Although Nintendo has continued to offer a wide range of programming for the Wii U — including but not limited to a sweet new ‘Starfox’ game — a report from Japanese newspaper Nikkei indicates that this might be the last year of production for the four-year-old console.
Although Nintendo hasn’t confirmed the report, it wouldn’t be surprising that the company would want to cease production. There have been plenty of rumors swirling around the company’s next console, called ‘Nintendo NX’ by the media, including a leak last week of what people are assuming is the controller for the new system. Add to that a relatively stagnant sales cycle that puts the Wii U miles behind its smash-hit predecessor, and the writing could be on the wall.
In context of home consoles, a 4-year console life doesn’t inspire good feelings. For example, Microsoft is still producing and making games for the Xbox 360, which it will support through the end of the year. That measures up to an 11-year console life. Meanwhile, Sony discontinued PlayStation 3 production after 9 years. And Nintendo’s previous console, the Wii, was discontinued after 7 years of production.
Although it seems that hardware production might cease, there is hope that Nintendo will continue to produce software content for the device in the coming years. After all, as seen in the past few years, there has been a strong response to releasing games across console generations and continuing support to preserve the life of those systems. After all, users have paid good money for them.
If these rumors are true, it will be hard to recommend the Wii U as a console to purchase — a shame, considering it has a great library full of games, in addition to Wii game support and a budding virtual console store. Perhaps Nintendo will have better luck on this next go.
Update, 23 March:
Nintendo has denied the claims. A spokesperson for the company told IT Media:
“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.”