Nintendo Wii U gone from Australian retailers
Nintendo may not be ready to release the Switch just yet, but retailers certainly are.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is pretty amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to play it quite a few times prior to its 3 March release and its large open world carries with it a sense of adventure that is truly intoxicating. I have played the game on Wii U and on Switch – set to release simultaneously for $79.95 and $89.95 respective - and controllers aside, the difference between the two is indistinguishable. Breath of the Wild is a true multiformat release. So if you wanted to play Zelda, but not invest in the new $469.95 Switch, there is a cheaper option. Pick up the Nintendo Wii U and play it there.
Except you can’t. Not new, anyway.
When I went looking for a retailer in Australia that stocked the Wii U none were forthcoming. Main video games retailers EB Games and JB Hi-Fi don’t have it, bespoke shops like the Gamesman have no stock, and the more mainstream outlets like Amazon, Target, Big W and K-Mart have also removed the device from sale or list it as “Out of Stock”. You may get lucky and find a console in a random bricks and mortar store somewhere, but as far as chain-wide thinking is concerned, the Wii U is dead. Long live the Switch.
I called both JB Hi-Fi and EB Games for further clarification. A staff member for JB Hi-Fi said that the Wii U is still in their system, but they had had no stock for a while and has no expectation of more arriving. The EB Games staff member told me they were no longer receiving new stock and that I’d be lucky to find one brand-new in a store anywhere.
Despite the Wii U’s struggles as a console, it has got some truly brilliant exclusive games. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Super Mario 3D World, Super Mario Maker, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Pikmin 3 are all exceptional experiences that have not left my games shelf since their arrival. And while I cannot say yet whether Zelda: Breath of the Wild will top them all and be the “best game released on Wii U,” it’s definitely going to contest for the title.
I would have thought Zelda: Breath of the Wild could have been a last hurrah for the Nintendo Wii U – a console I believe to be quite undervalued. As a father of three young children, the Wii U offers something the other consoles do not: a family friendly, and inclusive, playing experience. And with mortgages through the roof for young families, pushing household budgets to their limits, a reduced price Wii U console with some killer games is way more malleable than a premium new machine that will set you back over $500 once you add Zelda to the mix.
I did find the console still available on international sites like Amazon US, and the higher profile games and accessories are still available here in Australia. Plus there is always eBay. But I guess that’s it gamers – the sad and sorry tale of the Wii U is over for Australians, one great game before its end.
If you are planning on preordering The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you can pick it up for $74.99 on Wii U and $77.99 on Nintendo Switch.