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Nintendo Ends Wii Production in Japan

Nintendo of Japan reports that production of the original Wii console has ended, thus concluding just shy of seven years after the console first appeared in November 2006. The company hinted to the console's end earlier this month, reporting that manufacturing was scheduled to "end soon." Replacing this model is the Nintendo Wii U, which arrived in November 2012 in North America, a whole year before Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4.

As of June 30, 2013, Nintendo sold 100.04 million Wii units worldwide, making it the company's bestselling console thus far, and its third bestselling device behind the Game Boy and the Nintendo DS handhelds. The company's secret formula for the Wii is the Wiimote motion controller, a first in the console market, which led to "copycats" from Microsoft and Sony like the popular Kinect and the Move wand-like controller, respectively.

However, unlike Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo stayed with standard definition and seemingly focused more on gameplay and its first-party titles. The company proved that innovation can be more important than HD graphics, and made the smart move by throwing in Wii Sports as part of the Nintendo package. Right out of the box, gamers can bowl, play tennis, hit baseballs and punch out virtual opponents, friends and family using additional Wii remotes: an intelligent, fun introduction to motion-based gaming.

As CVG points out, the console's success is also powered by first-party titles from Nintendo including the Super Mario Galaxy titles, Wii Fit, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Kart Wii, the Metro Prime Trilogy, Donkey Kong Country Returns, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and New Super Mario Bros Wii. There are also great third-party hits like Dead Space Extraction, Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, Monster Hunter Tri, Red Steel 2 and Sonic Colors.

Unlike the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (except for the very first 20GB and 60GB models), the Nintendo Wii is backwards compatible, meaning gamers can insert Gamecube discs into the newer console and play; the Microsoft and Sony consoles merely provide digital downloads of older games. The Nintendo Wii also provides a Virtual Console for playing older, classic titles from the likes of the NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx 16 and more. Wii owners can even create playable "Mii" avatars of themselves, an idea that seemingly sparked the launch of Microsoft's own avatars in the New Xbox Experience UI overhaul back in November 2008.

Nintendo certainly changed the way console gamers play with the introduction of the Wii, and inspired the two other console companies to rethink their boxes in the process. Nintendo beefed up both the hardware and motion-sensing backbone in its Wii U console launched last year, introducing a tablet-like motion sensing controller with its own screen. So far the next-generation device hasn't captured the audience quite like the Wii did, selling 3.61 million units as of June 30, 2013. How this console will survive when the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 arrive next month remains to be seen.

UPDATED: Nintendo of America reports that the Wii will still be offered in North America. The halt in production pertains only to Japan.

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  • Peacelol
    Nintendo has also demonstrated that when you only appeal to an audience that doesn't care about HD Graphics, that same audience doesn't care to go buy their latest Gen. console.

    What's the point if they're still having plenty of fun with their Wii?

    Reply
  • jdwii
    I admit i love Nintendo my first console that was mine was the gamecube(i bought the wii with my own money and it was a let down traded it in for a 360 which was a bigger let down and even broke twice and then sold the 360 for my first video card+CPU)

    Either way the gamecube was amazing and so was the N64+Snes+Nes which i ended up owning from my older brothers all 4 still work today with out any issues.
    Reply
  • Nikolai Allen
    You might want to revise, the Xbox 360 does have backwards compatibility. In fact, I don't even think it have digital downloads of original Xbox games anymore.
    Reply
  • SteelCity1981
    the xbox 360 wasn't backwards compatible out of the box you would have to download an emulator patch for it via xbox live to play xbox games. The Wii U and the first model ps3's you didn't.
    Reply
  • catfishtx
    Ok, this is going to come off as an avid fanboy \ salesman, but now that my daughter bought herself a Wii U and I have seen it in action, it is a completely underrated console. It's a lot more than a Wii with a tablet. It supports external USB storage, HD graphics, backwards compatible with Wii, and it controls the TV and the DirecTV receiver. That's only the things I have actually seen it do. Also, using the tablet when gaming is much more natural than I ever thought possible.

    It is a really good console that Nintendo has done a TERRIBLE job of marketing.
    Reply
  • ddpruitt
    It is a really good console that Nintendo has done a TERRIBLE job of marketing.

    I have to agree. The U's tablet controller has some really nifty features that are very useful but Nintendo has neglected to capitalize. Plus the fact that you can use all your Wii stuff on the U is a huge draw,
    Reply
  • nzon3
    The power consumption of the Wii U is under 100-watts and couple that with its tablet controller, one can take it along the long drive. Every time I do a 6+ hours drive, I would plug it to the van's AC outlet and the kids loved it. I wish they have additional tablet for sale as accessories.

    Reply
  • SteelCity1981
    next year at this time due to ongoing poor sales Nintendo announces it will stop production of the Wii U.
    Reply
  • Pallimud
    People forget that the 3DS had slow sales to start and now it's a success. The same thing happened with the original Wii. The Wii U launch is pretty normal, it takes about a year for Nintendo's gaming consoles to pick up steam, mainly because people buy Nintendo for the games, not the console. So once a great package of games are available, sales pick up big time.

    I don't understand why articles don't make this point. It's like a repeat every single time, that's why I have faith in whatever Nintendo does rather than what critics have to say.
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    11783622 said:
    It is a really good console that Nintendo has done a TERRIBLE job of marketing.

    I'll say, it wasn't until over a year after it was released I realized it was a replacement for the Wii. When I saw the tablet and name I just thought it was a replacement for the Nintendo DS.

    I thought it was a handheld that let you play Wii games. Just as the Nomad played Genesis games.

    As I have zero interest in a handheld I never looked further.
    Reply