The life of an amiibo collector isn't easy - getting some of the figures is simple enough, especially if you're not picky, but when it comes down to grabbing specific and less common toys the going gets rather tough. Pre-orders sell-out in minutes and can often be left unfulfilled, and restocks take a rather long time - if they come at all.
Nintendo, of course, is aware of this, and the topic came up when Nintendo UK head of consumer marketing, James Honeywell, spoke to MCV about the toys-to-life market and the place of amiibo within it. Unsurprisingly, he talked of being caught off guard by the scale of their success.
Right from the outset we hoped that amiibo would be strong, but even our expectations have been smashed. With a unique line-up of iconic characters that are loved by so many people, it really has been unprecedented.
We hope to do a better job of satisfying these needs in the future with more stock, and, while there are always going to be some times when we can't on certain characters, I suspect that is also part of the appeal.
What we hadn't anticipated was the number of collectors wanting to get them all – this has seen demand exceed supply in some areas. Although, if you search around, you can still find some of the more hard-to-find Amiibo sitting on shelves.
The proof will be on store shelves, ultimately, as assurances like this have been made frequently over recent months.
Honeywell did go on to make an interesting observation about the core audience for the toys - there are a lot of grown-ups (including this writer) rolling back the years to pick up a variety of amiibo.
From what we've seen the core audience for amiibo at the moment are our older fanbase who have the love and disposable income to get in first, but increasingly with the launch of new amiibo compatible titles like Mario Party 10 with the Super Mario Classic range and upcoming titles like Splatoon, we are now starting to see younger fans buying into the unique gaming experiences on offer. We hope this will continue to grow throughout the year and will culminate at peak with lots of kids asking for their own amiibo. They really are the perfect stocking-fillers.
On the topic of competition this Holiday season - with Skylanders, Disney Infinity and LEGO Dimensions all bringing their specific ranges (or extensions of those ranges) to shelves - Honeywell was optimistic that there'll be room for all of the offerings.
Competition always helps grow desire for new products categories and I'm sure that having amazing new products from LEGO and existing offerings will do so again. I'm sure it will give our retail partners some headaches in trying to find enough space on shelf but they are very experienced in this sort of thing, so it should be a bumper Christmas.
Are you optimistic for amiibo's fortunes this coming year, and do you thing that there is a sizeable older audience grabbing these toys? Let us know in the comments.
Thanks to Benson for the heads up.