Nintendo to halt production of Wii in Japan

Technology Trends & Culture - October 3rd, 2013

Nintendo Co. is pulling the plug on its Wii game console at home where market share has been languishing against competition from its rivals.

The Japanese game console maker will focus on markets abroad with the Wii’s successor, the Wii U, which it introduced last year.

Although domestic production of the Wii would stop, the company will keep producing the console internationally, including its cheaper version Wii mini, said Yasuhiro Minagawa, a spokesman for Nintendo.

Since its release in 2006, the Wii has sold more than 100 million units worldwide. But the release of newer-generation technology in rival consoles proved to be a setback for the motion-capture console.

“Japanese consumers tend to switch to new hardware and now the Wii doesn’t sell well in Japan,” said Eiji Maeda, an analayst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. in Tokyo.

Abandoning the Wii “is part of the transition of our products to new models,” Minagawa told AFP.

“Our new generation Wii U console is already on the market and allows users to play software originally designed for the Wii,” he said.

Nintendo unveiled the Wii U last year adding a touch-screen controller. While the company posted Japanese Wii U sales of 90,000 in the June quarter, more than 4 times the domestic shipments of the Wii, Nintendo sold 31% more of the earlier console in global markets than the new device in the same period, Bloomberg reports.

Nintendo face tough competition with Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation for dominance of a sector worth about $44 billion a year. Both Microsoft and Sony are due to release their new generation consoles in the next months.

By: Maesie Bertumen

Image: Halfshaft/Flickr