Nintendo has been consistently denying that production on the Wii U was coming to an end. Well, the truth is that the production on the Wii U is coming to an end, at least in one place. Additional reports have revealed that the Wii U's final run might be this holiday season.
According to Kotaku the Wii U's production is set to end in Japan tonight. They note in a report that all versions of the Wii U other than the white 32GB Premium Set of the console will no longer be in production in Japan, meaning that some of those previous reports about the console coming to a production halt did have some merit, only the timing wasn't universal.
However, Polygon managed to get a quote from a Nintendo representative, who stated that their final production shipments for the fiscal year have already shipped in North America and there won't be any additional units produced throughout the remainder of the quarter...
As of today, all Wii U hardware that will be made available in the North American market for this fiscal year has already been shipped to our retail partners. We encourage anyone who wants Wii U to communicate with their preferred retail outlet to monitor availability.
Nintendo's fiscal year ends in March of 2017, and so that means that whatever was shipped to retailers in North America is whatever is left for people to purchase of the Wii U over the next five months. So if retailers run dry of stock they won't be replenishing it throughout this holiday season.
The reports about the production coming to an end have persisted since earlier this year when Nikkei originally reported that the console was going to end its run on the retail front this year. Nintendo denied the rumors but they popped up again and like clockwork Nintendo also denied those rumors. This time, however, they've confirmed the rumors after the latest series of reports surfaced.
The Wii U hasn't had the best of times on the marketplace due to poor marketing and a miscommunication with casual gamers when it came to what the Wii U actually was. A lot of people were under the impression that the Wii U was an add-on device for the original Wii.
The system had a few big heavy hitters but Nintendo never really properly capitalized on them, and they coasted through eighth gen after third-party publishers and developers mostly dropped them in favor of the PS4 and the Xbox One. Things could turn around with the Nintendo Switch assuming Nintendo is willing to pump some serious money into marketing the new console and they have a consistent supply of noteworthy games from third-parties.
As for the Wii U, with production ending in Japan and the final shipments being sent out in North America for Nintendo's fourth quarter, it doesn't really look like the console will have much life left in it after 2016 wraps up.