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UPDATE: Nintendo has commented on this news, stating that "the report didn't come from us".

ORIGINAL STORY: The Wii U has underperformed for Nintendo, failing to gain early momentum and only achieving modest sales each year since its arrival in late 2012. Though momentum in this financial year has improved over the last, it's still returning numbers that are far too low to be satisfactory.

It is now being reported by Japanese publication Nikkei that the hardware's manufacturing production is due to cease later this year, formally ending its ongoing role in the market. The norm is that older hardware continues in production as a new generation of hardware kicks in, for example with the Wii being formally discontinued in late 2013, a little under a year after the Wii U launched; a small number of remaining Wii units still sell each financial quarter.

If this report is accurate, the Wii U may end up being Nintendo's poorest selling home console platform; as of 31st December 2015 Nintendo's official figure for Wii U sales was 12.6 million. The GameCube's final sales number was 21.74 million units, and considering the Wii U's momentum of between 3 and 3.5 million units per year, it looks like a tough ask to overhaul the GC. Both pale in comparison to the last-gen Wii, of course, which is currently sitting on 101.63 million units.

Should the Wii U cease manufacturing this year it could still sell - for a time - in modest numbers based on existing stock. That would also point to a potential 2016 release for the NX hardware to take its place in the market and in Nintendo's manufacturing pipeline.

None of this is fully confirmed by Nintendo - Nikkei has been right on various occasions, such as when it reported on the original 3DS XL prior to its announcement, but not all of its reports have been fully correct. It has a strong track record, but until Nintendo confirms this to be the case it's not 100% in the bag.

It would be a sad end for the Wii U if its time on the market was to be cut rather short with a cessation of manufacturing after just four years on the market, but considering its sales it wouldn't be a surprise.

Thanks to Geoff for the heads up.

[source nikkei.com, via theverge.com]