Following the announcement that Nintendo will release its next console, Nintendo NX, in March 2016, it’s been reported that the company has also said that production of the Wii U could cease by March 2018.
The announcement about the Nintendo NX came in Nintendo’s financial reports which were released online earlier today, although no mention of the Wii U’s production ceasing was mentioned in them. However, both the BBC and Reuters have reported that the company’s President Tatsumi Kimishima stated in an earning’s briefing that production of Wii U consoles will end within a year of the Nintendo NX being released.
When Nintendo released the Wii, it was a huge hit however the Wii U has failed to live up to expectations and has sold considerably less than the Wii. Not only that, but it has also lagged behind the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and has never been seen as competition for the current-generation of consoles. The catalogue of games available on the Wii U has also been an issue for Nintendo with the games available not being enough to persuade gamers to purchase the console.
Since launching in November 2012, the Wii U has managed to sell only 12.8m units worldwide. For comparison, the Wii has sold over 101m units during its lifetime. Nintendo expect to sell only 800,000 Wii U consoles during its current financial year as well. With such low sales, it is understandable why the company will be looking at ceasing production. Sales of the Nintendo 3DS are also falling as portable gamers turn their attention to mobile gaming on their phones and tablets.
Speaking to the BBC, Research company IHS’s director of games, Pier Harding-Rolls explained that one of the reasons for the Wii U’s poor performance was that no one understood what exactly the Wii U was.
“When the Wii U launched no-one really understood what it was,” said Mr Harding-Rolls. “The two-screen experience wasn’t communicated well, so whatever they are bringing to market this time has to be unique and communicated clearly.”
If you do own a Wii U or will be purchasing one, you will at least be able to play the upcoming The Legend of Zelda game, although that has now been pushed back to 2017 and will release simultaneously on the Wii U as well as the NX.