At first glace, GCN isn’t the most obvious acronym for the Nintendo GameCube. In fact, I’ve caught myself second guessing and wondering if it’s GCN or NGC, which might seem like it would be the better suited acronym for the Nintendo GameCube. In comparison, the official acronym in Asia is much less confusing. There Nintendo decided to keep it simple and stick with just “GC”.
So why did Nintendo of America (NOA) decide to deviate and give the console the “GCN” acronym in the West?
The Origin of the GameCube’s “GCN” Abbreviation
According to an internal NOA memo first published by IGN, the American division of the video game giant decided to depart from the Asian standard of abbreviating the console name as “GC”. The move was a marketing decision as the company thought that the Nintendo name needed to be more prominent in the acronym. In their view, “it was important to include the ‘N’ in the Western Hemisphere and Europe to recognize and reflect the strength of the world-famous Nintendo brand name.
Previous acronyms used by NOA for the consoles put the ‘N’ up front for systems like the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Nintendo 64 (N64). So the question still remains why NOA went with GCN vice NGC for the GameCube’s abbreviation. While the internal memo doesn’t specify, this was most likely done to stay as closely in-line with the Asian naming standard as possible.
Breaking with Asian nomenclature is nothing new for NOA; They’ve been doing it almost from the very start. Take the NES for example. In Japan, the console was known as the Famicom, short for family computer. Once again the decision for a re-brand was made for marketing purposes. Afterall, the NES hit American shores following the video game crash of 1983, so they wanted to distance themselves from all things video game and computers as much as possible. We all know how exceedingly well that worked so it makes sense that NOA would want to capitalize on Nintendo’s brand which had an incredible amount of social currency.
Nintendo GameCube Memo [Full Text]
M E M O R A N D U M
Nintendo of America Inc.
TO: All NOA/NST/NTD/NOCL/NMl/SIRAS Employees
FROM: Mr. Arakawa
DATE: October 20, 2000
SUBJECT: NINTENDO GAMECUBE Brand Integrity
cc: Peter Main, Phil Rogers. John Bauer, Jacqualee Story
In connection with the exciting announcements concerning the new
NINTENDO GAMECUBE video game platform, I would like to take this opportunity to provide clear guidelines on the appropriate use of the name of the system.
The official name is the “NINTENDO GAMECUBE” system. There is no space between “GAME” and ‘”CUBE” in normal typewritten text. We strongly prefer that all letters in the brand name be capitalized, but if necessary in certain circumstances, the name can also be written as “Nintendo GameCube”. Either way In typewritten documents please ensure that the “NINTENDO” portion of the trademark is not separated by an automatic return that puts the “GAMECUBE” portion of the trademark on a separate line.
The only approved short name for the Western Hemisphere and Europe is GCN. For your reference, Japan preferred to use a two-letter acronym “GC” in Asia. We felt it was important to include the “N” in the Western Hemisphere and Europe to recognize and reflect the strength of the world-famous NINTENDO brand name so our abbreviation is “GCN”.
For your convenience, here is a list of approved ways to communicate the name of our new video game system in the Western Hemisphere and Europe:
APPROVED: NINTENDO GAMECUBE, Nintendo GameCube, GCN
NOT APPROVED: Nintendo GAMECUBE, GAME CUBE, Cube, GC, N-Cube, N³, etc.
If you have any questions, or if you believe a specific circumstance warrants an exception to these general guidelines, please contact the Legal Department Intellectual Property Group.
Thank you for your help in protecting the brand strength of the NINTENDO GAMECUBE system.