On Wednesday, Nintendo updated it’s Japanese web page with a notification that production will soon be ending on the Wii U game console. This will apply to both currently available versions of the console. It simply says that the Wii U Splatoon Set and the Wii U Premium Set are set to end “soon.” Nintendo has no plans to replace these sets with another console or bundle. These changes will only affect Japan and the Wii U console will still be available here in North America; however, one must take this as a sign at the console’s life cycle is coming to an end to make way for the new Nintendo Switch console.
It was earlier reported by Japanese newspaper, Nikkei, that Nintendo was interested in halting production on the console. Nintendo responded to that article by stating that they would be continuing production of the Wii U for the remainder of the fiscal year or later. The fiscal year in Japan starts on April 1 and ends on March 31. Judging by that and the Nintendo Switch’s March 2017 release window, it is obvious that Nintendo wants to start their next fiscal year off with a bang as the timing couldn’t be any more perfect.
The Wii U originally launched in 2012 and as of September of this year, Nintendo has sold 13.36 million consoles worldwide. This is a far cry from the original Nintendo Wii which sold 101.63 million units worldwide. The Nintendo Wii even surpassed the 70 million mark at the same stage of the Wii U’s life cycle (4 years.)
The Wii U was met with heavy criticism and the numbers reflect the failure of the console. Introducing a new console 4 1/2 years later gives the console a very short product cycle. Most video game consoles are viable 8-10 years after release. Nintendo is slated to reveal more information about their next console, the Nintendo Switch, in January of 2017. It is clear that Nintendo is shifting all focus to the Switch at this point.