‘Nintendo just switched off Wii U’s life support’

The Wii U is finished, say leading games retailers.

Last week, Nintendo announced that its next Zelda game – which was originally scheduled for this year – will now release in 2017, and will also be coming to the firm’s upcoming NX console.

The platform holder also said Zelda will be the only game on show at E3 in June.

The news saw one senior games retail exec tell MCV: Nintendo just switched off Wii U’s life support.”

Nintendo’s current first-party slate for Wii U includes just Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Paper Mario: Color Splash, Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE, Project Giant Robot and The Legend of Zelda. The firm only expects to sell 800,000 Wii U consoles worldwide during its next fiscal year.

While the Wii U has some fantastic games, it never enjoyed the third-party support necessary to draw in the masses,” said Games Centre MD Robert Lindsay.

The console itself didn’t appeal to the mainstream fans the Wii captured, or the hardcode fanbase of Sony and Microsoft’s machines.”

However, retailers and analysts have backed Nintendo’s decision not to unveil NX at E3. They’ve also said the firm’s decision to push NX into March 2017 to ensure a strong release line-up is ‘the right call’.

Nintendo has to get it right this time,” added Lindsay, and if that means taking its time to launch the NX then so be it.”

Another games boss at a major retailer continued: It’s great to get some clarification on NX launch window and the hype starts now.

There is intrigue about what NX might be, and lots of fans will be getting increasingly excited.”

Steve Bailey, senior games analyst at IHS, believes Nintendo may have learned a valuable lesson from Wii U’s struggles: There’s no point in attempting to bring out innovative hardware, if software and messaging can’t provide a convincing account of its value. With Nintendo’s core business in decline, it may seem like a mistake to miss the Q4 sales period. But it would be an even bigger mistake to launch NX without proper support.

In terms of Nintendo not debuting NX at a highly-visible event as E3, it’s worth noting Nintendo has been cultivating its own means of connecting with fans. So it has scope for communicating the NX in the lead-up to launch, outside of major traditional industry showings.”

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