Amiibo: nice if you can get them

I’ve recently been playing through Xenoblade Chronicles for the first time, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it (well, apart from a few minor niggles, but more on that in a later post). After spending so much time in the company of Shulk and his mates, I began thinking how great it would be to have a Shulk amiibo to put next to Marth, Ike and Link on the mantelpiece. But of course, actually obtaining a Shulk amiibo is easier said than done.

The Shulk amiibo - nice if you can get it.
The Shulk amiibo – nice if you can get it.

Amiibo Shulk has been sold out in every single UK store for some time, and the only way to obtain it is through resellers on Amazon, eBay or similar sites, where it currently goes for around £40 or more. Importing the figure from Japan is slightly cheaper, but it still costs a lot more than the figure’s £10.99 RRP. For a while I seriously considered importing one myself, but even in my throes of mindless fandom, I still couldn’t justify the cost.

I’m sure there are many, many people like myself who actually wouldn’t mind one or two more amiibos of their favourite characters but just can’t get hold of them for a reasonable price. And now, as people cotton on to the fact that their only chance of getting hold of certain amiibos is to preorder them before they come out, the shortages are getting worse. I preordered Robin and Lucina to complete my Fire Emblem set back in February, and it’s a good thing I did – both have been ‘sold out’ for months, even though they won’t be released until the end of April.

If anything, the situation is even worse in America, where amiibo supplies have far, far outstripped demand. This fascinating Wired article sets out the situation over there, warning that the amiibo bubble could catastrophically burst if Nintendo doesn’t do something to deflate it, mostly by creating more stock and ensuring steady supply. This expletive-ridden Gamesradar article gives an idea of the intense frustration that amiibo collectors in the States face every time a new wave is announced.

Yep, I'll take all of these, please. Here, just take my wallet.
Yep, I’ll take all of these, please. Here, just take my wallet.

And speaking of new amiibo waves, there are a couple that caught my eye in the latest Nintendo Direct, not least the utterly adorable Yarn Yoshi amiibo (made of real yarn!) and the Captain Olimar figurine (anything to do with Pikmin is a guaranteed purchase from me). But already I’m stressing out about obtaining these two figures. If previous experience is anything to go by, to stand any chance of getting them I’ll have to check the usual retail sites every day and make a pre-order as soon as possible. Yet these figures aren’t even ‘special editions’! Just thinking about it all is giving me amiibo fatigue…

I hope Nintendo can start manufacturing these things in decent quantities, otherwise many dedicated customers – me included – are going to start giving up on collecting them. Not only that, I’d like to see some better uses for them in games – surely there must be some dedicated amiibo software around the corner? I’m guessing something like Skylanders Trap Team, where the figures are essential to the game. Although of course there’s no point in releasing something like that if the amiibos themselves are impossible to come by…

But enough of this whinging, I’m going to finish with a pic of my newly arrived Toad amiibo. Doesn’t he look happy?

At least Toad's happy.
At least he can smile about all this.

8 Comments

  1. I think people need to take a closer look at the toy industry to see why Nintendo is restricting supply. You’ve taken a rational look at the uses for the amiibo, but I’m not sure ‘utility’ is the major driving factor for people buying these things, and until function is the major driver of preference Nintendo will keep treating them as collectibles. And limited runs are a huge driver of that market.

    1. I agree – limited runs are part and parcel of the collectors’ market. But usually these are for special editions of certain rare items – here we have the situation where almost all amiibos (except for Mario and a few others) are almost impossible to buy. Surely that means Nintendo is missing out on a huge chunk of sales?

      1. Maybe, but have you seen how many of those not-so-limited amiibo are sitting on store shelves? I would suggest they are familiar enough with their supply chain to have a pretty good idea on demand. I know the man-children crying on the internet have incredibly touching stories to tell about missing out on some rando bloody Earthbound character, but honestly how ‘mass market’ is that character? Same goes for Fire Emblem. Sure demand may outstrip demand, but by how much? By the looks of relatively modest eBay prices when compared to the initial scarcity of the first wave, I’d suggest not by much.

        But then again, i don’t care either way 🙂

  2. Now you say that, but I’ve seen you eyeing up that Wario amiibo…

    Anyway, from what I’ve heard, these things are still fairly easy to find in Oz, whereas they’re pretty scarce in shops in the UK. And from the sounds of it, there’s a positive amiibo drought in the US.

    1. I do love wario! Shame there are no other warioware characters though, or even some alternate Warios from the Warioland games. But even then I’d rather they come in some other form.

  3. Yarn Yoshi probably won’t share the same peg/shelf space with the other Amiibo, so they might actually be easier to find than most of the rest.

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