OSAKA -- Nintendo's moribund Wii U struggled with a lack of support from software developers, who saw its unique features that set the game system apart as a hindrance.
Now slated to be discontinued in Japan, the Wii U launched in the autumn of 2012 and had sold roughly 13.36 million units worldwide as of Sept. 30. It is expected to go down as the worst-selling of the company's flagship consoles.
A touch screen in the controller was the signature hardware feature. Many third-party developers that aimed to also publish on such competing platforms as the PlayStation 4 doubted that they could recoup the costs of creating different versions for the Wii U. As a result, the Wii U's software library in Japan was just a quarter as large as that of the original Wii.
Nintendo also marketed its offerings as friendly to families and casual players, making the company an unlikely partner for developers targeting more serious gamers.
The Wii U's successor, the Switch, launches in March 2017. Whether this home-portable hybrid will be the "switch" needed to turn Nintendo's sales strategy around remains to be seen.