Nintendo Amiibos: Praise, Analysis and A Criticism

Nintendo’s take on the NFC figure as seen in Skylanders and Disney Infinity has been hyped due to the fact that they can be used across multiple games. These “toy to life” figures are really quite nice, with detailed features to make any Nintendo fan happy to have on display, while keeping kids happy as well. I do like the attention given to character outfits, such as Peach and Zelda’s dresses. The box presentation is fun, and the instructions are clear and simple.

I received two Amiibos this holiday, one for me and one for my husband. We have Peach and Samus. I haven’t yet taken it out of the box, but I do plan to. At 12.95 apiece, one might say they’re expensive. Though despite functionality, I’d proudly display them as figures on a shelf when not in use. With that in mind, the price seems reasonable.

What doesn’t seem reasonable is how hard it has been for people to get their hands on these characters. Nintendo did not have enough supply to meet demand; not the first time the company ran out of supply, as we have seen this exact thing before (i.e. original Wii consoles). However, my criticism comes from several issues. First are the rumors having gone around about certain Amiibo figures being “limited” and possibly “discontinued” (you can read more about that in this article). While figures like Wii Fit Trainer may not have much function outside of Smash Bros, they should still be available.

If this is how Nintendo responds, then they are pandering to scalpers instead of the common fan or parents. I for one really want a Marth figure, as I love him as a character. I was hoping to get one when I had a bit of extra money; of course this figure is nowhere to be found now. One could blame the Christmas rush for this, but that’s not the whole truth. The amount of opportunistic E-Bayers who managed to swoop in and buy many figures is ridiculous. It begs the question: Who is Nintendo targeting with the Amiibos? Are they targeting collectors? Or are they trying to target families, children and the common fan?

At this point in time, it certainly feels like the former. Another major criticism goes along with that; retailer exclusivity. If you want the Rosalina & Luma figure then you have to buy it from Target, if you want Lucario then you must buy from Toys R Us, if you want Shulk then you must pre-order from the evil emp- *ahem* Gamestop. There are also Best Buy exclusives. As a consumer, I HATE this with a passion. Store exclusivity does not in any way target kids or their parents. No, Nintendo should not always pander to family and youth for everything, but we cannot forget that NFC figures are first and foremost TOYS.

An argument to this could be that the common parent and kid will just want the iconic characters being Mario, Luigi, Peach, DK, Yoshi, Link, perhaps Kirby, and Pikachu, and that those characters will always be available. Except that they aren’t even now. I could not find Link, I couldn’t even find Mario or Luigi. This could be due to Christmas. However, the fact is that some kids might want Lucario. Some kids might want Rosalina if they played Super Mario Galaxy. Some might want Meta Knight (Best Buy exclusive). The fact that Nintendo isn’t even allowing these to be purchased directly online from them is even more limiting. Also, not all Nintendo fans are rich enough to pre-order every figure they want; should they be hurt by this?

I don’t have a solution. I can only express my discontentment over how the Amiibo situation is being handled by Nintendo. I’ll always be a fan, but I don’t always agree with their business practices. I’m not one of those fans who go “Nintendo is perfect and can do no wrong” while ignoring or denying any of the problems. All companies have problems, no company is perfect. However this decision is less consumer-friendly than I’d like to see from a company I respect. While I don’t play Disney Infinity, I would prefer their business model for selling figures, as there is no problem with finding the Disney characters you want of those that have been released.

How do you feel about Amiibos? Do you find the situation problematic, or do you not care? What do you think of the NFC figure trend as a whole?

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About Zi (Bookish Gamer)

Gamer, Reader, Blogger, Youtuber. I love stories of every kind, but tend to stick towards Fantasy and YA as a whole when it comes to books.

Posted on December 21, 2014, in Gaming Discussion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Overall, i think the amiibo figures are nice; they cater to the fans and Nintendo makes money. You’re right about the problems about nintendo’s supply and demand process. I wouldnt be happy, as a fan and/or parent buying these figures for my children, that the figurines are so limited in stock and that some figurines are exclusive to certain stores.

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