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The Wii U’s slow descent into obscurity: Manufacturing set to cease this week

It’s been a short and somewhat unimpressive life for Nintendo’s most recent home console, the Wii U. With the Nintendo Switch generating all the buzz and its March 2017 release fast approaching, the Wii U, despite having a number of titles, including Breath Of The Wild, still to come, is essentially dead.

More than 14 million units have been sold since its late 2012 release date, putting it behind the Gamecube and even the PS Vita. The Xbox One and PS4, which were release a whole 12 months later, have sold around 25 million and 45 million units, respectively. Safe to say the Wii U has been a disappointment from a sales perspective.

With a new Nintendo generation fast approaching, it’s unsurprising to hear the latest reports that manufacturing of the Wii U will end as soon as of this week. A report on Eurogamer cites multiple sources that the Japanese gaming giant will fulfil a small number of orders, before shutting down local production lines.

It’s a sad end to what was a solid console with a great lineup of first-party titles. Its production cycle is particularly short, with even the likes of the Gamecube and Vita, both of which struggled comparatively with competitors, still being produced long after they fell off the cliff of mainstream relevance. Demand still exists for the Vita, as it did for the Gamecube shortly before the Wii’s release in late 2006. As for the Wii U, four years may seem like a long time, but it failed to crack the Gamecube’s sales numbers, despite coming after the 100-million juggernaut in the Wii, and sharing its name.

Fascinatingly, it seems as though a re-released NES has generated more interest than the Wii U did at any point. Was it a marketing mistake? Should Nintendo have gone in a different direction? Did the lack of third-party support hurt it? Maybe it was a combination of all of these things.

Whatever reason for the Wii U’s market failures, one thing’s certain: much like the Dreamcast, the Wii U is a “little console that could”, offering a solid lineup that could service its hardcore fanbase, but had little room to move outside of that demographic.

What was your favourite Wii U game? Sound off in the comments below!

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