and let the retailers take the loss.
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      Because you are missing the other half of the conversation. Someone -asked- them about it, and they responded. By only printing the response, it looks like a press release, instead of the simple answer to the question.

      How do I know this? A game news site's story. I can't find the one right now, since we just had a ton of pointless 'news' stories about E3, 95% of which were duplicates, even on the same site.
  • by TruePoindexter (975295) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:16PM (#19892249)
    Gonna be sad to see the GB name go but it's not like the idea behind Gameboy games is gone. Cheap, fun, portable, reliable - all principles the Gameboy pionered and the DS continues.
    • Gonna be sad to see the GB name go but it's not like the idea behind Gameboy games is gone. Cheap, fun, portable, reliable - all principles the Gameboy pionered and the DS continues.

      Yeah, but you can definitely understand why they're dropping it. The DS could actually be quite a capable "smart-device" if Nintendo wanted to market it that way. After all, it already has wi-fi built in, plus chat, mail, etc. I don't know if they have it or not, but if the DS includes an address book and a few other things (calendar, graphing calculator, memo pad), it would actually make a killer replacement for a PDA. The only problem getting exec types to use it with the "GameBoy" moniker on it.

      • "The only problem getting exec types to use it with the "GameBoy" moniker on it."
        The DS does not have the "GameBoy" moniker on it. It's called the Nintendo DS. When it was released, Nintendo specifically said it was not part of the Game Boy product line. It's not a Game Boy. No one calls it a Game Boy, well, except you apparently.
        • The DS does not have the "GameBoy" moniker on it. It's called the Nintendo DS. When it was released, Nintendo specifically said it was not part of the Game Boy product line. It's not a Game Boy. No one calls it a Game Boy, well, except you apparently.

          I'm well aware of the fact that it doesn't have the "GameBoy" moniker on it. What I'm referring to is any future releases of DS type consoles with more PDA capabilities. What I was saying is they should avoid using the "GameBoy" moniker on those if they wish to sell them to a more mature crowd. No one was confused by what I was trying to say, well, except you apparently.

      • The DS could actually be quite a capable "smart-device" if Nintendo wanted to market it that way. After all, it already has wi-fi built in, plus chat, mail, etc. I don't know if they have it or not, but if the DS includes an address book and a few other things (calendar, graphing calculator, memo pad), it would actually make a killer replacement for a PDA.

        Many of those PDA-like functions can be accomplished through the use of DS homebrew. There's NDSMail [bronto-online.de] for email (though the lack of SSL limits its usabil

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Malekin (1079147)
      With games costing almost half the price of the console, I must say you have a strange definition of "cheap".
  • by grapeape (137008) <(moc.rr.ck) (ta) (7epopm)> on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:17PM (#19892269) Homepage
    Two years ago the Gameboy had a name recognition that the DS could only dream about. Fast Forward to now and the DS is projected to sell over 100 million in 2007 alone. It took 3 years for Nintendo to get to 75 million with the GBA&GBASP. Everyone who could possibly be interested in a handheld gaming system knows what a DS is.

    It will still be sad for those of us who have been gameboy fans from the greyscale years to the GBA. I am curious about Iwata's comments when the DS launched that the DS was not a replacement for the Gameboy and that a new gameboy would come eventually, has that tech been scrapped or just rolled into the next version of the DS. Concidering the DS has backwards compatability his comments never made sense to me anyway, but he went out of his way at the time to say that the GBA was a separate product line. Perhaps it was simply so the GBASP would continue to sell?
    • I am curious about Iwata's comments when the DS launched that the DS was not a replacement for the Gameboy and that a new gameboy would come eventually, has that tech been scrapped or just rolled into the next version of the DS. Concidering the DS has backwards compatability his comments never made sense to me anyway, but he went out of his way at the time to say that the GBA was a separate product line. Perhaps it was simply so the GBASP would continue to sell?

      My guess is that the DS was originally conce

      • I don't think anybody expected the DS to become what it is today.
        I know I didn't. When the DS launched, I laughed at it. When the MarioKart bundle hit, I bought it. Now, I can't put it down.
      • by cHALiTO (101461)
        I used to think it was a gimmick, etc etc. One day a friend lent me a PSP, had it for a week, didn't like it much. I was kinda big, low battery life.. dunno.. something didn't quite feel right..

        Then a few months ago, I met some guys that organized nintendo-themed meetings. They lent me a DS, and I tried a few games for a few minutes.. and I was in love.

        Now I got my own DS Lite, and man, those are the best 200 bucks I've spent (yes it's that expensive here, sadly).
        • by grapeape (137008)
          Throw me in with the "I thought it was a gimmick" crowd. I have been a gameboy fan since the old grey brick but didn't think the DS was going to fly. Of course I bought one anyway (I was also one of the suckers that picked up a virtual boy) it was fun and it could play all my GBA games so I was satisfied with it. Then came Phoenix Wright, Lost in Blue, Touch Detective, Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow and dozens of others and I found it wasnt so much of a gimmick after all. Nintendo just has this knack for fi
        • by mgblst (80109)
          Clearly it is a gimmick. Just nobody told everybody else.

          Who would have thought that Nintendo would have won the mobile game and home gaming wars with the two least powerful options. (The DS vs PSP, and Wii vs Xbox, PS3) I mean, we have all been saying that most people don't really need the powerful processors produced today, except for the latest games, and now it seems they don't even need them for that!
    • "Everyone who could possibly be interested in a handheld gaming system knows what a DS is."

      Nintendo begs to differ. Just because you may have given up on getting grandma to play one doesn't mean they have. And, scarily, after seeing my mother get hooked on Wii bowling I think they might have a decent chance at pulling it off.
    • Fast Forward to now and the DS is projected to sell over 100 million in 2007 alone.

      ...WHAT? DS is currently around 45 million [vgchartz.com] since its launch in 2004. This is exceptionally fast, in fact the DS sets all-time hardware records in several regions. But it's not close to selling 100 million units in total, let alone selling 100 million units in one year.

      I am curious about Iwata's comments when the DS launched that the DS was not a replacement for the Gameboy and that a new gameboy would come eventually

      I'm

  • Let's call our DSs "GameBoys" in protest! (I do anyway by mistake, but now I have an excuse)
    • by starX (306011)
      I've referred to my ds as a Gameboy ever since I got the thing, and I haven't yet met anyone that didn't know what I was talking about. Maybe in ten years' time I'll be talking to my kids about the DSx3 and call it a Gameboy and they'll give me a blank stare like I don't know what I'm talking about and so should be quiet.
  • > We had to make a break even though we had one of the greatest trademarks in the history of the industry."

    You know, as successful as the Game Boy was, I can't suspect it would have been taken more seriously by a wider segment of the target audience had it been called something a little less silly-sounding than "Game Boy". Does this only come off as juvenile and silly in English-speaking markets, or does it seem that way in other markets, too? Or perhaps it's just me? Nintendo seems to me to be pretty
    • by grapeape (137008)
      Because Famicom sounded better than Nintendo Geinou Keiretsu??
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by brkello (642429)
      Don't worry...they learned their lesson about naming their products silly things. As hard as people have tried...no one has been able to make fun of the "Wii".
      • by Goaway (82658)
        Learned their lesson indeed. With the entire internet mocking the name, it's outselling everything else.
    • by kisrael (134664)
      For a certain generation at least, I don't think "Gameboy" really got parsed into its component parts. Neither did "Walkman" for that matter... both were just words were the first part was descriptive but the second was just filler.

      And Sony did the same thing, Workstation -> Playstation.

      It was a decent name.
    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      You know, as successful as the Game Boy was, I can't suspect it would have been taken more seriously by a wider segment of the target audience had it been called something a little less silly-sounding than "Game Boy".

      Thing is, after a while you don't notice silly names. You don't notice the name at all, in fact. Does anyone stop and think "The Beatles- what a lame pun and cheesy parody of 'The Crickets'"? No. The Beatles are the band.

      That having been said, it's possible the name "Game Boy" helped shunt the console towards the child/early-adolescent market before people had got used to its name, and when time had passed, it was already associated with those users.

      I don't know if "Game Boy" is strictly speaking Wasei [wikipedia.org]

    • by dosius (230542)
      Did they themselves name it the Famicom? I was under the impression that was a nickname given by the users that stuck (and was used on peripherals) and that they called it the Nintendo Family Computer.

      -uso.
  • by SolusSD (680489)
    i always thought the game boy name was corny
  • Since DS isn't a name that seems likely to be passed to the next generation Nintendo handheld device (which will most likely have some sort of other new feature differentiating it), I'd give it at least a 50/50 that Nintendo will bring the Game Boy moniker for the next generation handheld. I don't think most people at the moment even realize the Nintendo DS isn't named the Nintendo Game Boy DS. The brand is there in one's mind even if Nintendo isn't actually using it.

    • I don't think most people at the moment even realize the Nintendo DS isn't named the Nintendo Game Boy DS.

      I know perfectly well it's not called the Game Boy DS, and I've called it that. Wired too deep into my brain now, I think...

      Then again, I've heard the PSP called a Game Boy too. Ouch.

  • ..while I have loved the Game Boy and most of its successors since the original, I always thought the "Game Boy" name itself was -- how to put this diplomatically -- complete and total crap. I loved the machine and always had one shoved in a pocket throughout the early 1990s, but mine usually had a sticker or Dymo label or something stuck on over the name.
    • I always thought the "Game Boy" name itself was -- how to put this diplomatically -- complete and total crap.

      Fortunately, Nintendo have got better at naming games systems since those days. Yep. Nobody can accuse Nintendo of coming up with crap names these days. Not at all.

  • What's stopping them from using "GameBoy" on their next handheld? They don't have to call it the DS 2, do they?
    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      What's stopping them from using "GameBoy" on their next handheld? They don't have to call it the DS 2, do they?

      They expanded the audience with the DS; the Game Boy name, aside from any lingering cheesiness, is still something people associate with a kids' console.

      I'm one of the people who bought a DS- due to the interesting games- who would never have bought a Game Boy. Personally, having the Game Boy name associated with a console would probably put me off; prejudiced maybe, but unfortunately true.

  • That's what a huge number of people I know refer to the Nitendo DS as. It was a VERY successful name. After all, the Game Boy Advance line has sold how many units at this point?

    And people bashing the "Game Boy" name... are you guys serious? It's the only non-ridiculous name Nintendo has come up with ever!

    NES, SNES = don't count as "names" IMO. same goes for Famicom (family computer).
    Virtual Boy -- not a bad name but a TERRIBLE idea so whatever.
    N64 ... hah yeah right. One of the least marketable names ever.
    G
    • As long as they don't call it the PiiNES...
    • I am not an analyst, but as far as I know the N64 was a very strong brand, especially the "N" logo. (You know, the nifty 3D thing made up of four Ns.)

      "Game Boy" makes no sense to me as the device is not a boy, the player is. And today, it's "the player was." Because sexism (intentional or perceived) just doesn't sell anymore. (Although I remember a few boxes with "Boy" crossed out and "Girl" written in, for the "girliest" games.)

      PlayStation (or 2, or 3) wasn't much more inherently marketable, if more re

  • I am not much of a gamer, but I did buy a Gameboy, mostly for Tetris. It is a solid machine. It was the original gameboy, and still works. I pull it out every one in while and play a game for old times sake.

    I think for the casual gamer, Nintendo has an awesome product, and salute them for taking the risk of creating a new franchise. One of the biggest problem I see in any industry is trying to support new products on the back of old success rather than trying to create a self supporting new product.

  • The most surprising part to me... is that the DS is NOT named the Gameboy DS. Until this very minute, I had no idea the DS wasn't a "Gameboy". I just always used the term "Gameboy DS" in common dialogue with people. To me, the Gameboy brand name is much stronger than anything else they want to call it... and any handheld by Nintendo will be a "Gameboy". I guess I'm a marketing director's worst nightmare.
    • Re:Weird... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Shados (741919) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @06:32PM (#19894175)
      Yup, when the DS came out, Nintendo was very specific that they did not intend to replace the Gameboy with it, and that they would be in parallel, with the DS being designed for more "original" games, and possibly target an older audience, while keeping the gameboy the traditional handheld.

      However, quickly (especially after the DS light, but even at launch or almost), normal games that would normally have found themselves on gameboy ended up on the DS, and the DS ate up all the gameboy's market, on top of its own incredible one. Thus Nintendo changed their mind about keeping the gameboy around (they talked about it quite a while ago actually). In other words, the first company to "defeat" the GB, has been Nintendo. Kind of amusing.
    • by captjc (453680)
      Even though I am well aware that it is and always has been called a Nintendo DS, as someone who grew up with the Gameboy since 1990, I still catch myself calling my DS, "my Gameboy". I guess some habits are hard to break...or probably just great marketing.
    • by pappy97 (784268)
      "I just always used the term "Gameboy DS" in common dialogue with people."

      I'm surprised nobody EVER corrected you. You must have friends that want you to look dumb in front of others.

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