New Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima has vowed that the company will continue to support the Wii U, despite the console's underperformance relative to the Wii and the fact that its successor, the NX, could launch as early as next year. In an interview with Time, Kimishima acknowledged the Wii U's struggles, but said it is imperative that people who bought a Wii U feel supported and satisfied.
"As you know within the game business momentum is key," he said when asked how much longer the Wii U would remain a "core" platform for Nintendo. "When you have momentum, whether it's a platform or software, sales increase. At this point in the Wii U lifespan, we're looking at 10 million sell-through for the hardware itself, which is just about a tenth of what we sold overall for Wii."
By Nintendo's latest count, the Wii U had sold 10.73 million units. By comparison, the original Wii crossed 100 million units sold more than two years ago, outpacing the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Kimishima went on to say Nintendo has no plans to abandon the Wii U anytime soon.
"What I want to do, I think our first job right now is to make sure that the customers, those 10 million customers who have a Wii U at home have software to play," he said. "And we need to make sure that they are satisfied with their purchase and continue to enjoy playing on this platform. So we can' just abandon them and say, 'Hey, it's time to move on to the next thing.'
"Of course we are working on NX and looking at the experiences we can bring to that platform," he added. "But first our job at this point is to support the consumers who have purchased Wii U and make sure that they have software experiences available to them."
Nintendo does not plan to talk in an official capacity about the NX, or whatever it ends up being called, until 2016. However, Kimishima has said the platform will be dramatically different than the Wii U.
"I can assure you we're not building the next version of Wii or Wii U," he said. "It's something unique and different. It's something where we have to move away from those platforms in order to make it something that will appeal to our consumer base."
Recently, a Wall Street Journal report claimed that the NX would be a console/mobile hybrid with "industry-leading" technology. According to another recent report, this one stemming from production sources in Japan, Nintendo plans to ship 12 million new NX systems in 2016.
The NX was first revealed in March 2015 on the same day that Nintendo announced plans to make smartphone games. The announcement of the NX was purposefully made so people would understand that Nintendo remains commuted to the console space. Then-president Satoru Iwata, who passed away in July, referred to the NX as a "brand new concept."