Nintendo: No, we're not killing off the Wii U

The company reportedly says it has no plans to end production of its gaming console, refuting a story from Japanese newspaper Nikkei.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Nintendo insists the Wii U is not going away.


Reports of the death of the Wii U console may be greatly exaggerated.

On Wednesday, Nintendo told Japanese website IT Media that it intends to keep the gaming system alive and well. That stands in contrast to a report the company would stop production of the game machine by the end of 2016 a day earlier in the Nikkei newspaper.

Nintendo told IT Media that the Nikkei article wasn't "an announcement from the company" and that "[Nintendo] plans to continue production next fiscal year and beyond," according to Business Insider.

Launched in November 2012, the Wii U was seen as a successor to Nintendo's popular Wii console. But sales of the Wii U have fallen short, both against its predecessor and against Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One. Nintendo is preparing a new console known as the NX that could replace the poor-selling Wii U.

Nintendo did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.

As of December 31, 2015, the Wii U had sold 12.6 million units around the world, compared with Wii sales of 101.6 million units. PlayStation 4 has moved nearly 36 million units. Microsoft doesn't share Xbox One sales numbers, but the console is reported to have sold more than 18 million units.

Though not as successful as its predecessor, the game console can still attract interest. In Japan, Wii U surged more than 150 percent last week following the release of Pokemon fighting game Pokken Tournament.

Business Insider noted that Nintendo has a history of denying media reports only to acknowledge them later. It added that the Nikkei's record for nailing gaming industry news is good, though not perfect.

The publication said it found the Nikkei report credible because the Wii U has been a weak seller and because the NX may be able play both Wii and Wii U games. If so, Nintendo would have little reason to maintain production of the Wii U.

Last Thursday, Nintendo released its first mobile app, Miitomo, geared toward iOS and Android devices. More social app than game, Miitomo generated more than 1 million users during its first three days. Over the next 12 months, Nintendo plans to release four more apps, all of them games, with the first one featuring one of the company's well-known characters.