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Wii U production could continue until 2018, Nintendo confirms

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Next year's NX 'won't simply replace' the console

Nintendo could end production of Wii U systems by March 2018, company president and CEO Tatsumi Kimishima told investors this morning. Reuters reported the news from today's Q&A session, where Kimishima discussed Nintendo's previous fiscal year, upcoming release plans and the future of its current consoles.

Earlier this year, Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported that Nintendo planned to cease manufacturing Wii U hardware by the end of 2016. Nintendo denied this claim, but offered no other timeline. This is the first time that Nintendo has pinpointed an end for Wii U, giving it upward of two more years in production.

In its new financial report, Nintendo predicted that it will sell 800,000 Wii U systems during the current business year. Last year, the company moved 3.26 million units of the hardware.

That forecast is certainly colored by the announcement of the NX's launch date. Nintendo said that it's next gaming platform will arrive in March 2017. It won't be present at this year's E3, however; expect more information about it later this year.

Kimishima maintained that NX won't "simply replace the 3DS and Wii U" during today's Q&A, according to the Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki. A launch title, the next The Legend of Zelda game, will arrive on both NX and Wii U in 2017. That game will be Nintendo's sole playable release on the showfloor at June's E3 event.