Nintendo's Wii U dies the way it lived: quietly and overlooked
This past week, several reports have stated that the Nintendo will stop production of the Wii U and focus instead on its upcoming Switch console. A spokesperson for Nintendo initially stated that, despite production of the new Switch beginning soon, Wii U production “is scheduled to continue,” as reported by Kotaku. However, IGN is reporting that another representative of the Japanese gaming giant has confirmed that production is indeed ending. On November 10, the representative reached out to IGN, stating:
“As recently posted by Nintendo on the Wii U website in Japan, Wii U production will end in the near future for the Japanese domestic market. We have nothing to announce in terms of exact timing. We can confirm that as of today, all Wii U hardware that will be made available in the North American market for this fiscal year has already been shipped to our retail partners. We encourage anyone who wants Wii U to communicate with their preferred retail outlet to monitor availability.”
At this time, Nintendo has not made any other official statement or press release concerning the discontinuation of the console in North America. They have stated that Wii U production will end soon in Japan and focus will shift to the Switch, Nintendo’s new console projected for release in March 2017.
The Wii U has floundered since its release, selling only 13.36 million units from November 2012 to September 2016. Compared to Nintendo’s previous smash hit Wii, which sold almost 85 million units in the four years after its release, the Wii U has been a financial disaster for Nintendo. Poor third party support, underwhelming hardware, and steep competition from Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One led to the poor sales and slow adoption of the Wii U. It largely flew under the radar during its life and, with nothing more than a comment from a Nintendo representative, looks to die a quiet death.