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Nintendo Officially Announces the End of Wii U Production in Japan

After initial rumors and denial, Nintendo has officially started the process of ending its 8th gen game console.

Nintendo has announced on its official Japanese site that Wii U Production will be ending soon. Based on the info in the announcement, almost all of the Wii U's editions in Japan are labeled as "production is scheduled to end", with the only exception of white 32GB "Premium Set" bundle.

However, the announcement of ending production is only applicable to Japan, and there isn't any word yet on what the deal is in other regions. Nintendo also hasn't specified the exact date on which it will cease the Wii U's production.

On November 1st, rumors about the end of the Wii U's production line in Japan emerged from a number of different sources. It was speculated that Nintendo had taken the very first steps of shifting its priorities from the current-gen Wii to their latest game console, the Nintendo Switch. The next day, Nintendo stated via Japanese outlet IT Media that there was no upcoming change to Wii U production, and rumors about its end were not true.

Until now, that is. 

The Wii U was the first system to step into the 8th generation of video game consoles. It launched back in November 2012 with major improvements from its last gen Wii, new controller designs, and more powerful hardware specs. However, the Wii U is considered to be one of the least successful consoles in the Nintendo family, with only 13 million units shipping worldwide -- while the GameCube sold 21 million units, the N64 sold 32 million units, and Wii sold 101 million units.

Major factors that contributed to Wii U's failure include low support from third-party game publishers, and weak hardware specs when comparing to its 8th gen counterparts, the Xbox One and PS4. Now that its production is ending, Nintendo is likely looking to the Switch to be another heavy-hitter in terms of sales and profit. 

Published Nov. 10th 2016

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