Nintendo Ds Was Almost Called “City Boy”
Nintendo DS almost wasn’t called Nintendo DS.
Two years ago, I heard from people who worked at Nintendo of America that they didn’t originally plan to call it Nintendo DS. The successor to the Game Boy Advance was going to be called “City Boy”. This took me back for a second. “City Boy?” Why City Boy? It might sound weird, but this is coming from a company that named their home consoles “Wii” and “Wii U”. Here was the explanation:
They had originally planned to keep the Game Boy brand going. But even way back in 2003, Nintendo saw the threat of smartphone gaming. There’s no mistake that the Game Boy brand was huge, but Nintendo wanted their handhelds to appeal to older gamers at a time when cell phone games were gaining more popularity.
Nintendo wanted people to carry their Nintendo handheld everywhere just like their phone.
“Game Boy” had the image of being a handheld for younger gamers, and Nintendo was determined to get rid of that image.
The name “Nintendo DS” was not the official name at E3 2004. And they tip-toed around a few names. One of those names was “City Boy” because it would appeal to a young adult urban audience who have a busy “always on the go” lifestyle. “City Boy” was an attempt to make the Game Boy brand (seen as a child’s toy) sound more hip and adult. This name made it possible for Nintendo to to appeal to an urban young adult crowd without completely abandoning the Game Boy brand . It makes sense too. Look at how much Nintendo made an attempt to get older people and women to take the Nintendo DS seriously.
Nintendo assumed that people walking around a city would use features like pictochat on a bus, movie theater school, or at some social gathering. Wi-Fi was not as mainstream back then, but Nintendo assumed people could head into a cafe or restaurant with wifi to logo into their 3DS. Again, it was building on the aspect that you bring your City Boy everywhere with you in the city.
Nintendo wanted gamers to not feel embarrassed of playing games in public. And the idea of “City Boy” was to get you to play your Nintendo handheld more often in public.
Fast forward to today.