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The Nintendo Web Framework, unveiled in 2013, is a toolset that uses modern web technology (WebKit, HTML5, and JavaScript) to simplify the process of porting games to the Wii U's GamePad and TV. It was designed to make web-based games easier to port to the system than it would to code specifically for the Wii U.[143]

Reception

John Teti of The A.V. Club's Gameological Society considers the Wii U a compelling video game system which lacks focus, citing Nintendo Land as "ideas act[ing] in service of the technology

The Wii U is compatible with all Wii games and Wii accessories such as the Wii Remote (Plus), Wii Nunchuk, and the Wii Balance Board. It is possible to migrate most downloaded software and save files from a Wii to a Wii U.[91] Although Wii games can be displayed on the GamePad's screen, they can only be controlled using a Wii controller, and not the GamePad's controller.[115][141]

The Wii U is not compatible with GameCube discs or accessories, although a homebrew application for Wii Mode exists that enables

The Wii U is not compatible with GameCube discs or accessories, although a homebrew application for Wii Mode exists that enables GameCube hardware and GameCube controller support.[142] A USB GameCube controller adapter with four ports was released exclusively for use with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and does not support any other Wii or Wii U titles.[109][110]

The Nintendo Web Framework, unveiled in 2013, is a toolset that uses modern web technology (WebKit, HTML5, and JavaScript) to simplify the process of porting games to the Wii U's GamePad and TV. It was designed to make web-based games easier to port to the system than it would to code specifically for the Wii U.[143]

Reception

John Teti of The A.V. Club's Gameological Society considers the Wii U a compelling video game system which lacks focus, citing Nintendo Land as "ideas act[ing] in service of the technology".[144] Ben Gilbert of Engadget states that Nintendo delivers on its promise of releasing "a modern HD gaming console" but notes that "there are also some major missteps and half-baked ideas: a befuddling Friends List/Miiverse connection, a complete lack of many system-wide console standards (group chat, achievements, the ability to play non-game disc-based media) and a game controller that lasts only 3.5 hours", and stated that he could not give a complete assessment of the console with online components such as Nintendo TVii missing at launch.[145]<

John Teti of The A.V. Club's Gameological Society considers the Wii U a compelling video game system which lacks focus, citing Nintendo Land as "ideas act[ing] in service of the technology".[144] Ben Gilbert of Engadget states that Nintendo delivers on its promise of releasing "a modern HD gaming console" but notes that "there are also some major missteps and half-baked ideas: a befuddling Friends List/Miiverse connection, a complete lack of many system-wide console standards (group chat, achievements, the ability to play non-game disc-based media) and a game controller that lasts only 3.5 hours", and stated that he could not give a complete assessment of the console with online components such as Nintendo TVii missing at launch.[145] Similarly, TechRadar praised the system's GamePad functionality and HD graphics, but criticized the limited battery power on the GamePad, and the insufficient number of top-tier launch titles.[146] Some industry figures do not consider the Wii U to be an eighth-generation console,[147] with many citing the hardware's processing speed.[148][149] However, Fils-Aimé has noted that similar comments were made in 2006 when the Wii first launched.[150]

Following the launch of other eighth-generation consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, in November 2013, some critics suggested that the Wii U would continue to struggle as it lacked the third-party support of its rivals.[151][152] In December 2013 article, Chris Suellentrop of The New York Times argued that the Wii U was the only new console with a video game worth playing—Super Mario 3D World—which he described as being "the best Mario game in years". Despite the praise, he noted that "one great game won't save a console", and although other good games exist on the Wii U, he admitted that its original lineup "was still pretty thin".[153] Time writer Matt Peckham said that the Wii U was the system of choice to pick up during that Christmas season, praising the console's game lineup, affordable price, Off-TV Play, the absence of subscription fees for its online services, backward compatibility and media features. However, he noted that the system still needs a price cut and an improved first and third-party software lineup.[154] CNET also noted that the Wii U had a better lineup of games and lower price in comparison to its competitors, mainly due to its one-year head start.[155]

By December 2019, Nintendo reported life-time sales of 13.56 million Wii U console units and 103.01 million software units worldwide.[3]

Launch

During its first week of release in the United States, Nintendo sold its entire allotment of over 400,000 units[173] and sold a total of 425,000 units for the month of November, according to the NPD Group.[174] It also sold over 40,000 consoles in the UK in its first weekend.[175] In Japan, over 600,000 Wii U units were sold during December 2012.[176] Nearly 890,000 Wii U units were sold in the United States after 41 days on the market.[177] From the Wii U's launch till December 31, 2012, Nintendo reported that 3.06 million consoles and 11.69 million software units had been shipped worldwide.[159]

In January 2013, Nintendo sold 57,000 Wii U units in the US.[178] By comparison, the original Wii sold 435,000 in January 2007, also two months after launch.[179] Initial sales numbers in the U.S. and other territories were lower than expected, resulting in Nintendo cutting sales projections for fiscal year 2013 by 17%, from 5.5 million to 4 million;[180] the system actually ended up selling 3.5 million units.[181] During the first quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 390,000 consoles and 1.73 million software units were shipped worldwide.[157] From March to June 2013, the system sold approximately 160,000 units, which was down 51% from the three months prior.[182] During the second quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 160,000 consoles and 1.03 million software units were shipped worldwide.[158]

Loss of support

In May 2013, Electronic Arts announced that it was reducing support for the Wii U and had no games in development for it,[183] but then partially reconsidered this decision a few days later, with EA's CFO announcing that "We are building titles for the Nintendo console, but not anywhere near as many as we are for PlayStation or Xbox".[184] At E3 2013, Ubisoft revealed that it was not going to make any more exclusives for the Wii U until sales of the console improved,[185] though it stated shortly thereafter that it was still a "big supporter" of the Wii U, and planned to release as many Wii U games in 2013 as it did in 2012.[186] In July 2013, Bethesda Softworks announced that it had no games in development for the Wii U, with Bethesda VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines explaining: "It depends on the games that we are making and how we think it aligns with that console, and how the hardware aligns with the other stuff we are making".[187] This explanation was later refined to being largely due to the hardware.[188] Contrarily, Activision has stated that it will "do everything they can" to support the system.[189]

At the end of July 2013, Asda, the second-largest supermarket chain in the UK, confirmed that it had no plans to stock the Wii U, but would still stock games "on a title by title merit basis".[190] Despite this, many specialist retailers continued to emphasize their support, with

During its first week of release in the United States, Nintendo sold its entire allotment of over 400,000 units[173] and sold a total of 425,000 units for the month of November, according to the NPD Group.[174] It also sold over 40,000 consoles in the UK in its first weekend.[175] In Japan, over 600,000 Wii U units were sold during December 2012.[176] Nearly 890,000 Wii U units were sold in the United States after 41 days on the market.[177] From the Wii U's launch till December 31, 2012, Nintendo reported that 3.06 million consoles and 11.69 million software units had been shipped worldwide.[159]

In January 2013, Nintendo sold 57,000 Wii U units in the US

In January 2013, Nintendo sold 57,000 Wii U units in the US.[178] By comparison, the original Wii sold 435,000 in January 2007, also two months after launch.[179] Initial sales numbers in the U.S. and other territories were lower than expected, resulting in Nintendo cutting sales projections for fiscal year 2013 by 17%, from 5.5 million to 4 million;[180] the system actually ended up selling 3.5 million units.[181] During the first quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 390,000 consoles and 1.73 million software units were shipped worldwide.[157] From March to June 2013, the system sold approximately 160,000 units, which was down 51% from the three months prior.[182] During the second quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 160,000 consoles and 1.03 million software units were shipped worldwide.[158]

In May 2013, Electronic Arts announced that it was reducing support for the Wii U and had no games in development for it,[183] but then partially reconsidered this decision a few days later, with EA's CFO announcing that "We are building titles for the Nintendo console, but not anywhere near as many as we are for PlayStation or Xbox".[184] At E3 2013, Ubisoft revealed that it was not going to make any more exclusives for the Wii U until sales of the console improved,[185] though it stated shortly thereafter that it was still a "big supporter" of the Wii U, and planned to release as many Wii U games in 2013 as it did in 2012.[186] In July 2013, Bethesda Softworks announced that it had no games in development for the Wii U, with Bethesda VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines explaining: "It depends on the games that we are making and how we think it aligns with that console, and how the hardware aligns with the other stuff we are making".[187] This explanation was later refined to being largely due to the hardware.[188] Contrarily, Activision has stated that it will "do everything they can" to support the system.[189]

At the end of July 2013, Asda, the seco

At the end of July 2013, Asda, the second-largest supermarket chain in the UK, confirmed that it had no plans to stock the Wii U, but would still stock games "on a title by title merit basis".[190] Despite this, many specialist retailers continued to emphasize their support, with Game CEO Martyn Gibbs saying "We fully support all Nintendo products, including Wii U."[191]

Following the system's $50 price cut and the release of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD on September 20, 2013, Wii U sales in North America saw a 200% rise over August.[192] From July to September 2013, the system sold approximately 300,000 units, which was up 87% from the three months prior. Despite only having sold 460,000 consoles since April, Nintendo maintained its 9 million Wii U sales forecast for the fiscal year through March 2014. Wii U software showed improvement in the Q2 period, reaching 5.27 million units, a 400% jump on the previous quarter. Nintendo credited the software growth to key first-party releases like Pikmin 3 and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.[193] During the third quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 300,000 consoles and 5.27 million software units were shipped worldwide.[159]

In October 2013, online retailer Play.com announced that its Wii U sales saw a 75% sales increase. The c

In October 2013, online retailer Play.com announced that its Wii U sales saw a 75% sales increase. The company also predicted that the Wii U would be more popular than its competition, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, among children during the holiday season.[194] Following the release of Wii Party U on October 31 in Japan, weekly Wii U sales spiked to 38,802 units sold.[195] On November 29, 2013, Nintendo of France deputy general manager Philippe Lavoué announced that the Wii U had sold approximately 175,000 units in France since launch.[196] During the first two weeks of December, the Wii U was the top performing home console in Japan, with 123,665 units sold.[197] After one year in the market, the Wii U had sold approximately 150,000 units in the United Kingdom.[198] According to the NPD Group, Wii U sales in November increased by 340% over sales in October in North America, selling approximately 220,700 units sold in that month.[199] According to several publications, including NPD Group, December 2013 was the best-selling Wii U month in the US since its launch, selling around 481,000 units.[200] Independent estimates put the number of Wii U consoles sold by the end of 2013 between 4.5 and 5.2 million.[201] During the fourth quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 1.95 million consoles and 9.96 million software units were shipped worldwide.[160]

In January 2014, citing lower-than-expected sales during the 2013 holiday season, Nintendo announced that Wii U sales forecasts for fiscal year 2014 had been cut from 9 million units to 2.8 million.[202] In light of this announcement, the Wii U's long-term viability has been called into question.[203] In February 2014, Nintendo revealed that the Wii U had improved about 180% in year-over-year sales in the United States due to the launch of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which sold 130,000 copies.[204] By February 26, Wii U sales had surpassed those of the Xbox 360 in Japan.[205] In March 2014, Nintendo sold just over 70,000 Wii U units, tracking it down 50% less than the GameCube and 90% less than the Wii during equivalent time periods.[206] During the month, total worldwide sales of the PlayStation 4 surpassed those of the Wii U.[207] During the first quarter of 2014, Nintendo reported that 310,000 consoles and 2.91 million software units were shipped worldwide.[161]

During an annual investors' meeting, Satoru Iwata revealed Nintendo's projection of 3.6 million Wii U unit sales during the fiscal year ending March 2015 (March 2015).[208] On May 22, 2014, Nintendo France announced that sales were 50% higher compared to the last year.[209] With Mario Kart 8 being Nintendo's biggest game launch,[210] Wii U console sales reportedly increased by 666% in the United Kingdom, with the Mario Kart 8 console bundle representing 82% of the region's Wii U console sales for the week.[211] NPD Group reported that in the United States, when comparing the month of June 2013 to the same month in 2014, Wii U software sales were up 373% and console sales were up 233%.[212]

The record would be surpassed in November 2014 by Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which sold 490,000 copies in the United States during its first three days of availability.[135] According to Nintendo of America, December 2014 was Wii U's biggest month in terms of sales in the United States. Hardware sales increased 29%, and software sales increased 75% in comparison to December 2013.[213]

In July 2015, Nintendo announced that as of the end of fiscal third quarter 2015, and nearly three years following its launch, it had shipped over ten million Wii U units worldwide. However, sales of Wii U units during this quarter were down in comparison to the same quarter in 2014, with 470,000 units sold (in comparison to 510,000 in 2014). In comparison, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One had each yielded sales of ten million units after approximately one year from their respective launches.[214]

The future of the Wii U was left unclear with Nintendo's announcement of a new console platform codenamed NX, which was scheduled to be launched worldwide in March 2017. Nintendo stated that NX would have a "brand-new concept", and not be a direct successor to the Wii U or 3DS product lines; in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun, company president Tatsumi Kimishima reiterated this position and stated that while he thinks that the Wii U business would "slow" after the release of NX, he felt that the console would "have a larger impact than the Wii U".[215] The announcement that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was in development for both Wii U and NX further supported Nintendo's view of the console as being a new product line, rather than a replacement for its existing hardware.[216][217][218][219] In a shareholders report in July 2016, Kimishima and Miyamoto stated that they had expected the Wii U to sell one hundred million units, comparable to the success of the Wii, but with only thirteen million units sold worldwide, they would now need to rely on NX to make up for losses on Wii U sales.[220]

The new platform, now known as Nintendo Switch, was officially announced on October 20, 2016; it is a tablet-like hybrid video game console with detachable controllers, and the ability to be placed in a docking station with an output to allow games to be played on a television. Although it is a hybrid device capable of being used as both a portable and home console, Nintendo officially positioned the platform as "a home gaming system first and foremost". Following the unveiling, a Nintendo spokesperson confirmed that the company would slow production of Wii U hardware, stating that "as we prepare for the launch of Nintendo Switch in March of 2017, Nintendo will ship 800,000 Wii U hardware units to the global market for this fiscal year."[221][222] In mid-November 2016, Nintendo announced that Japanese production of the Wii U would be ending "in the near future", and that shipments to the North American and European markets for the year had already been sent out.[223]

In an interview with Time Magazine in January 2017, Reggie Fils-Aimé commented that the system was "a necessary step, in order to get to Nintendo Switch." Fils-Aimé also compared the system to the GameCube, claiming that the Wii U will be remembered fondly despite its relatively poor sales.[224] Fils-Aimé stated that the commercial failure of the Wii U, specifically the lack of clarity of the Wii U GamePad's function, and the lack of support from third-party publishers to build out its software library, led to how they changed the marketing and promotion for the Switch. He said the Switch's promotion was developed "to make it crystal clear what the proposition is" for the systems, and that they had "strong support" from large and small software developers and publishers to support the new console.[225]

In mid-January 2017, Fils-Aimé told Polygon that Breath of the Wild, which would ship at launch with the Switch in March 2017, would be Nintendo's final first-party title for Wii U.[226] Nintendo formally announced that production of the Wii U had ended worldwide on January 31, 2017.[16] Despite this, the console had third party releases until 2020.[227]