The Wii U Is Getting Harder To Find

"Grab a Wii U while you can, because they won't be around forever," a Nintendo executive said in a 2016 interview, as the company geared up for the launch of Switch.

The Wii U has vanished from retail stores and, now, used games salespeople across the country are saying that they're not seeing many Wii U trade-ins. If you want a Wii U, you'd better get one soon.

And no, you can't have mine, even though every time I turn it on, specks of dust stick to my fingers. It lives in a cluttered living room cabinet between my Switch dock and a thousand wires, a relatively prominent spot for an out-of-date console. It exists for Super Smash Bros. Until Nintendo gets a Switch version of Smash out the door, my Wii U, like others', won't see the inside of a used games store.

Wii U disappeared from retail shelves quickly when Switch came along to replace it last March. Nintendo discontinued its production in November, 2016. But as late as November 2017, you could buy a Wii U directly from Nintendo, either on its own online store or via eBay, for $US175 ($221).

These, too, are now depleted, although GameStop and Amazon have many in stock.

Besides Smash, another reason for low supply of Wii U is that it was Nintendo's worst-selling console. Today, Nintendo announced that the Switch has already outsold it after less than a year on the market. Wii U also came with the unique (if somewhat polarising) GamePad controller, and Nintendo never sold GamePads by themselves, meaning that if the controller breaks, the whole system is useless.

Ian Ferguson, who works at San Diego games store Luna Games, said he doesn't see a lot of Wii Us come through his shop. "Wii U trade-ins are not common even after the launch of the Switch," Ferguson said, and "even after the announcement of certain Wii U games being ported to the Switch".

Marcus Richardson, an employee at New York used games store 8 Bit And Up, said he had not ever seen a Wii U pass through his shop until last week. The console's owner sold it to make rent after quitting his job, he said.

Kelsey Lewin, co-owner of Seattle game store Pink Gorilla, says says she's seen significantly fewer Wii Us at the store after the Switch launched than Wiis after the Wii U launched. Because of that, the used consoles' price hasn't dropped as quickly as others', she says: "Customers are surprised to see that the Wii U still sells for $US150 ($186) [or more]."

There was a time when Wii Us were a little easier to find, right around the 2016 holiday season. Daniel Mastin of Video Games New York said the trade-ins picked up after the launch of Switch: "The initial onset of the realising the system is completely dead/abandoned by Nintendo is an unusual feeling. It took people time to accept that there would be no more games," he said.

Video Games New York bought back Wii Us at a faster pace than at any time in the console's history at the beginning of 2018, he said. But what game sellers across the country agreed on was that when the "failed" consoles, the ones that sold in low numbers in the first place, do hit the market, they don't stay there for long -- hence the fact that they're gone now.

Even though Wii U wasn't a great seller, it's still a Nintendo platform, and therefore it has a great library of games. So it shouldn't be surprising that many owners haven't sold theirs yet, and never will.

Once Super Smash Bros. is released on Switch, we might see another rush of used Wii Us hit stores as the community trades up to the newest game. But as Wii U ages, it might experience a renaissance amongst those who didn't even buy it in the first place.

"Confusion over what the system was, lack of third party support, and lack of media attention left it in the dark while Nintendo still kept releasing its handful of titles," Ferguson said. "Nintendo fans are going to want to play those 'lost games' someday, one way or another."


Comments

    Sold mine the other day ($180 for basic wii u and a few accessories); money went straight into my Switch fund :)

      Who did you sell it to? I was just wondering who would buy one of these instead of putting that money towards a Switch...

        Now's not a bad time for console collectors to try and get their hands on one.

        This might be where the console's price bottoms out. It might only appreciate in value from here.

          This was exactly why they bought it :)

          I would have thought a collector would want a brand new one, sealed in box, etc? If they don't already have one like that, they're probably not very good at collecting :P

            Well, yeah of course - but if you're planning to play on it anyway, paying a premium for a sealed, boxed one is a waste of money

        People who like modding things

    Sold mine to buy the switch (Almost didn't bother. Got burned twice by Nintendo already).

    If nobody adopted the Wii U during is prime lifetime why would they bother now?
    Once the switch releases Smash Bros + Virtual Console and some other staple Nintendo IP it's already better off than the Wii U ever was.

    I have to hold on to mine. Far too many stats on Smash Bros to say goodbye to. 2000 hours playing Smash with the boys and going strong.

    I still think there's still quite a few titles that make the U a good console to have. Some that come to mind are:

    * Xenoblade Chronicles X (and XBC1 via emulation, including gamepad support)
    * Fatal Frame/Project Zero: Maiden Of Blackwater (and Fatal Frame/Project Zero: Crimson via emulation)
    * The 2 Zelda remasters (e.g. Wind Waker looks great on my 4k TV)
    * Wonderful 101

    There's also the Wii compatibility, which is a good thing for those with substantial libraries.
    Of course, Wii emulation may well be in the works for the Switch VC. Yet just as various U games rely on gamepad usage, many rely on the mote and nunchuck control scheme. This will be a considerable emulation hurdle, one that's already been seen on the Wii U: e.g. 'waggle' games had to boot into a full emulation mode, whereas those that supported the classic controller could be emulated within the Wii U OS (e.g. Xenoblade 1).

    It'll be interesting to see how this all pans out when the subscription-based online service launches.

    Last edited 05/02/18 4:08 pm

    Well they are soft-moddable and can play gamecube, wii, and wii-u games - so i guess thats a good reason to source one.

    I bought a Wii U late last year. Why? I'm poor and wanted to play BotW. To me, the price of console+game is far better on Wii U than Switch. And all those Wii U ports coming on to the Switch? Can be found for next to nothing because nobody wants Wii U stuff right now.

    I have nothing against the Switch, I'm looking forward to getting one eventually, but for now I have most of what I want to play already on the Wii U, so I'm in no hurry and have plenty of time to save up.

    Last edited 05/02/18 4:32 pm

    Traded mine in along with all my Wii and Wii U games that I haven't touched in years on Switch launch weekend. Ended up getting a Switch for, effectively, free and a pro controller for about $60.

    Apparently, so is an image of the Wii U in it's final design...

    I'm keeping my 50% off Elite because:

    - The library is huge
    - My backlog is huge
    - Games play about the same
    - Controllers are LEAGUES better and not $150 ro whatever batshit crazy price Switch shit is.
    - The only must-have game is available on WiiU
    - Ninety are too retarded to give money to this early in the lifecycle.
    - Price.

    I bought a PS4 at launch and returned it almost immediately as there just wasn’t /anything/ available to play on it.

    Then, this time last year I build a boss gaming rig... so most of what’s available on PS4 or Xbone (exclusives aside) I can play on that (Most of MS’ first party stuff that I’d have an interest I can play on that too).

    I was looking to buy a console late last year, and found myself going on a massive splurge to find a Wii U which wasn’t mangled (a tough ask too for a semi-handheld console) and an epic back catalogue of games for a fraction of the price of ‘the current gen’ games.. I wound up finding all of the limited edition Motion Plus Wiimotes floating around at Target and Big W (okay, there was some scrounging there) and I think the most expensive games I bought were Mario Party 8/9 for around $50 a pop. I outlaid about a grand all told, but have a ‘clean’ Wii U and around 40 Wii/Wii U titles to play through now...

    Just gotta work out of Trauma Team got an AU release and whether or not the Cooking Mama titles are worthwhile on Wii...

    This happens with any console that has production stopped. Once production stops people buy them all up. Especially console that do very badly resulting in limited amounts of consoles being produced.

    ive got a near mint black one bubble wrapped in my garage. brought it and played mario kart. havent touched it in years >

    Remember, for the foreseeable future, the Wii U is the only way to play SM3DW, Mario Maker and a few other gems.

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