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Nintendo Bumps Wii U Owners Aside to Focus All its Energy on the NX

With a very lean E3 incoming and no Legend of Zelda Wii U this holiday, supporters of Nintendo's rapidly-dying system can be forgiven for feeling slighted.

Analysis by Nadia Oxford, .

If you planned to attend E3 this year in hopes of getting some hands-on time with Nintendo's NX, you might want to return your plane ticket. Though the NX reveal is still happening this year, we won't be seeing it at E3. In fact, Nintendo's 2016 E3 presence is going to be subdued compared to previous years.

"NX will not make an appearance at the upcoming E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles in June and will be unveiled later this year," Nintendo states in a press release distributed earlier today. The release sums up an investors' meeting about the company's annual earnings, and contains information about the upcoming NX reveal, Nintendo's future mobile plans, and its E3 2016 presence -- which, it seems, will revolve around the new Legend of Zelda game that's launching simultaneously for Wii U and NX.

According to the press release, "This June, Nintendo will focus its [E3] attentions on the upcoming game in The Legend of Zelda series. 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.

[Bangs fists on table] Let us play! Let us play!

"The latest instalment in this classic series is scheduled to launch simultaneously for both Wii U and NX, and both versions of the game have been in development in tandem."

Nintendo also promises "additional information about Nintendo’s E3 plans will be announced in the future," meaning we might still see an E3-themed Nintendo Direct as per previous years (nobody's going to say "no" to news about Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, and / or a Mother 3 Virtual Console release). But there's no doubting the NX won't be at E3, and that the new Zelda will be Nintendo's only playable game on the show floor.

Nintendo's news has boggled some minds, to say the least. The lack of an NX reveal is a big deal, though Nintendo never promised we'd see its new system at the show. We just took it for granted.

We also took it for granted that we'd be playing the NX by Christmas, but that's not the case either. The NX is "scheduled to launch in March 2017," alongside the new Zelda game.

This all begs one important question: Outside of Pokémon Sun and Moon, what the heck will Nintendo serve up this Christmas?

The lack of an NX reveal at E3 2016 isn't a disaster. Sony revealed the PlayStation 4 outside of E3, and the unorthodox unveiling didn't hurt the system's fortunes. And, again, Nintendo never made any promises. We projected our wishes on the company, so we can't be angry over those wishes going unfulfilled. Nintendo currently doesn't have a date for the NX's debut, but late summer / early fall is a decent guess.

2016's lack of Zelda Wii U, however, is more of a heart-breaker. Nintendo's press release claims the game's developers need the extra time to polish the game, but it's no coincidence the delay means the Wii U version of the game will launch alongside the NX version -- which, in turn, will launch with the NX itself.

The Wii port of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess made the system's launch pretty exciting, so it's easy to understand why Nintendo wants its new Zelda title to be present at the NX's debut. Still, Wii U supporters who've been waiting for the system's supposed pièce de résistance might be feeling like schmucks, or like they're being cheated. Zelda should've been on the Wii U ages ago, but because of the NX, it's not. Indeed, barring some kind of E3 2016 miracle, it looks like Wii U owners may be out of luck this holiday season, and forever thereafter. It's an obvious move given the Wii U's less-than-stellar performance at cash registers, but it's still sad.

Expect a heavy diet of Pokemon this holiday season.

Wii U supporters are well within their rights to be upset, but owners of mobile devices (e.g. the entire world) will be intrigued by Nintendo's upcoming plans for the platform, which was another major focus during the meeting. We can expect mobile games based on the Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem franchises, both of which Nintendo plans to release this fall. Nintendo also announced Miitomo has passed 10 million unique users, prompting the company to hold a celebratory promotion from April 29 through May 8.

Interestingly, Nintendo's announcement about its lack of NX at E3 has attracted nearly as much attention as an actual NX reveal. The company appears to be entering starvation mode in preparation for the launch of its next system, and it's impossible to look away. Nintendo's bare-bones holiday 2016 lineup isn't going to convince anyone to pick up a Wii U in December.

Obviously, Nintendo knows the risks of a lean holiday as much as anyone. It also surely realizes it's shafting Wii U owners. Nintendo must be incredibly confident about the NX. Those of us on the outside don't have grounds to be confident just yet, but we sure are curious about the system.

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Comments 31

  • Avatar for Ralek #1 Ralek 9 months ago
    "in order to provide attendees a complete immersion"

    As far as now-I've-heard-it-all goes, I feel like I am making real progress.

    As for Zelda, why do they even bother with the WiiU version? I mean we were all assuming that we were looking at anothr TP situation, but in all honesty, I would have vastly prefered it if they were really focusing all their energy on the NX, instead of creating an inferior Zelda version for the WiiU. That does not exactly inspire confidence about the NX design and technical prowess.
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  • Avatar for SOUP32 #2 SOUP32 9 months ago
    Seems like a real slap in the face to Wii U owners. This news was the shot in the head that essentially puts the Wii U out of it's misery 11 months before it's successor comes out.

    This will be Nintendo's saddest holiday season ever sales-wise.

    I'd imagine this is what it must have felt like to be a North American Saturn owner back in the day.
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #3 WiIIyTheAntelope 9 months ago
    Please don't be something crazy

    Please don't be something crazy

    Please don't be something crazy
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  • Avatar for ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop #4 ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop 9 months ago
    How is it shafting WiiU owners? Are we entitled to something here?
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  • Avatar for Spectreman #5 Spectreman 9 months ago
    To give so much attention to Zelda, without talking about NX, this means the Zelda NX will be very close to what Zelda Wii U looks? And so, the NX will have a tech power close to Wii U?
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  • Avatar for TheeAP #6 TheeAP 9 months ago
    Truth be told, I've easily had more fun with my Wii U than any system I've owned since my parents bought me a Super Nintendo way back when. Splatoon and Super Mario 3D World made me fall in love with gaming again in a way I didn't expect. ... BUT ... wow ... now that Star Fox is out, what's left? Are Paper Mario and the TMS the only games left for the next calendar year? (If maybe it hits its release window) Yooka-Laylee?
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #7 cldmstrsn 9 months ago
    Im not upset. As a huge supporter of the Wii U and having seen some of their best games to date on the system Im ready to see what they have in store for the NX. If I like what I see I will be getting the system and the new Zelda if not well ill hold out and get the Zelda for my Wii U. Hopefully with this new system they can right the ship and bring more 3rd party support to help them in the long run. If not, this very well may be their last console.
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  • Avatar for Lord-Bob-Bree #8 Lord-Bob-Bree 9 months ago
    I hope part of this drought is them working on providing a good launch lineup for the NX.
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  • Avatar for Vaporeon #9 Vaporeon 9 months ago
    Nintendo, I will forgive you if you let me play Earthbound on my trusty 3DS XL. Now.

    Honestly, though, won't the Wii U version of Zelda be more polished than the NX version, since the devs have been working on it longer? Even though we know nothing about the NX right now, I've never played Zelda for the latest and greatest HD graphics, so as long as the play mechanics are the same, I'm fine with a Wii U version.Edited April 2016 by Vaporeon
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  • Avatar for Jason-X #10 Jason-X 9 months ago
    @ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop You buy a system under the assumption that it will be supported with new stuff for you to play. Not unreasonable in the least.
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  • Avatar for Jason-X #11 Jason-X 9 months ago
    @cldmstrsn Nintendo has more money than god. They could keep screwing up for decades and it wouldn't change their approach one bit.
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  • Avatar for Jason-X #12 Jason-X 9 months ago
    @Lord-Bob-Bree Pretty much every console launch line up is anemic, so I wouldn't hold my breath on that point.
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #13 nadiaoxford 9 months ago
    @Vaporeon The press release mentions the NX and Wii U versions of the game have been developed in tandem.
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  • Avatar for Tetragrammaton #14 Tetragrammaton 9 months ago
    Wow, how certain were folks about NX 2016? I've been convinced since we first started hearing about NX that it'd be a 2017 release. What's really surprising is the rumor that Nintendo is literally bumping off the Wii U next year; legacy consoles typically go several years past their official replacement. I guess since Nintendo is the only company supporting the Wii U they don't feel the need to keep the factory going.
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  • Avatar for shurn #15 shurn 9 months ago
    Not upset didn't buy wii-u for zelda.
    Happy with the small selection of games i do have. It was a cheep investment for me. Probably wont get nx and wait for the next nintendo handheld.
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  • Avatar for docexe #16 docexe 9 months ago
    I didn’t really expect the NX to launch this year. Given that Nintendo had been so awfully quiet about any official reveal (plus some rumors I read that 3rd parties just got their devkits this past winter) it seemed highly unlikely to me that the system was going to launch this year. On the other hand, the fact that it won’t appear at E3 is really surprising. Nintendo might probably hold its own event to reveal the machine and that might probably serve them better than sharing space with Sony, Microsoft, the VR headsets, etc., but not revealing it until late summer or the fall season still seems odd.

    More damning though is the fact that Zelda will be their only game playable at E3 despite not appearing until next year. Given their rickety presentation and line-up last year, it was pretty obvious that they had moved much of their development resources from the 3DS and the Wii U to the NX, but this just seems ridiculous. You would believe that they would at least show some demos of Pokémon Sun/Moon and that Paper Mario game, as they are pretty much the only things of notice they have for 3DS and Wii U this holiday season.

    So, either they are REALLY confident on their new machine or something catastrophic has happened during development.

    Now, while this is certainly a slap to Wii U owners like myself, I suppose everything will be forgiven if the machine is genuinely impressive, or at the very least is announced with a solid line-up of games. If not... well, it’s pretty clear that the Wii U has become their Saturn, I can only hope the NX doesn’t become their Dreamcast.Edited April 2016 by docexe
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #17 CK20XX 9 months ago
    @ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop I feel similar. I'm very satisfied with what my Wii-U has provided me and I don't feel slighted by this inevitability.

    But overall, Nintendo has been conducting rather bad business with the Wii-U from the beginning. They're still the idiot savant of the industry, simultaneously amazing and aggravating customers.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #18 cldmstrsn 9 months ago
    @Jason-X that may be true but they would lose a loyal customer of 30 years.
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  • Avatar for Pacario #19 Pacario 9 months ago
    None of this news surprises me. But giving the Wii U fanbase this one last great game (Zelda, delivered this year) would have been a huge magnanimous gesture on Nintendo's part.

    But Nintendo is not known for being a particularly giving or grateful company, despite the almost endless devotion of its fans.
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #20 jeffcorry 9 months ago
    I really want to come in and sing the praises of the Wii U. I have loved the system. I have loved the games.
    But.
    I just feel like Nintendo dropped the ball. There are so many things that could have made it a better system. The Virtual Console alone would have been sufficient for this old guy.
    In other news...
    If Zelda NX/Wii U are closely related...
    Does that confirm a second screen controller? Maybe the old controllers will move over.
    I'd be okay with that. The game pad was my favorite innovation for the Wii U. If I had a portable game pad...
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  • Avatar for Wellman2nd #21 Wellman2nd 9 months ago
    I have to think Wii U owners that have been following the industry enough saw the writing on the wall. They may not have known it would be delayed into 2017 but it staying exclusive to the Wii U given its performance was very unlikely.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #22 Kuni-Nino 9 months ago
    As a Wii U owner, I'm not feeling slighted at all. I got Pikmin 3, NSMBU, Bayonetta 2, Captain Toad, Mario 3D World, W101, Tropical Freeze, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Shantae Pirate's Curse, Wind Waker HD, and there's a bunch of other games I still haven't played or bought like Wooly World, Rainbow Curse, #FE, and others.

    Although I do understand where some are coming from in their disappointment, idk, I'm good with what the Wii U has given me. It's not like I'm playing a lot of games these days anyway.
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  • Avatar for RATTLEDTHEOX #23 RATTLEDTHEOX 9 months ago
    @ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop Really? You're ok with a game that was announced 3 years ago getting constantly delayed in order to support their next system because they did a horrible job with the current one? We get the inferior version, at the same price, because we backed Nintendo's play with the WiiU? Yeah, I'd say I do feel entitled. We are getting scammed by a company that consistently makes mistakes and rarely pays for them.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #24 Kuni-Nino 9 months ago
    @larkan511 They have to leverage a new console dude. The last time they did this we ended up with the phenomenal TP, a game where both versions were indistinguishable. The Wii U version will probably be fine all things considered.
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  • Avatar for SargeSmash #25 SargeSmash 9 months ago
    Despite the failure of the Wii U to gain market traction, Nintendo has done an excellent job supporting it. I have plenty of good games to play. Sure, I wish I had more of them, but honestly, a company can't keep supporting an effectively-dead product.
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #26 KaiserWarrior 9 months ago
    What Nintendo is incredibly confident about is that the Nintendo Faithful will pick up the NX regardless, so they have no need to pretend that they care about the WiiU anymore.

    That New Zelda is coming out on WiiU at all is simply a hedge. They're not entirely confident that they'll make their money back selling on their new system alone, so they're throwing in a previous-gen version as well.
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  • Avatar for swamped #27 swamped 9 months ago
    After a lifetime of being intermittently screwed over by Nintendo, I'm determined to learn from history. So I'm making a decision right now to not purchase whatever comes after NX. I am assuming it will follow in the footsteps of GC and Wii U and have a half dozen memorable/revolutionary games many of which will be ported to other consoles. Seems like a pretty safe bet at this point.
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  • Avatar for SargeSmash #28 SargeSmash 9 months ago
    @KaiserWarrior : Given that the Wii U was the primary development platform, and actually has an install base, it makes perfect sense to do a dual release. To not do so would be simply throwing money away.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #29 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    @larkan511 Nobody is scamming you, man. You can buy it or not. Simple as that. It'll be the same game, and considering they are going for a stylized cartoon art style ala Wind Waker, any improvements the NX brings will be minor at best.

    This isn't a conspiracy. Nintendo showed the Wii U a ton of love because I have a shit ton of games. I have around 25 boxed games, and about the same amount in digital games and that is not counting Virtual Console.

    You are focusing on one game only, and are you suprised? With how many times Zelda games get delayed?

    Don't buy it, but calling it a scam is ridiculous. No more different than how PS3 versions and PS4 versions comes out. Just don't buy it. Simple as that.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #30 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    @docexe I hope it doesn't. If it does, shame. However, I still have my Saturn and Dreamcast, and I look at those two consoles, especially the Dreamcast, and I say: "You gave me a great machine, Sega. One of the best out there".
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  • Avatar for SevenBones #31 SevenBones 9 months ago
    To be honest I'm not that upset as a Wii U owner. I still have plenty of games to play such as Bayonetta 1 & 2, Pikmin 3, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and more. My only concern with the Wii U is that I hope Nintendo allows us to transfer our Virtual Console titles to the NX.

    As for E3, I'm fine with Nintendo skipping it since it always seems to lose more and more prominence as the years roll on and Nintendo can always show their hand when their ready through their Directs as well as having their own press conferences for the media.
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