This week — right now — is the time to sell your Wii U game console. Nintendo’s most recent game console is, more or less, dead in the water.
Like cars, boats, and other luxury items, video game consoles immediately start depreciating in value from the moment you walk out of the store. That much we already know.
But in the case of the Wii U, that depreciation factor just accelerated dramatically. Nintendo announced on Wednesday that its next game console, currently codenamed “NX,” will launch in March 2017. That’s just shy of one year from now.
More importantly, there are next to no major games coming from Nintendo (or anywhere else, for that matter) to the Wii U between now and March 2017. With the launch of “Star Fox Zero” this month, there are effectively no major Nintendo games in the pipeline.
Normally, this would be where I’d say, “But there’s a major video game conference, E3, in June where we might hear more.” Not likely this year! Nintendo issued a press release on Wednesday explaining its focus at the show this year (emphasis mine):
Nintendo changes its approach to the show every year. This June, Nintendo will focus its attentions on the upcoming game in “The Legend of Zelda” franchise. The Wii U version of the game will be playable for the first time on the E3 show floor, and it will be the only playable game Nintendo presents at the show, in order to provide attendees a complete immersion.
Based on that, we could hear about more games coming to the Wii U, they just won’t be “playable” at E3. But then again, any games coming to the Wii U between E3 in June and March 2017 are unlikely to be major games. With a new game console coming in the near future, it doesn’t make much business sense for Nintendo to release any major Wii U games between now and March 2017.
After all, Nintendo’s only sold 12.8 million Wii U consoles since launch in 2012. That’s roughly one-tenth the sales of Nintendo’s previous console, the Nintendo Wii. Why bother making and releasing another expensive blockbuster game when you’re unlikely to sell enough copies to break even, let alone make profit?
In fact, the next major entry in the “Legend of Zelda” series — a staple of Nintendo’s game line-up — just got delayed out of 2016 to… can you guess? Yep, 2017. Oh and wouldn’t you know it, it’s also the first officially announced game for Nintendo’s new console (NX).
So, yes, despite the great times we’ve all had with “Splatoon” and “Super Mario 3D World” and “Mario Kart 8” and whatever other games you hold dear on the Wii U, now is the time to sell your Wii U. My local GameStop is taking the more common 32GB model for $100 in store credit or $80 in cash, and those numbers are only going to drop as we inch closer to a new Nintendo game console.