E3 06: Homeless online: why Nintendo doesn't own wii.com

Washington state timber firm owns wii.com, is mum on future plans for the domain.

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LOS ANGELES--The registry information for wii.com shows that it was originally registered by timber and paper firm Willamette Industries Inc. in 1994, a time when Nintendo's Super NES was duking it out with Sega's Genesis and Saturn. Just to put things in context, the original Sony PlayStation wasn't even out on the August day that Willamette Industries snapped up wii.com--it wouldn't hit shelves until the end of the year.

A lot of things have changed since then: Two console generations have come and (almost) gone, and Willamette Industries is no more. The company was gobbled up in a hostile takeover by forest product behemoth Weyerhaeuser in 2002. Along with Willamette's plants, real estate, and equipment, Weyerhaeuser also gained ownership of its intangible assets--like the wii.com domain name.

Registry information shows that Weyerhaeuser is doing a good job of maintaining its claim to the domain: Its registration fees are paid until 2009. The only way that Nintendo might be able to obtain the domain for its own use is by buying the domain outright from Weyerhaeuser.

Will Weyerhaeuser sell wii.com if the house of Mario comes knocking? GameSpot contacted the company to ask exactly that question, but Weyerhaeuser's legal department had not responded as of press time.

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