As I outlined in my Super Smash Bros. Wii U article, Amiibo figures are Nintendo’s answer to the toy craze that is sweeping video games. They’re highly detailed figures of Smash Bros. characters that can be scanned into the game for various effects. While the applications are limited to SSBWU, Hyrule Warriors, and Mario Kart 8, more game functionality is on the way for 2015.
The first wave featured 12 characters from the new SSB line-up, with more slated to release on the 14th of December and sometime in February 2015.
When I first herd about these, I was rather intrigued. While I’m not a huge fan of such an obvious cash cow, I am a huge fan of Nintendo. So, the idea of having little trophy figures of my favorite characters filled me with this mixed bag of emotions. I don’t want to buy these. I don’t want to get into the habit of buy these. My choice to only buy one quickly turned into 5 figures sitting on my desk. I kind of hate myself. But, they are fun. I really enjoy leveling up the character in the game by fighting against them. I give them equipment and fine tune their play style. I give them nicknames. They learn too, much better than the computer does. I can best the level 9 CPUs… my Wii Fit Trainer? Forget about it. It forces me to learn new and better ways to fight. Like I said, it’s a lot of fun.
And then the fun got sucked right out of them. While I definitely predicted the popularity of SSBWU and that Game Cube adapter correctly, I didn’t anticipate that these figures were going to be so popular. Roughly two weeks after the games initial release, Amiibos have become scarce. Certain ones, Marth, Wii Fit Trainer, and Villager, are now being referred to as the “Holy Trinity” because of how impossible they are to find. Stores everywhere, both physical and digital, have huge shortages and those specific three are racking up quite a bit in price. Last I checked, Marth was selling for roughly $65, with the other two not far behind in price. Rumors have been circulating that they’ve actually been discontinued. This, of course, has led to the high inflation of pricing.
What does Nintendo have to say about all of this? Last week, David Young of NoA, said that none of the Amiibos were discontinued and that stock was just limited, but retailers would eventually get them in again. ::Phew:: That is… until they said this later in the day:
“We will aim for certain amiibo to always be available. These will be for our most popular characters like Mario and Link. Due to shelf space constraints, other figures likely will not return to the market once they have sold through their initial shipment.”
Then on Wednesday, they said this:
“Some amiibo were very popular at launch, and it is possible that some amiibo in the United States, Canada and Latin America may not be available right now due to high demand and our efforts to manage shelf space during the launch period. Certain sold-out amiibo may return to these markets at a later stage. We are continually aiming to always have a regular supply of amiibo in the marketplace and there are many waves of amiibo to come.”
So… is that a yes or a no to them returning? This is deeply vague and answers literally zero questions. I can’t seem to figure out why Nintendo would discontinue something two weeks after launch. Granted, I understand that the functionality for said three figures is limited to SSB, but what if those three are your main and you want a helpful NPC there to fight alongside you? You’re screwed. I was lucky enough to get the Vilager and WFT with no hassle. I even had Marth in my have TWICE and put it down because his face looked goofy, thinking “Meh, I wait until I find a good one.” My plan was to build up my collection slowly, as I’m sure it was for other people. I wanted a glass case for all the character. I wanted something to show my kids one day. And it won’t happen, not when Nintendo releases vague blanket statements and retailers jack up the prices.
Sunday marked the release of Wave Two. So, I did was any sensible collector would do; I got up early and drove around to every store in the area trying to procure them. What I found out was bizarre and troublesome. This wave includes six new fighters: Pit, Captain Falcon, Luigi, Diddy Kong, Zelda, and Little Mac. When I drove about and called several stores, most retailers only got in Litle Mac and Zelda, with Diddy Kong coming sometime this week. The other three got delayed until the end of December. Of course, this wasn’t true everywhere. The local GameStop got 2 figures of each in and put them out last week. That was all they received. Best Buy didn’t even get any new figures in. Target was fresh out of Little Mac and Zelda. Toys R Us only had LM and Zelda, with no Diddy shipment. Play N Trade is supposed to be getting in Diddy and the others today (luckily, I have them on hold there). I did manage to get Zelda and Little Mac though. The next wave, set to release in February, is almost entirely sold out online for pre-order. That’s insane!
I’m just absolutely baffled by this whole thing. At a time when Nintendo is starting to rebound in sales after doing so poorly for two years, they decide to play it incredibly safe. Game Cube adapters and certain Amiibo are sold out everywhere as a result of misjudging the overall popularity and demand for their products. At a time when they could be making even more bank, they release vague blanket statements that don’t answer any actual questions.
Why? Personally, I think this was almost a trial run. They produced only so many to see how well the market would respond and now they’re waiting to go from there. I think, sometime in the near future, we’ll see a “second edition” wave of Amiibo figures. It would be absolutely stupid to just discontinue certain figures after they sell out of the initial shipments. It’s not like there won’t be a new Animal Crossing or Fire Emblem game, which could easily have functionality integrated in them.
As of now, I have:
- Wii Fit Trainer
- Little Mac
- Diddy, Pit, and CF (hopefully. They’re maybe being held)