Thanks to NeoGAF for the heads-up on an as-of-yet unconfirmed report that Nintendo will officially be ceasing production of the Wii U by the end of this year. This follows several months of “stock shortages” in Japan, as well as the official end of production for select Wii U accessories.
As you may know, I’ve been following the sales trends in this area for some time, and it was clear that even before this announcement that the Wii U’s days were numbered and that the upcoming NX is meant as a replacement for both the failed Wii U and aging 3DS. If this unconfirmed report holds, then the Wii U will be Nintendo’s worst selling platform by far and likely won’t quite reach 15 million units (compare that to Sony’s PlayStation 4 at about 36 million units and counting, and Microsoft’s Xbox One at about 25 million units and counting, both of which came out a year later than the Wii U).
The previous worst seller for Nintendo was the GameCube at just over 21 million units. Of course, that’s discounting the tabletop console, Virtual Boy, which Nintendo themselves doesn’t even include in their list of platforms for which they provide historical sales data. That was discontinued shortly after it launched and ended up selling just a little over 750,000 units.
The challenge for Nintendo with what I expect to be their announcement at E3 of the NX for a holiday release is to have that system launch with positive buzz and good momentum. That’s something the Wii U lacked, and it was one of many reasons that that platform ultimately failed.