With Nintendo’s next-gen hybrid gaming platform, Nintendo Switch now officially unveiled to the world, it truly looks to be the beginning of the end for the Big N’s long-struggling current console, the Wii U. Despite Nintendo CEO, Tatsumi Kimishima previously stating that Wii U production could keep up throughout at least 2017, multiple sources have confirmed to Eurogamer, who has provided a huge amount of correct scoops regarding Nintendo news in recent months, that the Wii U will cease production as soon as this week. Allegedly, the final deadline for orders passed yesterday, and after this Friday, the Japanese production line for the console will cease for good. Any Wii U’s that are already stocked at retailers worldwide will remain available to purchase until they’re sold through however, should this report be correct.
Nintendo has not yet offered a statement as to whether or not they are ceasing production of Wii U consoles, though such a move would be pretty unsurprising. Considering the early positive reception to Nintendo Switch’s reveal trailer, and the continued fortunes of the company’s lucrative 3DS and 2DS line of handhelds, there’s really no reason to prolong the Wii U as current hardware. The console has infamously struggled to generate sales for the House of Mario, currently having sold a paltry count of approximately 13 million units worldwide, making it heavily trail the approximately 44 million units sold for PlayStation 4 worldwide to date, and considerably trail the approximately 23 million units sold for Xbox One worldwide to date. By contrast, the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS line of handhelds is the dominant platform of the current hardware generation, currently having sold just over 61 million units worldwide.
The Wii U barely has any games being released for it this Fall and Holiday season, further suggesting that Eurogamer’s scoop is accurate. Paper Mario: Color Splash, Just Dance 2017, Darksiders: Warmastered Edition and Skylanders: Imaginators are the only high-profile Wii U releases for the rest of this year, with only Paper Mario: Color Splash being Wii U-exclusive. Nintendo still has The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in development for Wii U, though a Nintendo Switch version will be released alongside the original Wii U build, which is allegedly targeting a launch alongside the Switch itself in March 2017. It’s looking like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be the last noteworthy Wii U game release at this rate, with Paper Mario: Color Splash likely being the console’s last high-profile exclusive.
The Nintendo 3DS and 2DS line is definitely not being discontinued however, with Nintendo confirming at a recent earnings call last week that 3DS/2DS game and hardware production is not ceasing for the foreseeable future, despite the launch of Nintendo Switch next March. Plenty of games for the 3DS and 2DS line are in development for release next year as well, between Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, Dragon Quest XI, Ever Oasis, Lady Layton, Mario Sports Superstars, and a new Pikmin side-scrolling action game, among others, which will release across various regions next year. Nintendo will also be releasing Mario Party: Star Rush for the 3DS/2DS line this Friday, and have already shattered pre-order sales records with Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, which will be made available for 3DS and 2DS on November 18th.
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