Skip to main content

With conflicting rumours of the Wii U's demise, here’s a brief history of its highs and lows

Do you hear that thud? That’s potentially the sound of the last nail in Wii U’s coffin, hammered down by the recent announcement of the Nintendo Switch (opens in new tab). Nintendo is rumoured (opens in new tab) to be ending production on the Wii U this week. And, despite several sources stating a similar thing, Nintendo are denying it (opens in new tab). Although the company has admitted it will “greatly reduce the amount of Wii U systems produced and shipped.” 

With that in mind, let's take a look back at its four-year lifespan and how people are reacting to the news that the console could well be Resting in Peace. 

In hindsight, all the signs were there. Especially this foreboding one:

See more

But before I dive into the reaction to the announcement, here’s a brief history of the Wii U. Remember this trailer from way back in 2011?

A brief history of the Wii U

The Wii U was unveiled at E3 in 2011, and was released in stores a year and a half later in November 2012. The focus was largely on the new GamePad, a handheld controller which had a touchscreen, HD graphics, and could be projected onto the TV. The touchscreen meant the GamePad could be played as a portable videogame system if you didn’t want to use a TV, but this innovation came with some issues. 

To start off reviews were lukewarm, with some slating the short battery life on the GamePad and its feeble touchscreen, which required fingers to stab the screen instead of using an effortless stroke like users were used to with other touchscreen products. 

See more

The announcement of the Wii U Pro controller in E3 2012 quelled some complaints about the GamePad, but it took a while for reviews to recommend the Wii U to gamers. 

See more

Polygon (opens in new tab) confessed they found it “difficult to figure out exactly what Nintendo is trying to do with the the Wii U”, and we wrote that “EA, Konami, and Capcom seem completely uninterested in supporting the Wii U”, as publishers like Activision and Warner Bros. Interactive had begun to back off from releasing their own games on the console. After almost two years’ worth of console updates, Kotaku (opens in new tab) finally recommended that people should buy it. 

It took some time, but the amount of decent games available on the Wii U - Shovel Knight, ZombiU, Super Smash Bros., Splatoon, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Pikmin 3 - eventually made the Wii U a worthwhile purchase.

How people have reacted to the death of the Wii U

Well, sales figures don't lie, and you can’t deny that the Wii U has been tripping over its laces as of late. 

See more

The reaction on Twitter has been entertaining to say the least. Some are already making comparisons to the Switch. 

See more

And this won’t be a gif I’ll forget in a hurry.

See more

Amidst the inevitable Switch remarks are also those who are genuinely sad that the Wii U will be with us no longer. 

See more

Some are already predicting that we’ll remember the Wii U at its best, thanks to the forgiving light of nostalgia. 

See more

For those of you who are already getting their sights set on collecting every game for the Wii U, a user over at Imgur (opens in new tab) has provided a visual checklist of everything released on the Wii U ever. 

(Image credit: Imgur)
(opens in new tab)

So goodnight, sweet prince. Let’s hope the Switch is remembered as fondly as you. 

See more
Zoe Delahunty-Light
Zoe Delahunty-Light

While here at GamesRadar, Zoe was a features writer and video presenter for us. She's since flown the coop and gone on to work at Eurogamer where she's a video producer, and also runs her own Twitch and YouTube channels. She specialises in huge open-world games, true crime, and lore deep-dives.