I was planning on writing this article a couple of weeks ago because we had almost no knowledge of new Amiibo releases and questions from Nintendo fans about the future of Amiibo were creeping in. Had Amiibo lost their luster and were no longer selling well? Did Nintendo have a clear vision for Amiibo going forward? That got me thinking, what can Nintendo do to lure in new fans and bring some fresh ideas that will keep current collectors hooked? I have a few suggestions for Nintendo that I thought I would share with you and I hope you’ll consider sharing your thoughts with the community in the comments down below.
Keep Finding Reasons to Use Amiibo – This is my big suggestion to Nintendo for both casual and hardcore fans. Amiibo’s coolest idea is that they unlock or can be used in games in fun ways. I don’t think a lot of games have used Amiibo in such a way thus far but Nintendo should not give up on this. I have enjoyed unlocking Pixel Toad mode in Captain Toad, getting skins in different games including Mario Maker and Yoshi’s Woolly World, and that is nearly it. I have seen and heard people talking about how much they’re scanning the Zelda Amiibo in Breath of the Wild and that is great. I think that could be a big reason why those Amiibo sold so well at release and Nintendo has to keep delivering these kinds of uses for them. Getting Amiibo to unlock something in your favorite game is cool and it causes lapsed or new collectors to get into the figures. If Nintendo can find ways like this to get people excited, Amiibo will be around for years to come.
Embrace the Obscure – One of the things that surprises me is how safe Nintendo has played recent releases in terms of famous characters. While I don’t expect them to start releasing Pilotwings Amiibo or a Mario Paint series, there is absolutely no reason to shy away from characters and enemies in popular series that fans love. Mario enemies (with a few exceptions like Bowser, Bowser Jr., and Boo) have gotten no love from Amiibo and I guarantee you Mario fans like myself would snap them up in a heartbeat! Zelda is pretty much the same way. A Tingle Amiibo, for example, would sell. People would make fun of it and the character but I know it would sell well. Especially if it is released in limited numbers. Nintendo collectors like myself are diehard. We know all the characters and we want them in figure form. So long as Nintendo doesn’t overdo it like with Animal Crossing Amiibo, these kinds of “obscure” Amiibo will sell.
Rarity and Variants Can Work – I know this is not a new idea from me and I know why Nintendo is reluctant to release rare Amiibo anymore. Many consumers complained when Amiibo first came out because some figures were incredibly hard to get and that caused Nintendo bad PR and hurt some fans’ feelings. All of that is fair, however, World of Nintendo figures have become popular among Amiibo fans because there is the thrill of the hunt and some rarity unlike most Amiibo releases. Nintendo cannot and should not start making many figures rare and they should not make any that have desirable functionality in games rare. However, making rare variants (like Gold and Silver Mario for example) that diehard collectors might want is a great idea to keep the diehard fanbase happy. We want a challenge and if we don’t get one from Amiibo, some might lose their interest in it. For this reason, Nintendo shouldn’t shy away from giving us something even if in very limited amounts that excites collectors and gives us something to chase.
Rethink or Retire the Cards – The one idea I think Nintendo has botched with Amiibo are the cards. The Animal Crossing ones sold pretty well and were popular with fans of that game but since then all we have seen are the Mario Sports cards and there is zero buzz about them. I’ve mostly hard complaints that they weren’t fun to collect and had poor design and/or images. The cards were originally sold to fans as a way to “reprint” rare Amiibo which actually ended up just getting reprinted. Personally, I think cards could be awesome to collect but they have to look good and make fans want them. Remember how cool Pokemon cards looked when they came out? What if Nintendo had foil versions of Amiibo cards? They would not only look awesome but probably be instantly more collectible. There is potential with Amiibo cards but Nintendo has to make us want them and they have to be a more attractive product than they have been thus far. If they cannot do this, then I would recommend retiring these from Amiibo.
These are just my thoughts and suggestions for Nintendo. Amiibo is still doing fairly well and I don’t think it needs any radical changes to continue to be successful. With that said, there is always room for improvement and I hope that Nintendo will consider my ideas (as well as yours). What do you want to see from Amiibo next?