As expected, Nintendo’s support (via first party games) is coming to an end for the Wii U. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will mark the end for the Wii U and the beginning for the Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed the news in an interview with Polygon. “We really are at the end of life for Wii U,” said Fils-Aime.
The news isn’t a surprise at all. The house that Mario built has new hardware to push, and they are not about to split their focus between the two. The Wii U never grabbed the casual audience like the Wii did. Nintendo hopes the Nintendo Switch can capture the magic that helped propel the Wii into tens of millions of households across the world.
Ending first-party support for the Wii does lead to another question. What about online services? Those still dumping hours each week into Mario Kart and Splatoon don’t need to worry, at least right now.
“From our standpoint, sunsetting is quite some time into the future. The ongoing activity from an online standpoint on Mario Kart and Splatoon is significant. We’re going to continue to support that,” Fils-Aime added.
Fils-Aime doesn’t mention any specific timeline according to the Polygon interview. But the fact they say they’re not even thinking ditching online services right now is a good sign.
Good news for late adopters
Nintendo Switch will sell out. The thin supply will make sure of that. Supporting online for a while post-Switch launch is great for folks still playing Splatoon and Mario Kart. And for those who aren’t buying a Switch at launch, even if they could.
I know, I’m not. Zelda looks great, but I can play it on Wii U. Plus, I want to see how Nintendo responds to the feedback about their online services. Mainly, the fact they are charging for it and you have to use a smartphone app for voice chat. Yeah, I don’t get Nintendo’s thinking here either.
Nintendo’s software is always top-notch. But their decisions on the hardware side (and online) lead to me scratching my head more often than not. I get Xbox and PlayStation charge for online. It helps when you have hundreds of games that use it. I just don’t see how Nintendo can justify charging for online play when only a few games will use it.
I’m sure I’ll pick up a Switch eventually. Right now, there just isn’t the software (at launch) for me to pull the trigger. Plus, I have lingering questions about the online infrastructure for Switch.
Are you picking one up in March? Or, are you going to keep blasting away on Splatoon for a while?