Nintendo end of life process for Wii illustrates console churn

Nintendo Switch

With the myriad of new technologies available that are now applied to the gaming sector, it’s only to be expected that video game consoles don’t last as long as they used to – but some of the trends emerging show just how quickly companies ramp up production and then decline ongoing support for systems, sometimes to the frustration of the consumer- who paid all that money and bought all those games and gear!

New reports today show the Nintendo company will not be offering repair supports for its Wii system console within Japan after the end of March.

Many of us remember the rollout of the Wii to much fanfare in 2006 – at the time, Nintendo’s big, bold move was seen as a game-changer in sensor-based gaming. Virtual bowling and Wii fitpad games caught on in a big way. Remember sticking that sensor bar to the top of the television?

Just 13 years later, the entire concept of the Wii has become so obsolete that Nintendo is consigning this whole lineup to the trash heap, as it promotes the new Nintendo Switch console it’s only been out for a couple of years(and does not center on sensor tech).

As for competitors, we see the quick evolution of new PlayStation and Xbox platforms that move gluts of old games to the bargain bin racks of local Gamestop stores – quickly.

Although console development has been sped up, another major pressure point for console makers is the widespread availability of cloud computing and platforms like Steam that bring games directly to the computer.

In fact, the console itself may be, in some ways, obsolete.

“One of the main reasons that people like to use consoles is because of the fact you can do it at your living room and not at your desk,” writes Ali Kellaway at Quora, contending that consoles will stick around for a while, but with one significant caveat. “Eventually they will be powerful enough to run fabulous games just like a PC can but this trait won’t disappear unless PC interfaces advance tremendously allowing you to do this in a way people enjoy.”

One could argue that this eventuality that Kellaway mentions has already happened. So look for the beleaguered console industry to show further signs of stress this year.