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It was reported earlier this year that Nintendo would halt production of its troubled Wii U home console by the end of 2016. We’re now hearing that Nintendo’s current-generation system won’t survive to see next week. Multiple sources have confirmed to Eurogamer that the last Wii U will roll off the assembly line this Friday, November 4.
As the publication highlights, Nintendo as of the end of September had shipped 13.26 million Wii U consoles since launching almost four years ago. By comparison, Nintendo shipped 32.93 million Nintendo 64 consoles, 21.74 million GameCubes and a staggering 101.63 million Wii consoles during their respective lifespans. Nintendo recently said that for the 12 months ending March 31, 2017, it expects to ship just 800,000 Wii U systems.
Since the information about halt of production came to light, Nintendo has denied it. Japanese site IT Media had a Nintendo spokesperson saying that "there is no change to our continuing [Wii U] production." and that reports of the Wii U ending production were not true. "Even though the Nintendo Switch is slated to go on sale, [Wii U] production is scheduled to continue," adding that Wii U games are still planned for release.
It’s highly unusual for a company to discontinue its current-generation console several months before its predecessor arrives on the scene. For example, Nintendo didn’t discontinue its original NES in North America until August 14, 1995 – well after the SNES’ arrival in August of 1991. Likewise, the SNES stuck around until 1999 despite the Nintendo 64 launching in 1996.
Looking ahead, the Japanese gaming giant is no doubt hoping its hybrid Switch console will be able to captivate audiences the way its Wii did a decade ago. The Switch’s big reveal took place less than two weeks ago but left a number of questions unanswered. Rumors aside, we won’t learn anything more officially about the Switch until January 13.