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Nintendo amiibo—Do You Really Still Care?

 

Nintendo no doubt made great waves with their line of collectable amiibo figures, immediately reaping a fearsome tally on the wallets of collectors, intrepid scalpers/entrepreneurs, and rabid fans alike.

They were first brought to market in North America on November 21, 2014, in Europe on November 28, 2014, and in Japan on December 6, 2014 and from there, temporarily, took over a large swath of gaming culture as the hot topic of conversation. People were buying, pre-ordering, trading, and customizing amiibo while simultaneously being drenched in attention from media outlets hoping to prey on the easy news that this new fanbase generated. Case and point, Gamespot, alongside other media outlets, like Polygon, ran articles covering insane ebay sales containing poorly manufactured amiibo like a legless Princess Peach and a double-canon Samus Aran.

But nowadays, I really want to know, does anyone really care about amiibo? Sure, it was nice to collect a few of them early on, when conversation was hot, and I still have the original Zelda and Samus. I bought most of the Breath of the Wild amiibo purely because I knew they were a way of getting around the games weapon-degradation grind, and I doubled back to buy the original Link amiibo because that was literally the only way of getting Epona in the game, a scummy move on Nintendo’s part.

I ask you this because they are, as we’ve always known, glorified DLC.

Perhaps a better acronym would be OOGPs—Out of Game Purchases. Wouldn’t you rather just pay a dollar to get that in-game bonus without needing to also store a figure? Better yet, wouldn’t you rather not have to pay a dollar and just get the full game without transactions?

When new amiibo are announced, people get excited for a while. Then the conversation moves on and the amiibo slide into the background. Sales have never been consistent because of this, and initial boom came from the reveal and appeal of having in-game effects, but as amiibo became less fundamentally useful in games, refilling hearts or granting magic for example in Zelda games, the interest seemed to die.

Fiscal Year 2016 brought in a figure of approximately 10.6 million amiibo being sold, this number dropped to 3.8 million amiibo sold by the end of FY2017, with this number turning around in FY2018 rising to 10.3 million amiibo sold. There’s also a thriving bootleg scene for the amiibo cards which are easily replicated and sold online, with one example having sold some 1177 card packs at the time of writing, with each pack containing 22 cards, making a total loss of 39094 potential amiibo sold.

So do people really care?

Do you?

Or has the initial buzz of the amiibo collectors scene finally worn off after all this time? I don’t find myself able to engage with them, not anymore at least. I haven’t “tapped” an amiibo since I finished Breath of the Wild, and I couldn’t tell you when I last did it prior to that.

There are certainly hardcore collectors out there, the customization scene still exists for better or for worse, and Nintendo have gone as far as selling 63-amiibo-in-one bumper packs to drum up some more interest. I’m sure there’s money to be made, and collectors to be pleased, but I think the amiibo craze has peaked, and I don’t think it will ever be as important as a conversation point as it was in its early days. Although, given the recent sales figures of the Switch point at it being over the 20 million mark, there are still plenty of customers to appeal to.

Fun fact – Did you know that Nintendo avoids capitalizing the “a” in amiibo in their officially published materials?

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  1. As a collector, I do not buy them for DLC but as a toy/ collectible. I love amiibo, and have bought hundreds of them because they have improved in quality, and remind me of the amazing games I have played throughout my lifetime.

  2. I rather like the amiibo. But they are far too expensive for them to be more than something cool.

    I have 2. I bought them both with BOTW and almost never use them. They sit on a shelf with my other collectibles because they’re cool.

    I don’t know if the craze is over but I do know I can’t afford to participate.

  3. Travis Jones on February 17, 2019 at 9:58 pm said

    Personally, I like amiibo. However, anytime one I really want gets released, I pre-order it. I love the amiibo, I just hate the scalpers.

  4. I have never liked them. They have little to no functionality (like advertised and promoted) and when push came to shove the rewards they did offer either felt like cheating or just were not rewarding. The few attempts to make something with them turned our poorly either locking content behind them or just bad games with them. They are functionally useless. That being said I would have preferred either a) better quality figures or b) cheaper priced ones without NFC, if I was a collector of them.

  5. I always cared for amiibo, they’re a great collectioner’s item imo. But, living in Poland, their price here could feed me for a week. Mega Yarn Yoshi for 2 to 3 weeks. It’s a bit of an issue, yet I’m used to those prices enough for them to seem normal, but I still prefer to get a new title to play than a new amiibo and I only have 6 of my own (including the Mega Yoshi.. I need no food). I see myself expanding my collection, but very, very slowly. Very, very, very slowly.

  6. As someone who collects Animie figures I actually like them. Even though I rarely use them for my 3ds or switch they are nice to have. I have always been a Nintendo fan and it’s neat to have an iconic figure than doubles as a function in a game. There is always the off chance that Nintendo might make a game that unlocks a really exclusive item in the future with and old Amiibo.

  7. I made sure I had all the Animal Crossing Amiibos. Little tokens for the countless hours spent in all the games I got in the series. Look at them every day

  8. Alberto Cruz on May 2, 2019 at 1:16 pm said

    I like amibos, tho I don’t collect them. They make more sense to me than Vynil Pops since they also have a function beyond being pretty. And they lived longer than their competitor (Disney and Skylanders).

  9. sootythunder on June 7, 2019 at 9:40 pm said

    for the most part no, with the exception of fire emblem characters, i have every fire emblem amiibo, Marth, Ike, Roy, Robin, Lucina, Corrin (male and Female), Celica and Alm from the fire emblem shadow of valentia game, and Tiki and chrom from the fire emblem warriors game

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