May its soul battle eternally until Ragnarok
Eurogamer broke the news last week that Nintendo was cycling down its production of the Wii U, possibly as early as this Friday. Nintendo denied these reports to Japanese site IT media, saying it was “not true.”
However, the Japanese Wii U site was updated earlier today with new information underneath the Wii U console suggesting that production is scheduled to end in Japan. This doesn’t give a timeframe, but does show acknowledgement by Nintendo that the Wii U is on its way out.
This move has been rumored since March this year, and it’s not surprising that Nintendo wants to focus on the future. Wii U is the first console it’s ever sold at a loss. Even though the company launched nearly a year before the competition and has sold over 12.5 million Wii U consoles, it has been solidly in last place for this entire console generation. What’s more, smartphones and tablets have been eating into its far more profitable handheld division, though sales saw a spike after Pokémon Go brought lapsed players back to the series.
If you’ve ever wanted a Wii U, you may want to buy one soon. It’s estimated that the parts to produce each console cost around $230, so you’re not likely to see any discounts deeper than that, even after the Switch launches next Spring. Since the console and its replacement parts won’t be manufactured anymore, it’s my guess that number is more likely to climb than fall.
It’s a strange console, there’s no denying that. But I’ve had some great experiences with mine, and I suspect they’ll become hard to find once people start looking back on it with nostalgia rather than contempt. It’s hosted some of my favorite games this generation; I still play Splatoon, Mario Kart 8 and Smash Brothers pretty frequently. Sure, it was a failure, but a necessary one, paving the way for the Switch. We’ll have to wait and see if Nintendo’s new direction pans out, but I for one plan on keeping my Wii U and 3DS no matter how the Switch does.
[Update: Nintendo of America has confirmed that all Wii U hardware that will ever be available has already been shipped. The statement was provided to IGN and posted by Daniel Ahmad on Twitter.]
~13.6 million Wii U’s will be final shipment number.
101.63m – Wii
21.74m – GCN
32.93m – N64
49.10m – SNES
61.91m – NES pic.twitter.com/JY5WK8nYmb
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) November 10, 2016