The Wii U is all-but dead: when Zelda: Breath of the Wild rolls out onto the system on March 3, 2017, the console will be effectively retired in terms of software--Breath of the Wild will be Nintendo's last game on the Wii U, and their entire focus will shift to Nintendo's new Switch handheld-console hybrid. Now Nintendo is started to pull attention away from the retired system in an effort to push its hot new hybrid.
The Wii U is no longer a major focus on Nintendo's official website. The Switch has taken its place, and for good reason: the Switch represents the total culmination of everything Nintendo has ever done in the games industry, and is the combination of all its hardware. The Switch is a huge deal; the Wii U sold terribly and had awful third-party support. In many ways, the Switch is the polar opposite of the Wii U (at least in Nintendo's mind), so it's doing everything it can to distance itself from the Wii U, and distance the Switch from the dead system.
Now Nintendo hasn't completely scrubbed the Wii U from its online site. The Wii U still has its own tab at the top of the screen that links to the Wii U's dedicated section. While I can say the Wii U is dead, it's still being supported by Nintendo's eShop and the company has been rolling a steady stream of Virtual Console games onto the system...but that's probably the extent of any future game support from anyone.
Nintendo might want to pretend the Wii U never happened as a business perspective, but they're still talking about it and featuring it on their site. To be fair, they'd be fools not to, and there's a lot of Wii U owners out there. But the Switch is definitely taking over the spotlight insofar as advertising and that marketing push.
Nintendo's handling of the 3DS is somewhat similar--the company says the Switch will not replace the 3DS, and the handheld will continue onward alongside the Switch.
"When the NX is released, the Wii U business will slow. But the 3DS has Pokémon [Sun & Moon] coming this autumn, and that's such a big hit that I can't imagine the NX will have a negative impact on the 3DS," Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima said in a press event, pre-Switch reveal.
"The NX is neither the successor to the Wii U nor to the 3DS. It's a new way of playing games, which I think will have a larger impact than the Wii U, but I don't feel it's a pure replacement for the Wii U."
So what does this mean for the future of the Wii U? Well, don't expect any more games to roll out for it. After Breath of the Wild, Nintendo is done releasing new big games for the system. At most you'll get a steady trickle of Virtual Console games, which is awesome in itself, but...the Wii U's current library will be locked in and the system will be another curious chapter of the games industry.
Last updated: Sep 1, 2017 at 06:06 am CDT
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