Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Problem With Nintendo and amiibo

With Nintendo out of the toy making business for 30+ years, their new amiibo figurines may be a bit of a flashback for people who are old enough to remember. However, it seems as Nintendo's skills have rusted over these years as their stab at Skylanders takes a turn for the worse. For those who don't know, amiibos are NFC-equipped figurines that allow gamers to use them for new game content or new ways to play, depending on the game. They run for $12.99 each, which is a good deal considering they sell their Nintendo Nunchuck, an accessory to an accessory, for $20, which requires a Wii Remote (not included with a Wii U), for $40. That's $60 right there just to make the console run as advertised. What's nice about amiibos is that they are well-made and durable. You won't find battery acid leaking out of these things anytime soon.

So, that's all fine and dandy... What's the problem? Simple: Nintendo is doing a horrible job as a supplier and a horrible job informing their customers on how they will address it. If you walk into a store that sells amiibos, many will be sold out. These sold out characters are usually from not-as-popular franchises, like F-Zero or Fire Emblem. This shows Nintendo's awful job at suppling. What's worse is their communication to their customers. When fans asked Nintendo if certain characters would return to store selves, Nintendo gave the most vague response of all time.
"We will aim for certain amiibo to always be available."
By "certain amiibo", I can almost guarantee that they mean characters from Mario, Legend of Zelda, and Metroid games will be available for long-term. So if you were hoping to get that new Ness amiibo, I wish you the best of luck. What's worse, retailers don't have great communication with Nintendo on this matter. Because of this, retailers can't guarantee pre-orders will be filled. You walk into the store, show the cashier your pre-order confirmation slip, and like a classic Seinfeld gag about taking reservations, the retailer is out of stock. It's not their fault. It's Nintendo's. Take a look at the Skylanders or Disney Infinity section of that store, and you'll find a plentiful supply. Now, stores can't take pre-orders.

I can understand that all 49 characters from Super Smash Bros. 4 won't fit on store shelves, but there's a simple solution: online stores. If you've seen the inside of an Amazon warehouse, you know what I mean. Club Nintendo, which recently announced that it's closing, could've easily sold these amiibos as gifts.

Another thing, Nintendo doesn't understand the phrase, "The customer is always right." If you post a let's play of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. 4 will no longer has a Subspace Emissary story mode because of that. If you buy a new 3DS, you have to move all of your games from one to the other. There's no continuity. All the games on the old 3DS will be deleted. Personally, I think Japan-based companies don't like having things in two places at once. That would explain why there are so few eBooks in Japan. Anyways, same case here. If Nintendo fans want a Rosalina and Luma amiibo figure, and some guy who lives in his mother's basement purposely buys 100 to diminish stock, Nintendo should make more and consider selling it at more than one store. Here's the thing, Nintendo has customers eating out of their "Master Hand" with these figures. They can easily make $10 profit from each one. There is no reason why they should stop production of lower-tier figurines.

I feel bad for any collector who can't get their hands on these figures. What's more, I feel worse for the EarthBound fans who won't be able to get their hands on the Ness amiibo. This is the first official EarthBound merchandise to be released in decades. These amiibo have created their own artificial economy. Sold out amiibos can go for at least $30. I've seen some go for $60! Which brings me to my next topic.
No Iwata... I don't understand...

Scalpers, in this case, are people who will buy insane amounts of amiibos just to have them go sold out. They might do it for profit or just because they don't like certain characters. I don't have anything to say about them. Nintendo knows they exist, but they don't do anything about it. They don't even put a limit on how many someone can buy. The discontinued amiibos are rumored to be turned from durable, well-made figurines into flimsy NFC cards. Probably for the same price too. Nintendo is just asking for a bad reputation.

Anyways, those are my thoughts... Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Let's hope this situation gets better for us fans and Nintendo.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep comments constructive and don't use any foul language. Feel free to share your ideas, feedback, experiences, and more. Please know that I will read them. Thanks!