The recent investor briefing has brought us a megaton of information on amiibo, including the news that Nintendo will be introducing free software with NES and SNES experiences activated through amiibo. Satoru Iwata also confirmed that a cheaper range of amiibo will be made available this year in the form of cards containing an NFC chip; this pins down previous comments from Shigeru Miyamoto that this was a possibility:
In contrast to the current figure-shaped amiibo available, we will make amiibo in the form of cards this year as one of our future plans as Mr. Miyamoto mentioned at the Corporate Management Policy Briefing in October.
This is exciting news for amiibo fans who have struggled to obtain some of the more collectable figurines; this alternative method of unlocking amiibo content in games will surely also be attractive to those on a tight budget.
It was also revealed that the new amiibo business has been very lucrative for Nintendo, with 5.7 million units shipped worldwide by the end of last year. The demand seems to have surprised the management at Nintendo of Japan, who marvelled at the premium prices which some amiibo had been selling for on a certain popular auction site.
The regional top sales ranking chart of each amiibo figure were also shown. This doesn't perfectly represent the popularity or demand for each character because some amiibo were out-of-stock in some regions, but the regional differences in the sales trends certainly make interesting reading. Clearly Link is a fan-favourite all over the world, except for Australia who obviously have something of a soft spot for the portly plumber.
The chart below showing amiibo figures with a high retail sell-through rate in each region also makes for quite interesting reading. Some of the amiibo listed here are sold out and as a result very difficult to obtain. Iwata-san noted: "It is difficult for us to promise to continuously ship all of the amiibo figures. We will, however, consider additional production in cases such as when an amiibo figure sells out shortly after launch, an amiibo is indispensable to play a certain game, and when we receive a lot of requests for an amiibo figure from consumers and retailers."
Lastly, to round off this overload of amiibo related information, Iwata-san revealed that the big N still plans to release an external NFC reader/writer to enable 3DS owners who haven't yet upgraded to "New Nintendo 3DS" hardware to use amiibo within games such as Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS - this add-on device is now planned for a Summer release.
What do you think of this deluge of amiibo information? Were there any surprises here for you?