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Is Nintendo Abusing Their Amiibo Market — Or Do We Take Them Too Seriously?

After a rough first few 7 months of Amiibo collecting, Nintendo seems to have gotten their supply chain all fixed up.  The collecting nightmare culminated in May’s Wave 4 release where nearly every one of them was damn near impossible to find including Lucina, Robin, Ness, Charizard, Splatoon Girl, Splatoon Boy, Splatoon 3-Pack, Greninja, Jigglypuff, and Silver Mario. (But hey, Pac Man was everywhere, right?)  Even pre-ordering them was tough with sale windows just a few minutes long and retailers posting them seemingly randomly throughout the day, even at 2AM!

Alas, Wave 5 changed everything when both Dark Pit and Palutena were available in droves. Since then, only the Mega Yarn Yoshi has achieved unicorn status and even then there were plenty made. (You just can’t find them anymore unless you want to pay double the price.)  However, now we seem to have a different problem: the concept of “waves” is gone and Amiibo are being released every few days now.

This has been problematic for those wanting to collect them all because purchasing them often entails waiting in line at a store’s opening if not hours beforehand. (And we do have jobs we need to keep.) Doing this once in a while is one thing, but some of us are now doing it on Sunday…and then the following Friday…then Monday! It’s getting hard to keep track of release days with some groups popping up just to help keep track of it all.

The reason why there are so many release dates is because Nintendo is now using Amiibo to market and sell their games.  In fact, they’re forcing shoppers to buy the Amiibo even when they don’t want to.  In recent weeks, games like Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, Yoshi’s Wooly World and Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash have been launched with Amiibo bundled in. For the Amiibo collector, this is not a huge issue as we want them anyway, but what if you just want the game?  Consumers are being forced to pay more and some of these games still haven’t been released outside of the bundle.

Is Nintendo overreaching?  Today, I’ll play point/counterpoint as I argue each side of the issue.

Nintendo is using Amiibo to force us to buy games we don’t want…

When Amiibo first appeared a year ago, the idea was they would only be Smash characters and they’d interact only with that game.  We wanted to collect them all!  Nowadays, we’re seeing opportunity grabs such as the Mega Man Legacy Collection which has a lazy gold clone of the previously released Mega Man Amiibo. I wasn’t going to buy that game, but now I feel like I’m forced to because it probably won’t be released on its own.

Didn't want Mega Man Legacy Collection? I guess you don't want a complete Amiibo collection then...

Didn’t want Mega Man Legacy Collection? I guess you don’t want a complete Amiibo set then…

I was never going to buy Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival except that I had to because it’s the only way to get Isabelle and Digby. Chibi-Robo? Who’s that and why do I need to buy a 3DS game just to get the character? What if I don’t own a 3DS? If Nintendo would release these separately, at launch, I could buy them on their own and not the expensive game attached to them.

It’s gotten so bad they’re even bundling exclusive Amiibo with the Wii U system itself…and only at Wal-Mart!

Nintendo should separate their game and Amiibo market so that gamers don’t have to buy the figurines and Amiibo collectors don’t need to buy the game. Clearly, they’re happy to have people buy $60 games they wouldn’t have otherwise even if they’re angry at checkout time.  This has and will cause Amiibo collectors to quit.

Stop it, Nintendo!

We love Amiibo, so the more the merrier!

Amiibo are great!  They’re miniature tributes to our favorite Nintendo characters and, with few exceptions, look great.  Initially, we only saw Smash characters, but once Mario Party 10 came out we started to see smaller series’ as well: Super Mario, Splatoon, and Animal Crossing. We’re almost certainly going to see a Starfox Zero series in the future as well.

Sooooo many bundled games and special 3-packs...gimme, gimme!

Sooooo many bundled games and special 3-packs…gimme, gimme!

So what?  When Yoshi’s Wooly World was released with the Green Yarn Yoshi, the cost was $60.  This is the same price as any typical big budget Wii U game, so effectively it was free!  Same for Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash, which retailed for $40, so what’s the problem?  If anything, Nintendo is using Amiibo to sell games without charging us at all. Yes, release dates are all over the place and happening far too often, but they haven’t been difficult to get at all.  Let’s accept that we no longer have to wait 4 hours in line anymore and not get bent out of shape about it.  Just go to the store at your leisure and you’ll find them easily.

I can’t get enough Amiibo!

Which side do you take on the debate?  Is Nintendo taking advantage of Amiibo collectors or merely satiating their appetites? Comment below!

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About John Blanco

John Blanco is an avid game collector and loves to write about his hobby as much as he participates in it. He run the Denver Retro Gamers Facebook group in Denver, Colorado, and coordinates swap-style meetups with dozens of other collectors every couple of months.

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