Nintendo announced today that it is halting the production of Nintendo Wii U in Japan, and shortly afterward, expanded the cessation across the world.
According to an official statement, Nintendo has shut down the production of Wii U in Japan. While the company posted the statement on its website, a spokesperson for Nintendo confirmed that “Wii U production has ended globally.” The original announcement is in Japanese, but an English translation quickly surfaced on the internet.
The news about Nintendo ending Wii U production wasn’t exactly a shock to fans of the gaming console. The company had announced back in November 2016 that Wii U production would be ending “soon” in Japan, but chose not to offer an exact timeline. The termination of the production of Nintendo Wii U is in anticipation of the launch of Nintendo Switch, which is the company’s latest offering. The gaming console is just a few weeks shy of its global launch. Moreover, as revealed through a tweet from the Wall Street Journal’s Takashi Mochizuki, Nintendo wants to ensure there are ample gaming consoles available for the pre-orders.
The wordings in the announcement were rather confusing. It was initially believed that the end of production was limited only to Japan, while the rest of the world, and especially North America, could still have availability of Nintendo Wii U. Moreover, the company had confirmed that by November 2016, it had sent all of its Wii U shipments to North American retailers for the current fiscal year. Incidentally, the financial year for Japan ends in March 2017. However, GameSpot managed to obtain a confirmation from a Nintendo spokesperson regarding the global cessation of Nintendo Wii U production.
Although the hybrid gaming console managed to sell over 13 million units, it simply couldn’t match the phenomenal success of the Nintendo Wii. The console went on sale in November 2012, and the sales figures are up to December 31, 2016. In comparison, the Wii managed to sell more than 101 million units. Needless to say, while the Wii was massive, global hit, the Wii U failed to match up.
The Japanese company is now focusing its attention on Nintendo Switch and wants to ensure there’s no shortage of availability of the latest gaming console. Nintendo is acutely aware of the supply issues that plagued its massively underestimated Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition. The NES Classic Edition was an instant runaway hit. Priced quite conservatively at mere $60, the gaming console vanished quickly from physical and virtual shelves. Taking advantage of the same, many NES Classic Edition consoles are being sold on sites like eBay at a substantially jacked-up price.
Interestingly, Nintendo is playing a rather risky gamble with Nintendo Switch by launching the console in March. It is apparent that the company plans to introduce the new console before their fiscal year ends, reported Forbes. Perhaps it wishes to insert some of the anticipated success in its annual financial report. Usually the majority of the gaming consoles as well as the games are launched during the holiday season.
It is quite likely Nintendo might be cleverly trying to avoid competing with the upcoming and powerful options from companies like Microsoft, Sony, or even the latest offering from Apple. While Microsoft is expected to debut its rumored Xbox Scorpio, Sony might launch the next iteration of PlayStation series during the Christmas season. If Nintendo manages to replicate the success of NES Classic Edition, it could offer an enticing lineup of games in the holiday season to push the sales of Nintendo Switch.
There were rumors that Nintendo might introduce a Super Nintendo Classic Edition. A patent filing had set the internet abuzz with rumors about SNES Classic Edition, but they haven’t panned out yet. Having experienced the fan euphoria and nostalgia for NES Classic, Nintendo might be extra cautious with the launch on Nintendo Switch.
[Featured Image by Nintendo]