Amid lackluster Wii U sales, which have picked up in recent months, Nintendo has plenty to boast about when it comes to the success of their Amiibo figurines, selling over 5.7 million units worldwide.
Amiibos, for those not in the know, are collectible figurines in the shape of popular Nintendo characters that contain NFC technology. These chips allow the Amiibos to interact with Wii U games like Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Mario Kart 8, unlocking additional content and features when available.
These plastic video game complements (think downloadable content in physical form) have previously seen success on other platforms, namely Activision’s Skylanders property and Disney Interactive Studio’s Disney Infinity. Nintendo’s iteration, however, is undoubtedly the most ambitious form of the idea yet.
The manufacture of Amiibos are based on the popularity of certain Nintendo characters. After all, everyone and their grandmas probably know who Mario is, but I’ll be damned if they could name whoever this dude is. Fanboys, bring on the hate.
At one point, Amiibo sales were so hot that many fans quickly ran into problems finding some of the more highly-prized versions. There were also reports of Amiibos that sold for thousands of dollars even though they were defected. Clearly, Nintendo has a very devoted fan base.
With underperforming Nintendo Wii U sales and 3DS sales losing their momentum, the Japanese company needed something like Amiibos to soften the blow. And no doubt, Nintendo has taken full advantage of the situation. Amiibos have only been on the market for a few months, and already Nintendo has announced a fourth wave of these plastic figurines of gold.
There are, however, a few glitches to the experience of using Amiibos. The biggest downside is that they can only interact with one game at a time. If a gamer attempts to link a previously-used Amiibo for a different game, then the current data must be erased. One must ask, is this a technical limitation or a brilliant marketing tactic that purposefully entices people to buy duplicate figures? Hmm…
Overall, Amiibos have been a hot topic since their release last November, and regardless of the varying success of Nintendo’s other initiatives, these Amiibo figurines has Nintendo laughing all the way to the bank.