Last night, a rumour began circulating that Nintendo could be planning to cease production on the Wii U console later this year, presumably in order to make way for the upcoming Nintendo NX console which is set to be announced later this year.
While the company rarely responds to these sort of things, it did issue a comment on this story, denying that the Wii U will have its cycle brought to an end this year.
This is what Nintendo said:
“This isn’t an announcement from our company,” a Nintendo spokesperson told Japanese site IT Media (translated by, Kotaku). “From the next quarter and thereafter as well, production [of the Wii U] is scheduled to continue.”
Nintendo’s statement distances itself from Nikkei’s claim and plays down the idea it is on the cusp of abandoning Wii U. But by only promising Wii U production through until this autumn it does not contradict Nikkei’s initial report.
The Japanese paper has a history of well-sourced reports on Nintendo, and the reasons it listed for the Wii U’s retirement all make sense.
The console has been in failure when compared to the stellar success of Wii (it has sold around 10 per cent of the Wii’s eventual total) and Nintendo now considers it impossible for the Wii U to stage any kind of comeback.
More pressingly, this year is expected to see the arrival of Nintendo’s new console code-named NX. Nintendo hardware – especially its home consoles – is kept alive on a steady flow of Nintendo-developed games. It is likely Nintendo has already moved the bulk of its software teams away from Wii U development and on to NX.
Finally, while Wii production continued well into the life of Wii U, the retirement of Wii U manufacturing fits with another Nintendo console whose success was seen in a similar light: the GameCube. Production on that console concluded around the time of Wii. It makes sense the same will happen with Wii U when the NX arrives.