This week Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime did what almost any Executive in his position would do, he stated that the Wii U name wasn't the issue with the system, but did point out other areas that clearly have held the console back to date. That said, it's also clear that the name has been an issue to some extent, with plenty of tales readily available — from personal experience for many people — of confused potential customers not actually knowing the Wii U is an all-new system.
Of course, it's not just an issue for Nintendo to face, as technology companies typically add a number to hardware and send it out to market — the iPad generations have had their issues, for example. Clearly sticking a number before the brand name (2DS / 3DS) or a letter after another (Wii U) does baffle people, with a high profile example doing the rounds from ABC News. A "tech bytes" segment calls the 2DS and 3DS the "2Dees" and "3Dees" while claiming that the 2DS will show lower resolution graphics, which isn't quite accurate as it simply matches the 2D visuals on the 3DS. The Wii U is also consistently called the Wii — check it out below.
So how big a problem is this branding? It's an issue, though we wouldn't suggest it's a crippling problem; Nintendo simply needs to weigh in with clear, concise messaging and hope that retailers do the same.