It's telling that, as Disney Infinity and Skylander toys pack shelves, Nintendo's amiibo figure range is often thin on the ground, with some models being particularly hard to find. It's a credit to Nintendo's new product that it's selling in such numbers and creating terrific demand, while at the same time there's obvious frustration at the limits of stock throughout different territories.
It's also extraordinary that, merely 2-3 weeks into the range's life, there have already been rumours and retailer comments around some figures — examples cited include Villager, Marth and Wii Fit Trainer — being discontinued following initial stock selling out; we've seen prices spike, as a result. Nintendo initially came out in denial of this, before subsequently admitting that some amiibo may be discontinued to free up shelf space for new additions and the most popular characters.
Most of these statements in recent days have been from Nintendo of America, but limited stock and high prices remain an issue in Europe too; Nintendo of Europe has now provided its own statement — to MCV — on the issue.
Nintendo of Europe would like to confirm that supplies of Amiibo are currently available in the European market. Amiibo have been very popular at launch and as such it's always possible that a few retailers may have sold out. We are continually aiming to always have a regular supply of Amiibo brought into the marketplace and there are many waves of Amiibo to come.
Rather like the official statements from Nintendo of America, this says very little at all. The problem is that Nintendo continues to back away from explicitly detailing which figures have more stock pending, and which are quietly being phased out. Let's not forget that 'wave 2' of amiibo arrives in a matter of days, while pre-orders are already open for the early 2015 'wave 3' in multiple territories.
Unfortunately, Nintendo's recent statements have said very little to clarify the issue. It was stated months ago that some figures would naturally disappear over time to allow for new stock to take their place, but we suspect that few envisioned the potential window of availability would potentially be so short. The more Nintendo neglects to give specifics, the more doubts it raises — if we knew which figures have plenty of stock, and which are to be rarer and lower in number, there could be less frustration and more understanding.
As it is, Nintendo is yet to paint a clear picture, so gamers are left to track the amiibo they want the most and simply hope that they can find them in stock at a sensible price.