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Nintendo sold a single new Wii U in the US this year

Was it you? Reveal yourself!

Shigeru Miyamoto Portrait Shoot, Kyoto Photo: Will Ireland/Edge Magazine/Future via Getty Images
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Nintendo discontinued the Wii U in 2017, and will shut down all online connectivity for the console by the end of this year. Despite it all, unopened units are apparently still out there on shelves: According to Circana industry analyst Mat Piscatella, Nintendo sold a single new Wii U in the United States in 2023. It’s reportedly the first new Wii U sold since May 2022.

Piscatella said on X, formerly Twitter, that Circana tracks sales data for consoles across “most retailers,” which make up 97% of U.S. hardware retail sales. The Wii U purchased from a retailer this year wasn’t a refurbished or used console, which there’s certainly a more active market for. It was a brand-new Wii U sold in the year 2023.

The Wii U was not exactly a popular console. Some would even call it a flop, as it sold just 9.2 million units in the three years after its launch in 2012.

I hope September’s Wii U buyer has access to physical Wii U discs, because Nintendo shut off the console’s digital storefront in March.

So how does this happen? It’s pretty unusual for a retailer to have stock this old at any point; manufacturers would eventually ask for the consoles back. This rare, new Wii U console must have gotten stuffed away for a while before the miraculous sale last month. Piscatella told Polygon that information for where the Wii U was sold isn’t available. He added that one-off sales like this — for other consoles and games — happen “fairly regularly,” likely when the dust is brushed off something buried in the back of a store. There’s not much to the data other than that, just “fun peculiarities,” he added.

We’re left with the hilarious knowledge that someone walked into a retailer, saw a Wii U on the shelf, and thought... You know? I’m going to buy that. Here’s to hoping it was not a clueless purchase, but well-meaning person looking to bring the latest Nintendo console home to their child.

There aren’t many Wii U games that haven’t been ported over to Nintendo Switch, but there are some — including The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD.

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