Earlier today the Nikkei, a popular Japanese newspaper known for getting the scoop on many of Nintendo’s past moves, reported that the Wii U is ceasing production later this year. This is especially damning because in past generations Nintendo usually keeps on producing hardware up until the end of the lifecycle, and in some cases, like the Game Boy, NES, and Wii, it will continue to release consoles long after the successor is released. It was big news back in the GameCube days when Nintendo halted production for awhile to clear stock, but it sounds like they’re at it again this time with the Wii U. The difference is that it’s unlikely they’ll begin production again after it stop, as the system just hasn’t caught on in the marketplace. It has only sold around 12.5 million systems life-to-date, by far its worst selling console in its history (Virtual Boy not included).
This could be why there have been supply issues with the Wii U in Japan over the past month or so, with many retailers reporting unusual out of stocks. It looks like Nintendo is struggling to find the perfect amount of supply to meet demand without accruing a huge overstock of inventory.
Ceasing production of the Wii U definitely gives credence to the possibility of NX releasing later this year. It also might point to the NX being a console replacement, otherwise why stop production of its main console?
We don’t know for sure if Nikkei’s report is factual, and Nintendo’s official response to several Japanese media outlets is confusing. According to the UK site, Express, a source from Nintendo told a Japanese site, IT Media, that “This isn’t an announcement from our company. From the next quarter and thereafter as well, production of the Wii U is scheduled to continue”. However, Nintendo apparently told GameWatch, “We plan to continue to sell Wii U next year”.
Well, of course they’ll need to sell Wii U next year to get rid of the ones they’ve produced through the end of the year. So, it looks like Nintendo will still produce Wii U’s for the next few quarters, but that it will probably slow production and eventually stop it by the end of the year to make way for NX.