Subscribe To Report: The Wii U Is Dead, Long Live The Switch Updates
Reports are coming in that the Wii U is no more and Nintendo is burying the hatchet for the eighth gen flop by stopping production on the console a lot sooner than you might think. The company is ramping up marketing and production for the launch of the Nintendo Switch next year.
Eurogamer is reporting that Nintendo has only shipped a total of 13.36 million Wii U SKUs, and by the time production wraps up on Friday, they will have just a few more thousand units over that total. For the fiscal year, Nintendo only expected 800,000 units to ship for the Wii U and the reports indicate that they've already shipped more than 560,000 units, so the remaining figures will be what they produce leading up to Friday.
The Wii U had a rough run on the market. The console came out with a hot start, moving 3 million SKUs the first quarter out but then tapering off and slowing down drastically. 2013 was a really rough year for Nintendo because they didn't market the Wii U very well, they did nothing to dispel a media barrage of rumors that the console was "underpowered" (even more-so than the Xbox 360, which turned out not to be true) and many of the exclusives that were lined up for the console were either canned or turned multi-platform.
The Wii U had a really, really rough time. During the summer of 2013 it barely moved units due to a dearth of exclusives and a paltry line-up of third-party support. Publishers like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft also backed off of supporting the system, or did what many considered to be lazy ports from the Xbox 360.
The non-standard tech made it difficult for some port jobs to take place efficiently, resulting in some games having poor frame-rates or less than stellar performance on the Wii U. There were also issues with some games being canned altogether, such as Aliens: Colonial Marines, which never saw the light of day on the Wii U due to a myriad of issues, according to some of the coverage that came out during that time.
Nintendo was really reticent about marketing the console, though. They relegated the system to the back burner while they focused on the Nintendo 3DS. The lack of any sort of price cut at all also hampered the Wii U's market potential. With the GameCube they quickly marked down the price to $99.99, making it an extremely competitive alternative to the OG Xbox and PS2. During the Wii's era they didn't have to worry about markdowns because the console sold like crazy. Competitive markdowns would have helped drastically for the Wii U during big releases like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros., but Nintendo never bit.
We might likely see the Wii U selling a lot more fluidly when price cuts become permanent and the Nintendo Switch makes its way onto the market next March.