When the vanguard voice of a 140-year-old financial institution makes bold, bolt-from-the-blue claims, people tend to pay attention. So Japanese biz publication Nikkei's claim that Nintendo will cease production of its Wii U game console by year's end to make way for its next platform, codenamed NX, is getting some pickup in the press.
But Nintendo has already refuted the claim, telling Japanese publication ITmedia that it's made no such announcement. Nintendo says it plans to continue production of the Wii U through its next fiscal period and beyond. "Nothing to see here, move along," in other words.
Speculation is pointless, so let's stick with what we know, because one of those things is equally at odds with the Nikkei claim.
Former Nintendo President Satoru Iwata told TIME last spring that the company would say more about its next platform, codenamed NX, sometime this year. At this point, we still don't know when, nor do we know if saying more is synonymous with showing anything, much less releasing.
And barely four months ago, when I asked the firm's current president, Tatsumi Kimishima, how long the Wii U would remain a core Nintendo platform, he told me this:
“As you know within the game business momentum is key," said Mr. Kimishima. "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.” [Note that the company has since pegged Wii U sales at 12.6 million units.]
“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. And we need to make sure that they are satisfied with their purchase and continue to enjoy playing on this platform. So we can’t 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. 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.”