I saw this article posted on some other gaming message boards, and the idea of it blew my mind. While the article was written by Emily Rogers, she went really indepth with her reasoning and evidence. I would suggest not passing on reading this article just because of the author. It's a good read.
Here's some snippets from the article.
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 continue the Game Boy Brand while trying to appeal to an urban young adult crowd. It makes sense too. If you paid attention to DS’s marketing in the last 6 years, Nintendo made a massive attempt to get older people and women to take the Nintendo DS brand name seriously.
Nintendo assumed that people walking around a busy city filled with people would use features like Pictochat on a bus, movie theater, schools, or at some social gathering. Wi-Fi was not as mainstream back in 2004 like it is in 2012. Nintendo assumed people could head into a cafe or restaurant with wifi to log into their DS. Again, it was building on the aspect that you bring your “City Boy” everywhere with you in the city.
Nintendo wanted gamers not to feel embarrassed of playing games in public. To make portable gaming more acceptable like playing games on your cell phone. The idea of “City Boy” was to get you to carry and play your Nintendo handheld more often in public (hence the word “City”) like your cell phone.
Look at how much Nintendo has pushed the idea of spotpass and streetpass in the 3DS. They have pushed this feature really hard. You even get tokens for carrying your 3DS to work or school. 3DS basically tries to push the idea that they originally wanted with DS: Getting people moving and taking their DS with them everywhere they go. They want you to bring your Nintendo handheld with you everywhere just like your phone.
Nintendo of America filed a trademark for “City Boy” on March 18, 2004 and it is still alive at uspto.gov
They filed the trademark 2 months before E3 2004 when the successor to Game Boy Advance would be revealed. Why would they trademark something with “Boy” in the name that is described as hardware (not software) 2 months before revealing the successor to Game Boy Advance?
And why was it called Nintendo DS instead of “City Boy”? Because Nintendo thought this handheld had a big chance to fail and they didn’t want it to tarnish the Game Boy brand name. Iwata was worried gamers wouldn’t understand the idea of a handheld with two screens.
Quote from Iwata:
Source of quote: http://www.n-sider.com/contentview.php?contentid=515
“It is a ‘unique’ machine, so not everybody will understand it right away. There might only be 10 to 15 people applauding during its unveiling at E3, but they’ll understand it once they touch it. At the least, it should serve as a hint towards [our] next-generation console.”
Another Iwata quote:
Type in Pikmin on a trademark search, and you get descriptions like ” ELECTRONIC GAME SOFTWARE, INTERACTIVE GAME DISCS, INTERACTIVE GAME PROGRAMS, INTERACTIVE GAME SOFTWARE, MUSICAL SOUND RECORDINGS, VIDEO GAME DISCS”
You don’t see that description for City Boy. It was not software. It was hardware. It was filed with other electronics. You see it filed with the category of electronic goods and services such as “DVD players, cellular phones, computers, cd players, microphones, and LCD screens”. This means that City Boy was hardware.
- This means Nintendo had backup plan if DS failed.
“[It] will enable fun and movement not seen before. I expect it to become a third pillar, next to GameCube and Game Boy.”
-Satoru Iwata, Gamasutra (January 07, 2004)