Today, Nintendo confirmed that they are ending production of the Wii U across the globe. While developers may choose to release new titles for the system, this announcement effectively marks the end of the less than five years old console which gave us such great games as Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker, and Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze.
It’s times like this that console fans everywhere usually band together to swap stories, share their favorite games, and even try to summarize the system’s legacy by putting into words the impact it had on the industry. Yet, none of that seems to be happening today. Why is that? Well, because most people are just left saying, “What took so long?”
The Wii U has been dead on its feet for quite some time now. Rumors of Nintendo ceasing production of the system may have begun late last year, but there really hasn’t been hope for the Wii U since 2014-2015. Nintendo bungled the console’s launch with confusing marketing and a half-baked gimmick and they sealed the system’s fate by failing to secure sufficient third-party support.
While it’s not fair to say that nobody cared about the Wii U, it is safe to say that the vast majority of Wii owners either never bothered to buy a Wii U or simply didn’t know that Nintendo released another console.
For any other console manufacturer, a system release like the Wii U would have been a total disaster that may prove to be impossible to overcome. Just ask Sega who lost ground with the release of the Sega Saturn and were never able to regain their stride.
That can certainly still happen, but it says something that Nintendo has been able to generate so much buzz in recent months with the release of their first mobile games, the NES Classic Edition, and, most importantly, the Nintendo Switch. For all the problems the Nintendo Switch has early into its lifespan (its price, the lack of launch games, etc), it’s still generating more buzz than even the Wii U did at this stage.
To be certain, some of that has to do with the fact that it’s a new console and gamers will almost always be excited about new things. However, considering just how underwhelming the Wii U was, it’s incredible that Nintendo is getting ready to release a console that has everyone buzzing again.
Ultimately, the Nintendo Switch’s success will be measured by sales figures and the number of quality games released for the console just like every other video game system. However, as we approach the console’s March 3rd release date and gamers everywhere are still buzzing about the system, it’s starting to feel like the right time to call the Nintendo Switch a success for the simple reason that it’s a Nintendo console that has people excited again about Nintendo consoles.