While all eyes are currently focused on Nintendo's next piece of hardware, the mysterious NX, the company says that it could end production of the Wii U by March 2018, one year after the NX is expected to launch. The news comes from Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima, as reported by Reuters, and goes against previous reports claiming that Wii U production could halt as soon as this year.
That Nintendo will be phasing out the Wii U so soon shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, given its relatively poor performance since launching in 2012. Since then the console has sold 12.8 million units, putting it far behind other Nintendo home consoles. Its predecessor, the Wii, sold 101.6 million units over its lifetime, for instance, while the Gamecube was the previous worst-selling Nintendo home machine with 21.74 million units sold.
The shift to the NX also means that the Wii U will have a fairly scant lineup of games in 2015. The Legend of Zelda was expected to be the console's tentpole holiday release, but it has now been delayed until 2017 to coincide with the NX launch. Currently the only relatively big Wii U game slated for this year is Paper Mario: Color Splash, which will join the recently launched Star Fox Zero. Nintendo is also unlikely to announce any major new Wii U games at E3 in June, as the company says that the new Zelda will be its only playable title at the show.
Of course, Nintendo is working on more than just the Wii U, and has recently been focused on its new mobile endeavors. The company says that its first mobile app, Miitomo, has more than 10 million users, while new mobile games based on Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem are on the way.