Following a decline in sales and reports from Nintendo’s Japanese site that production would soon halt, Wii U production officially ends in Japan.
The history of the Wii U has been a long and interesting one, with an unfortunate ending in some regions. With sales dropping and the confirmation that console production would soon cease completely in Japan, things have been looking quite dim for the troubled Nintendo console. Things have taken another dark turn, as the Japanese Nintendo site has confirmed Wii U production will end within that country.
As reported by Kotaku, the announcement that Wii U production is officially ending in Japan was first found under the Wii U hardware section of the site. In a banner above the two currently-available Wii U versions — one inspired by Splatoon and one standard model — it specifies that the doing away is only domestic. The banner has been understood to be translated from Japanese to English as, “Wii U has finished all production in Japan.” No additional comment has been given from other regions, specifically Nintendo of America, on whether production there will end as well.
Unfortunately, this news does not come as a total surprise to many. Rumors had long been circulating that Wii U production in Japan would soon come to a stop, and despite twice denying the truth (once in early 2016 and again in late 2016), Nintendo of Japan later made the difficult announcement confirming the console’s bitter end. Nintendo executive Shigeru Miyamoto once mentioned price point as causing poor sales for the Wii U, which many have identified as a major factor in the console’s decline.
The Wii U’s struggles have not been region-specific, however, as the console has not fared well in North America either. In an interview with GameSpot, Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime dove into why players didn’t pick up the Wii U upon its launch, putting it down to a lack of a strong “clarity of the consumer proposition.” He also stated that the company’s forthcoming Nintendo Switch console is “clear” and “compelling,” enough to outperform the Wii U.
This seems to align with the general mindset regarding the Wii U, with many players stating they could no longer continue to wait for the console to catch up. Others grew tired of the Wii U falling back on flashy game releases to recapture an audience’s attention. Simply put, far too many players had given up on the Wii U, and were turning to other consoles. Consumer disappointment and poor market performance marred the Wii U, making the early projection that the console would reach 25 million units sold over its lifetime seem like a pipe dream.
Despite its impending end, it looks like the Wii U will go out on a high note in Japan. After the Nintendo Switch launch event a few weeks ago, Fils-Aime confirmed to Polygon that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would be the last game developed by Nintendo for the Wii U. However, Fils-Aime’s statement also hinted at a downfall for the console in North America: “We really are at the end of life for Wii U.”