Though many had already sentenced the console to an early grave, a report published by Japanese magazine Nikkei appears to have sounded the death knell for the Wii U, with Nintendo purportedly ready to cease production of the hardware by the end of 2016.
Failing to make much of an impact in the market since its 2012 launch, the Big N’s decision to cut production on the console/tablet hybrid will likely align with the launch – or, more likely, unveiling – of its new hardware, currently codenamed the Nintendo NX.
Launching in the market a full year before the arrival of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the Wii U struggled early on, failing to replicate the barnstorming success of its immediate predecessor, the Wii. For the sake of perspective, lifetime sales of Nintendo’s current-gen system stand at a lowly 12.6 million units worldwide, while the Wii has broke past 100 million sales since arriving in 2006.
Couple this with the fact that the PlayStation 4 boasts an install base north of 37 million in only two-and-a-half years and it’s clear the Wii U is lagging behind the competition quite considerably. One thing that isn’t clear at the time of writing is whether retailers will still stock the ailing console after Nintendo cuts the cord, but we’ll update this post if and when new information comes to light.
Beyond that, there’s also the quandary of The Legend of Zelda Wii U, which is surely bound for the Nintendo NX if today’s report proves accurate.