Much discussion and anticipation has followed the recent announcement of the Nintendo Switch games console. The company is hoping to replicate the success of the first Wii console, which managed to popularize motion control in mainstream gaming and appealed to both hardcore and casual gamers with a wide and varied selection of software.
Nintendo will surely also be looking to avoid a similar situation to that of the Wii U. The direct successor to the Wii, the Wii U’s primary gimmick was the use of a touchscreen game-pad, but the console struggled commercially. Commentators have largely blamed the relatively low sales figures on a lack of customer understanding of the Wii U’s features – the game-pad in particular – as well as a limited selection of blockbuster launch games and a general shift away from what made the original Wii so successful.
It perhaps wasn’t a surprise then, that with initial excitement surrounding the Nintendo Switch peaking, it was reported by various outlets that the production of the Wii U would be ending as quickly as this week, with the final unit coming out of the factory on Friday (November 4th). Now, however, according to IT Media (via Kotaku), Nintendo has denied these claims, saying:
“There is no change to our continuing [Wii U] production. Even though the Nintendo Switch is slated to go on sale, production is scheduled to continue.”
The spokesperson also confirmed that new titles for the Wii U console were lined up for future release.
Despite the denial, rumors of the console’s demise aren’t without foundation. Even before the Nintendo Switch was announced, company president Tatsumi Kimishima confirmed that production of the Wii U would be significantly scaled back in order to make room for the new console (then titled the NX). Although this may seem like one of the final nails in the Wii U’s coffin, it makes logical sense that the company wouldn’t want to keep two home consoles in full-scale production, particularly when the eldest of the two hasn’t been a strong seller.
Although the Wii U certainly struggled sales wise, it could be argued that the failure was more to do with poor marketing than Nintendo releasing a weak console. Although not as innovative as its predecessor, the Wii U offered a unique gaming experience and boasted an impressive bump-up in graphics, power and social interaction with other gamers. The console also has several classic, yet underappreciated, games such as Splatoon, ZombiU and Super Mario Maker.
For some gamers however, the Wii U will always remain a confusing chapter in Nintendo’s history. The company could have taken the core, successful elements of the original Wii and built upon them but instead went in a completely different direction and failed to communicate the console’s key features to fans and the lack of big-name, original titles – in particular The Legend of Zelda and Metroid – suggests the company lacked faith in the Wii U from the start. For all its flaws however, the Wii U is a fun, underrated games console with plenty to offer and the news that it will continue production will come as good news for many.
The Nintendo Switch is scheduled for worldwide release in March 2017.
Source: IT Media (via Kotaku)