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A Nintendo spokesperson informed GameSpot recently that they have stopped production for the Wii U worldwide. It would appear that there are two main reasons for this. One is the upcoming release of Nintendo’s new system, the Switch, which will be available on March 3. Another likely reason is the rather lackluster performance of Wii U sales over its lifespan.
Since the Wii U was made available in 2012, it has sold about 13.6 million units worldwide. Compare that to the over 100 million units that the Wii U’s predecessor, the Wii, sold since its release in 2006. Sure, the Wii U came out six years after the Wii, so it hasn’t had as much time to sell as many units, but the Wii sold about 13.7 million units between April and December of 2010 alone. The 13.6 million unit selling point also makes the Wii U the worst selling Nintendo console, including handheld consoles, of all time.
Many attribute the Wii U’s unimpressive sales to the fact that the Wii U hosted mainly Nintendo exclusive games and not many third party titles. This was due, at least in part, to many third party developers not knowing exactly what to do with the Wii U’s hardware. The Wii U featured a small screen on the controller as well as utilizing the larger TV screen the system was plugged into. Many third party developers weren’t sure how to utilize the second, smaller screen, especially when trying to make games that would also work on the Wii U’s competitors, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, which both only use one screen. So they just didn’t and made games just for the PS4 and Xbox One. Even though the Wii U hosted largely popular games exclusive to the platform, such as Splatoon and Super Mario Maker, the largely lacking third party support may have been the cause of the Wii U’s poor selling point.
The Nintendo Switch will not have backwards compatibility, so those of you with a Wii U may want to hang on to it. The Switch hits shelves on March 3 and will cost $299.99. Below is the extended cut of the Switch Super Bowl LI commercial.