Even though it is, yes it is
Buried in this weekend’s report that Nintendo is about to start making animated feature films, CEO Tatsumi Kimishima, speaking to Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, also reiterated the company line that its upcoming “NX” console — out March 2017 — will not be a “pure replacement” for the Wii U (even though it will be).
“It’s something very new. The hardware, the software lineup, all of it is something I’d like to play for the first time myself,” he said.
“When the NX is released, the Wii U business will slow…However, the NX is neither the successor to the Wii U nor to the 3DS. It’s a new way of playing games, which I think will have a larger impact that the Wii U, but I don’t feel it’s a pure replacement for the Wii U.”
What Kimishima obscures or fails to address is that Wii U sales have already slowed down. See?
Nintendo released that infographic at the start of 2016. By the end of February Wii U sales perked up past 12 million and, yes, it’s been out only 3.5 years to the GameCube’s (~22M sales) 11 years, but this is clearly business speak meant to act as a balm so Wii U owners don’t feel jilted. “No, no; the thing you bought last year isn’t being unexpectedly replaced in 10 months.”
But how many Wii U games are going to come out in 2017, especially after Zelda? The Wii U is already a boutique product — it’s basically a Nintendo box. And unless Nintendo plans on diverting effort from its new hardware, which it needs to do well, it’s not like there’s going to be third-party support propping up the Wii U. Whatever Nintendo says, the Wii U has to die for the NX to be reborn from its ashes, even if we had some good times (most of them centering around Nintendo Land‘s Mario Chase).