I’m a little late to “celebrate” it, but as you have may have heard Amiibos are officially one year old. Amiibo collectors are financially much poorer than a year ago, but have a ton of great figures to show for their efforts. In this article, I want to talk a little bit about how the first year of Amiibos have gone and then what Amiibos should do going forward. These are of course, only my opinions and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
Amiibos launched with a fair amount of skepticism (Nintendo is making Skylanders? Whatever.) but quickly became the hottest thing in video games around this time last year. Part of this was the realization that Marth, Villager, and Wii Fit Trainer weren’t just rare, they were really rare. The rarity continued for a couple of waves and complaints from Amiibo collectors and Nintendo fans grew. After about six months, Nintendo started to address the rarity issue and in spite of a lot of skepticism, they have really improved in that area since then.
In fact, as of now, there are few Amiibos that are truly rare or nearly impossible to get. When I started this site a few months ago, I wasn’t opening any Amiibo because I didn’t want to ruin their value. I have opened six since then and plan on opening more in the future which is a sign of how much things have changed. Amiibo rarity isn’t gone, but with how many rare figures have been reprinted, there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much of a reason to avoid opening figures unless you like the packaging (which I will admit that I do).
Setting rarity aside, we’ve also gotten a ton of Amiibos from Nintendo and in some ways the amount of Amiibos being released may be slowing down and in other ways, they aren’t at all. We’re approaching the end of Smash Brothers Amiibos which there are 60 or so now. We’ve gotten a few small lines like for Mario Party 10 and Yoshi’s Woolly World, but other than Animal Crossing (which they are cranking out quite a few of), there doesn’t seem to be any bigger sets of Amiibos coming. This brings me to what improvements or things Nintendo needs to do with Amiibos in the future.
Quality over Quantity – While Nintendo has never rushed poorly made Amiibos to market and in fact, they’ve improved the quality over time, they need to focus on releasing quality Amiibos that excite collectors with each release. Diehard Amiibo collectors have a ton of them now and we want something new or special with each new Amiibo. For example, we have multiple Link Amiibos so what is Nintendo coming out with? A Twilight Princess one with Wolf Link and Midna. The Yarn Yoshi Amiibo is another great example of an Amiibo where we already had two Yoshi figures and Nintendo created something completely different which has really excited collectors. This is exactly what Nintendo needs to continue to do and while Amiibos have made them a ton of money, they have to be careful not to burn collectors out and to stay innovative which they’ve always been good at.
Increase Functionality – The most important thing Nintendo can do in my opinion is increase the functionality and usefulness of Amiibos in their games. If you’ve been collecting Amiibos for a while, remember dreaming about how much awesome stuff an Amiibo could unlock? Now take a minute and think about what you can actually unlock with any one figure. It is underwhelming. Most Nintendo games only have skins to be unlocked which are nice, but not exciting and nobody could justify buying all of the Amiibos just to get skins for their Mii in Mario Kart or to have every single Yoshi variation in Yoshi’s Woolly World. A better example is the Toad or Splatoon Amiibos which unlock real content in their respective games. Obviously, people will complain if you force them to buy Amiibo to get DLC, but right now, existing collectors are not impressed by what Amiibos can do and I hope that Nintendo works on this.
Rarity and Ending Production of Amiibo – As a diehard collector, I am both happy and sad that Nintendo has basically solved the rarity of Amiibos. It is nice not having to camp out for hours to get an Amiibo anymore and at the same time, I’m a little sad that there aren’t many elite figures to own anymore. I would love to see Nintendo release one or two rare or hard to get Amiibo a year because I love the challenge of hunting them down and if they make a cheaper, less flashy version of the Amiibo, then more casual fans can’t completely. Even though I would like this, I don’t see Nintendo doing it because I think they always view themselves as appealing to all types of people and fans and do not want to cater too heavily to their diehard fans. It never hurts to ask though, right?
My final suggestion is that Nintendo start to phase out some of the common Amiibo that have been littering Toys R Us and Best Buy all over the US. The Mario Party Amiibos are great, but they have been sitting in stores for months and don’t seem to be selling that well. The early and most common Smash Brothers Amiibo are the same way, especially in Toys R US which seems to try to stock as many of them as possible. Most people don’t need or want these any more so it seems like it is time to retire some of them and consider making new versions of these iconic characters. Nobody will complain if retail stores continue to keep these in stock, but at some point, the retailers and Nintendo are only going to be hurting themselves.
Like I said in the introduction, these are just my thoughts and I know that I am a “hardcore” collector of Amiibo and my interests might not be what is best for Nintendo or casual fans of Amiibo. What are your thoughts on Amiibo right now? Anything you would like to see?