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Nintendo to Shutter Wii Channels

15 Apr, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Nintendo is planning to shutter a number of online channels associated with its original Wii video game console, beginning June 28.

Nintendo said it would cease operating the weather forecast, news, “everybody votes,” Nintendo, and “check Mii out,”  channels, in addition to data exchange between Wii users on WiiConnect24.

Social networking via Wii message board, Mii Channel, and exchanges of messages or data on some game titles will also no longer be possible.

The Wii shop and “today’s accomplishments” channels will not be affected.
Japanese-based Nintendo — in the April 12 notice — gave no reason for the shutdowns — except apologies.

“We at Nintendo sincerely thank you for your continued patronage of our company’s products,” Nintendo said in a statement. “We apologize to those of you currently using these services, and ask for your understanding.”

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter believes the reason could be that sales of Wii U — the follow up to the Wii console — are declining. Pachter, in an April 15 note, said estimates Nintendo sold 55,000 Wii U devices in March compared to about 85,000 of the older Wii units.

Wii U sold about $10 million in software in March compared to $39 million for Wii — the latter down about 50% from the same month in 2012.

By comparison, unit sales of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 topped 260,000  units and 290,000 units, respectively, and both down 22% year-over-year.

Pachter said next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft continue to create a drag on current hardware sales, with detailed information on both consoles (including launch dates, multimedia functionality, pricing and software support) expected at at E3 June 10 – 13.

“Although Nintendo’s hardware continues to struggle and software sales have reverted to down mid-20s territory once again, investors appear blissfully unconcerned, and continue to show confidence in shares of the game publishers,” Pachter wrote.

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