Nintendo Wii U



Developer Nintendo
Release Date US November 18, 2012

CA November 18, 2012

EU November 30, 2012

AUS November 30, 2012

JP December 8, 2012

Generation 8th Generation
Predecessor Wii
Successor Switch

The Nintendo Wii U isn't the latest home console made by Nintendo. It is the 6th home console Nintendo has released, and is part of the 8th Generation of consoles. It is the third console Nintendo has released with the Wii Name. The Wii U utilizes the GamePad, a tablet controller used for various aspects of gameplay, such as being able to see the game on the GamePad or using touch controls to interact with things. Other new features on the Wii U include Miiverse, Spotpass, Multimedia Integration and the Nintendo TVii.  

The Wii U also has backwards compatibility with Nintendo Wii games, supports different controllers such as the Pro Controller, Wii Remote, and Virtual Console support.  

Since its release in 2012, the Wii U has been met with mixed reception. People have criticized the GamePad, lack of third-party support, and the hardware, while way more powerful than the 360 and PS3, isn't as powerful as the PS4 and Xbox One, and it's also way harder to develop on due to its different architecture.  

Rumors and Announcement

Rumors/rumours of a Wii successor had been circulating the internet as early as 2008, when Nintendo began working on a new console. The new console was rumored to be on par with the Wii's more powerful rivals, the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. However, all rumors of a "Wii HD" were shut down by various Nintendo representatives, such as Satoru Iwata and Reggie Fils-Aime.

In April 2011, an anonymous source claimed that a successor to the Wii was, in fact, being made. This 

rumor/rumours claimed that "Project Cafe" would be able to display high definition graphics and play Wii games. This new machine would feature a new kind of controller, and the console itself would be twice as powerful as the 360 and PS3. Later that month, Nintendo confirmed the rumor/rumour, saying the console would be shown at E3 2011.

The Wii U name was officially announced at E3 2011, along with the announcement of several first party games, such as New Super Mario Bros U. The console was playable on the show floor, and multiple tech demos were accessible to the players (Some tech demos even made it into games like Game and Wario). The new controller and console was met with a degree of <skepticism, with some people worrying about the price.

In 2012, Satoru Iwata announced that the Wii U would be available by the end of the year, and that it would utilize the Nintendo Network, a new kind of online service. In E3 2013, various features of the Wii U, such as Miiverse were announced. First party games, like Pikmin 3, Nintendo Land and Bayonetta 2 were announced and teased during the course of the year.

Launch and 2013

The Wii U was first released on November 18th, 2012 in North America, November 30th, 2012 in Europe 


Wii U launch.

and Australia, and on December 8th, 2012 in Japan. There were two models: The White Basic Bundle and The Black Deluxe Bundle. The Deluxe Bundle came with a copy of launch game, Nintendo Land. Various First and Third party titles were available at launch, such as Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros U, Assassin's Creed 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, ZombiU, and Ninja Gaiden: Razor's Edge

Due to the lack of proper advertising and games in January and February, the Wii U struggled in its first year. While its launch was more successful than the PS3 and 360's, the sales dipped by the end of January 2013 and reception was mixed overall. The Wii U ended up not doing as well as Nintendo had hoped (they expected it to sell 5.5 million units by March 31st, 2013).  

To try and help the Wii U, Nintendo teased various games in January 2013, such as Xenoblade Chronicles X (Known as X at the time), Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem (later known as Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE) and Wind Waker HD. In January 2013, the Virtual Console for the Wii U was released. At E3 2013, Nintendo announced a plethora of first-party games. Super Mario 3D World, The Wonderful 101, Pikmin 3, Sonic Lost World, Wind Waker HD and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze were set to be released in 2013 (Note: DK was later delayed). 

Meanwhile, titles such as Bayonetta 2, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Mario Kart 8 were given a rather vague 2014 release date. It was during this time that the Super Smash Bros. Series Community and Pic of the Day were invented. 

While the release of these first-party games and a price cut boosted the sales, it wasn't enough for the Wii U sales to stay afloat like what happened with the 3DS. The Wii U sold about 4-5 million consoles worldwide by the end of the year.


In 2014, the Wii U's condition improved significantly, thanks to games like Mario Kart 8.

E3 2014 was a highlight for Nintendo, and multiple games such as Super Smash Bros., Mario Maker, The Legend of ZeldaL Breath of the Wild (simply known as "Zelda Wii U" back then), Hyrule Warriors, Bayonetta 2, and Captain Toad Treasure Tracker were shown. Nintendo also announced their NFC support, Amiibo, and the GameCube adapter.

Thanks to the release of Smash Bros. and other games, the Nintendo Wii U is held in a more positive light by consumers and critics alike.


While Splatoon increased the Wii U sales, 2015 had been considered to be a not so great year for the Wii U and Nintendo in general, as they barely revealed any new games for the system and had a lackluster E3.

The only few new games being revealed were Star Fox Zero, some kind of new Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival and Skylanders Superchargers. Nintendo also revealed no information about Zelda U.

The rest were games that had already been revealed either via Nintendo Direct or E3 2014. Games such as Xenoblade Chronicles X and Splatoon were released that year, to fairly positive reception. Star Fox Zero also was delayed.


The first half of 2016 was pretty okay for the Wii U. Pokken Tournament, Mario and Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and Twilight Princess HD were well-received and seemingly sold well. Star Fox Zero was also released, but a significant amount of people were either flat-out disappointed or weren't a fan of the controls. The game ended up not selling very well (in Japan, anyway). Paper Mario: Color Splash was also revealed in a Nintendo Direct, but the reception was very mixed due to its similarities with Sticker Star.

Zelda Wii U ended up getting delayed again and revealed to be in development for the Nintendo Switch, which pretty much ruined any chance of Wii U sales ever increasing.

At E3 2016, the much-anticipated Zelda Wii U was officially revealed, under the name "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild". At the Treehouse event, it was heavily showcased across the entire first day of Nintendo's E3. It was said to be a "different" Zelda game, with a true open world environment, something never before seen in a Zelda game.


Nintendo confirmed that Breath of the Wild will be the last first-party game to be released on the Wii U.

On January 31st, Nintendo discontinued the production of Wii U consoles worldwide.


On March 17, 2015, Nintendo announced a "gaming platform with a new concept" codenamed "NX" with more info to be revealed in 2016. During E3 2015 Nintendo confirmed they wouldn't show any new info about the NX until E3 2016.

However, they later confirmed that they will not be showing the NX at E3 2016. The system was confirmed to be released in 2017.

On October 20, 2016, Nintendo announced details about the their new console, the "Nintendo Switch".


  • The Wii U's codename was 'Project Cafe' during development.