Nintendo's toys-to-life concept - amiibo - has been a runaway success, with over 10 million figures being shipped worldwide and demand remaining robust throughout 2015. However, many collectors are beginning to question Nintendo's approach to amiibo, with every figure seemingly subject to crippling shortages and rising prices on the secondary market.
Speaking to investors at the recent Financial Results Briefing, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata at first recognised the incredible popularity of the amiibo range, outlining the tremendous commercial success it has enjoyed in its first year on sale:
We launched a new product category – amiibo – simultaneously with "Super Smash Bros for Wii U," and the end of the subject fiscal term marked a total shipment of approximately 10.5 million units worldwide. As we had shipped approximately 5.7 million units by the end of calendar year 2014, it is safe to say that we achieved very strong growth even in the period immediately after the year-end sales season was over. Our assessment is that people purchase additional amiibo figures without any seasonal bias, as they are relatively more affordable than video game titles.
He then tackled the real elephant in the room - amiibo shortages:
Our consumers have been inconvenienced by stock shortages on some of the figures in our amiibo lineup. We have increased production for amiibo figures that have sold out very quickly after launch, that are indispensable to play a certain game and for which we have received strong demand from retailers and consumers. However, we are very sorry that we can't promise at what point we will likely be able to resolve the current situation because figures such as these require a considerable amount of time to produce, store shelf space is limited and it is difficult to precisely predict the exact amount of overall demand.
Such comments might not reassure amiibo collectors, but Iwata's believes that as the range becomes even more popular, Nintendo will be in a position to anticipate increased demand and raise production accordingly:
On the other hand, the number of software titles compatible with amiibo is increasing and consumers' recognition and understanding for amiibo has improved significantly compared to the launch period, so we believe that we can predict further sales growth.
In the short term however, it would appear that there is no end in sight when it comes to annoying amiibo stock issues - but on the other hand, this success is a good indication that Nintendo has pinpointed a very profitable sector of the entertainment industry.
Nintendo doesn't know when amiibo will be restocked, but don't you worry scalpers, you will be able to buy them in bulk and resell them on ebay for 4 to 5x the cost.
@Damo Nintendo has announced the release dates for the remaining two known amiibo waves. https://twitter.com/NintendoUK/status/598110486006243328
66% shipped in North America and there are still shortages. And some or half of those shipped in Japan and Europe are being exported to NA as well. There's something wrong. Are they sabotaging Nintendo? Or just the problem with scalpers?
Anyway, I can't believe ShopTo UK is charging 20£ for amiibos while they are only 13$ in the US.
Translastion: "Store space is limited because we insist on having hooks upon hooks of Mario and Peach and other ones that everyone is getting tired of seeing and no one wants.
And we just ordered more production of a bunch of amiibo that everyone already has, but few of the ones people really want."
No one could have predicted the runaway success of the original Wii either. Best of luck Nintendo.
I say this on every amiibo story and I'll say it again. Toys aren't as easy to manufacture as games, of course there gonna stick primarily to characters who appeal to everyone like Mario and Pikachu. On top of that, and again I say this every story, but Skylanders had the same issue from launch day until Giants came out. That was a full year, so as such amiibo will most likely have the same stock issues until next November, be patient.
Oh this is going to end well.thanks Big N no thanks Obama!
Limiting the number of each amiibo purchase would be a good start. Say you want to buy a Super Smash Bros. Luigi amiibo, you can only buy only one unit of that amiibo.
Understandable. If it was just gamers and collectors it would be more predictable since they get the ones they like and buy only 1-2 of a kind, but with scalpers in the mix, they can toy around with those demands by buying out a store's supply and making it look rare. Like they did with Diddy Kong, Toon Link, Sheik Sonic, and other when they first came out.
Aren't those release dates are indicated in the Nintendo website since last month/early May?
"store shelf space is limited"
No, it isn't, plenty of stores have plenty of empty hooks in the amiibo areas. There is plenty of room for more amiibo.
"it is difficult to precisely predict the exact amount of overall demand"
Gee, if only there was some way were people could tell you in advance how many people wanted to buy something. We could call it "pre-order" and people would even pay you for the product months before you gave it to them. Wouldn't that be a great idea?
The situation is going to remedy itself - people are going to stop buying them. Parents won't care, they won't let their kids care. When they do finally make it to store shelves people won't buy them b/c they will have given up.
And Lego Dimensions is coming. NFC isn't dead yet.
@outburst I spoke with a ShopTo.net Customer Representative named Daniel Perry about the odd amiibo prices and that the new boxes that they ship them in don't make a difference as I received a damaged Ness amiibo.
Here is the the important section of the Live Chat summary.
Dan says At 17:52:13:
Nintendo have been made aware of stock issues, information can be
Dan says At 17:52:55:
We are looking at emailing customers to confirm that there
pre-orders are allocated with Nintendo, but this will be nearer the release
Jason Burrows says At 17:53:12:
I see this quote on that page and I do not agree.
Jason Burrows says At 17:53:25:
"We remain committed to keeping amiibo affordable and easy to access
as a platform to enhance game-play experiences.”
Jason Burrows says At 17:53:33:
ShopTo = £20 each?
Jason Burrows says At 17:53:41:
It is £10.99 officially.
Jason Burrows says At 17:54:18:
The so-called new boxes do not make a difference as I received my
last amiibo Ness from ShopTo in the "new" boxes and it arrived damaged.
Dan says At 17:54:53:
Unfortunately this is the price we require to receive for the product
Jason Burrows says At 17:55:05:
Obviously it is not you guys as you are just the reps of the site
that deal with customers and I have respect for you all.
Jason Burrows says At 17:55:41:
The only issue with those prices is that people are going to just
move to GAME.co.uk for amiibo at £14.99 each.
Dan says At 17:55:57:
Thank you, all feedback regarding price, items, etc. get passed over
to the relevant team. So we thank you for your feedback.
Jason Burrows says At 17:56:43:
GAME were supposed to be the expensive ones that no one likes, I
would not want ShopTo to be disliked.
Jason Burrows says At 17:57:15:
I like everything about ShopTo. I had my doubts originally, but I
placed an order back when I started and I have never regretted it.
Dan says At 17:57:41:
I'm glad to hear that you have enjoyed our service and hope to
provide you with many items in the future
Jason Burrows says At 17:57:53:
ShopTo are currently £4.86 more expensive than GAME.co.uk.
Dan says At 17:58:41:
Unfortunately it does not look the price will drop, very sorry
@ASonic3582 True True. Even with the Giants expansion (back when I used to play), it was hard finding certain Skylanders like the alt. colors and Ninjini to remember a few. Minus product recognition, very similar to amiibo.
At least they aren't making claims they can't support, like it'll be fixed in a month or something. I do wish that, if they plan to make more of some, they would let us pre-order them before they're produced, guaranteeing a spot. I know that's usually not done for something this inexpensive, but the demand is certainly there. Make it non-refundable just to be sure.
"Yes, we'll restock."
//restocks garbage commons like Mario and MP Bowser endlessly//
Oh no nintendo. There's plenty of room on shelves. I see tons and tons of unwanted toon links, bowsers, Mario's, luigis and peaches. You wanna no why they continue to stay on shelves? Because you make too much and we already have those figures!
@rjejr Basing demand on preorders would be useless, as the manufacturing contracts have to be in place months, if not at least a year, in advance, and nobody preorders that early. Further, despite what you might think, the majority of sales don't go to the vocal minority you see here who do preorder, but to consumers who just buy what is available and don't even realize preorders are possible.
Retailer are actually starting to do that. The Marth restock has hit Amazon, and they've been releasing a dozen at a time every hour randomly for the past week. I scored one this morning. But it's a one per account limit, so I can't just order another tomorrow.
Only retailers failing to implement limits now are Target and Walmart. Target inventory states Silver Mario will be as common as PAC Man though, so that's a good start.
Exactly why they limit lesser known characters. They are even easier to overproduce.
I did purchase 3 more amiibos in the last week, 2 of them are preorders and one is already out.
The 2 preorders are for Splatoon amiibos from Amazon (which are also £14.99 each) and the other was for Kirby to compliment the recent Kirby game.
I did notice the extremely high retail price for amiibos on Shopto before going to Amazon, Shopto would have had my business had they not been obviously trying to rip me off (£19.85 seriously!), it's not like it was just for the newer amiibos either, it was for most of the ones that had been out for ages aswell.
I have to rely on online retailers for amiibos sadly and I think Shopto is taking advantage there just as much as GAME are. I've only ever seen amiibos in the shops once a few months ago and that was at Tesco and even then they were Wave 1 Smash amiibos (luckily I did see Wii Fit Trainer and Marth which I instantly bought)
@rjejr I'd image they mean shelf space relative to the shelf space their contemporaries receive. It may be different out east, but here in midwest it's maybe 15-20 hooks or 2 smaller shelves underneath the amiibo demo. Of course those are filled with commons like Mario, but it all goes back @ASonic3582 explanation.
Why doesn't Nintendo create an online amiibo store where we can start preordering them? Then based on the amount of preorders, that's how many they set the machines to make? There has to be some solution to figuring out the demand for these things.
@PanurgeJr - "the majority of sales don't go to the vocal minority you see here who do preorder, but to consumers who just buy what is available and don't even realize preorders are possible."
That is kind of my point, if the MAJORITY of sales go to random consumers, and Nitneo can't even make enough to fulfill it's pre-orders to the MINORITY who shop that way, then that should be a HUGE warning sign to them. "Hey, we aren't even making enough to fulfill pre-orders, maybe we should be making a whole lot more for the MAJORITY of people who like to shop w/o pre-ordering."
And these things have been on sale now for at least 6 months, and since they are coming out in waves my guess is they ave not been produced a year in advance, maybe 3 months, so for the last wave or 2 they should have known to make many more. Instead they remade Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi and Bowser in SMP poses, a huge waste of manufacturing.
That makes way too much sense. Why do that when you can do things the hard way!
@ultraraichu - "Ninjini"
Ninjini was hard to find b/c Activision has this nasty habit of slowly releasing their toys over time w/o telling anybody that is what they are doing. My kids have been collecting them since the 1st game and they still haven't been able to find one of the newer Trap Team toys - ShortCut - which I'm not sure if they have released it yet. So it took a few years, but my kids finally figured out if they aren't on store shelves, they might not have been released yet.
Nintendo has the same "Wave" approach that Activision does, but Activision seems to make a lot more of it's figures on store shelves than Ntiendo does.
The day Meta Knight and Dedede came out they didn't even have enough to sell outside of pre-orders...same with Ness, Lucina, Robin and Pac-Man.
It makes me so friggin mad I could spit on Iwata.
Wait..I'm not done flipping out: I actually like using amiibo in Smash but how the f*** am I going to get a Villager and Marth without spending 109 euros each? Its so frustrating!
I am a calm and non-violent person but amiibo make me want to friggin strangle Iwata and co.
I know these things take time, but they need to speed up, since some figures never even got on shelves is very obvious how many potential customers there are out there still with the money in the wallet.
Plus I think the lack of stock is damaging the brand, one of the main electronic stores in Italy already gave up on amiibo two waves ago, no more restocking and the few they already have are scattered around the WiiU games instead than have an "amiibo" area.
It's a shame to see nintendo having a product with such high demand and keeping the stock so low, at this rate amiibo will fail and dissapper from stores despite being a very succesful product (which is REALLY ridicoulus ^_^; ).
I do wonder if I'll be able to get the Splatoon amiibo 3-pack at some point.
Sell the damn things on Nintendo's online store. No concern over shelf space there.
It's not. Just listen to your fans. Pretty simple....
Nintendo needs to take a lesson from Wizards of the Coast to see how they kept up with demand while successfully deflating the Magic bubble without bursting it.
sigh, weill, I'll try to preorder a Splatoon 3 pack, but I'm not holding my breath Amazon won't have to dump it.
I just want Shulk...
Nintendo are returning to their old ways of the 90s - limiting stock to raise prices and demand.
Just waiting for the cards, hopefully they will be easier to mass produce so getting game content won't be so bad.
Lol, Nintendo hasn't even been able to handle the current lineup of figures, how are they gonna be able to do it with there are twice as many figures out there. They haven't changed anything since this began and it has totally turned me off of Amiibo all together. Nintendo's incompetence has sucked all the fun out of it. And I can only hope that people stop buying them to send a message to the big N, of course that will never happen.
This will not remedy anything. No matter how many they make, most people will still not be able to get their hands on them. As soon as they pop-up they will be snatched by anyone looking for them (especially scalpers) even if that person already has that Amiibo and wasn't even looking for it. They need to move ahead with the card forms they have mentioned and sell them on their site and in stores. Then collectors can still have a chance to pick up the toy version if they are able to find one, and those that what to take advantage of the utilization in-game can still do so. I would love to be able to get a Toad Amiibo so that I can get some more replayability out of my Captain Toad game. But I WILL NOT pay $25+ for one.
@BLPs It's not that retailers won't stock Wave 3/4 in the UK. It's that they CAN'T.
GAME, Smyths and ARGOS sell out too quickly for the demand. You can still find Mario Party amiibo in the odd TESCO, if you happen to live near a TESCO that even stocks Nintendo any more.
@rjejr You're correct. The Amiibo situation is terrible and Nintendo wants to blame everything, but themselves when they need to quit making excuses and just fix the problem!!!
@AyeHaley saying you're going to assault an ageing Japanese President over shortages of a plastic toy is really laughable so, thanks; it gave me a laugh.
In all seriousness, it's a new thing for them. There's nothing they can do at the moment about production numbers and stock shortages but the silver lining to this particularly large grey cloud is that figures are getting what we presume are second runs and re-releases so be patient - you'll get the figures you want eventually. Plus the only thing driving the ridiculous secondary market prices is the popularity of these things. People want them because they can't get them. Look at what happened to Beanie Babies. The market will drop out of these things eventually and they'll be so easy to get for a cheap price. If the figures are available everywhere they become valueless. It's simple economics - supply and demand. Nintendo refusing to buckle to the demand is driving sales of these things. And they produce enough to make the excersise profitable. It would be like quantitive easing if they're hanging on the shelves of every toy store, or in the bargain bin, and retailers would never again trust nintendo on a similar venture in the future.
@Captain_Gonru - "Why not just make an "amiibo" line and be done with it?"
Yeah, it's even more weird in light of their saying amiibo would work in more than 1 game, implying - if not directly saying - amiibo were better than other NFC toys like Skylanders and Disney Infinity which could only work in 1 game.
If they are making a series of toys that can work in more than 1 game, why associate them to 1 game, it's the opposite of what they said? Of course the obvious answer is to make more money as people buy 2 of each character, even though to play they only need 1 (old Yoshi work the same as new yarn Yoshi in Wooly World), well unless you actually want to keep your save file, then you need more than 1, but it's costing them money as people can't find the characters they want and those ugly Princess Peach line store shelves.
amiibo - that's it. Though I do like Yarn Yoshi, and silver adn godl Mario, but they coudl still all just be called amiibo b/c they are variants and they don't need ot be attached to a game. B/c attaching them to a game means now they have "squidlings" which are obviously geared towards Splatoon, which makes them look just like Disney Infinity and Skylanders characters to me. Squid aren't amiibo anymore, they are game specific toys.
Oh well, guess it's hard to discuss amiibo for me w/o bringing up their other shortcomings. I'll probably even buy squidling amiibo if I can find them, but I don't even see them as amiibo, I just see them as really cute squid toys that I'm buying instead of really ugly DI Star Wars toys. Still waiting on Skylanders.
So in other words... the prices of Amiibos that aren't incredibly common are just going to keep going up for an eternity?
I seriously hope I can snatch a pre-order of the Lucas Amiibo and then I'm finished with this tripe-fest that is Nintendo's handling of Amiibos.
Some factory in China is churning out these little plastic doodads as fast as they possibly can. These have been selling faster than the PS4. Have a bit of patience.
Oh. The online retailers here have already getting greedy themselves. One is selling (in stock) Ness amiibo for 70€.
Fit Trainer and Marth can be found at 40€
ANd I agree, if everything is sold out, there is damn well space in shelves
I have one order in 3/4 of amiibos is reserved, waiting for Robin and all they know is "28 days". Maybe.
Damn it if my Splatoon is held back because Jiggypuff is in same order.
Also my MetaKnight/Shulk order is somewhere with N/A
@Captain_Gonru - I'm guessing those mass produced in China for 8 cents each colored yarn Yoshi don't know there are different color yarns. I'll be very impressed if they do. I think gold and silver Mario know they are gold and silver b/c they were made that way, released at separate times. It might be possible the yarn Yoshi know they are yarn Yoshi as opposed to SSB and SMB Yoshi, but I can't imagine they know what color they are. I'm not even sure if they've ever even been on sale in the US yet. Have they? Does the SMB line of amiibo know they aren't the SSB line? (You'd think by now I would know the answer to that rather simple question, but I don't.)
@ottospooky NPR talked about that. It's worth listening too and how Magic: The Gathering was able to avoid the bubble busting. http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2015/03/11/392381112/episode-609-the-curse-of-the-black-lotus
I am unable to promise when I will ever buy an amiibo again. With Disney Infinity 3.0 coming later this year, I'm certain I won't be buying another amiibo as all of my "toys to life" money and time will be going to that.
@CosmoXY Plus MOTUC by the look of your profile picture
Yes! Just managed to pre-order the Splatoon Amiibo 3-Pack from Best Buy Canada. Really hope it doesn't get cancelled.
@ottospooky Haha yes! And those things are not cheap!
there should be an amiibo store.
You know, it only sells amiibos, so store shelf wont be an issue, where you can dedicate an entire store for it
While demand can be difficult to predict (and hence, how much to supply), one potential solution is for Nintendo to setup their own online shop for amiibo. This will limit the amount a household can get (and hence, limit scalping). If they set up pre-ordering, they can know a good estimate of the minimum amount to create (as anyone who really wants it, will preorder), then some other base amount per store or based on a character's projected popularity.
The supply may still be a process that takes time, but then at least those who really want a specific amiibo will be guaranteed one.
The whole amiibo situation really has left a rotten taste in my mouth, and has completelu put me off buying any more. This agnostic attitude is going to extend across the board except the most enthusiastic Nintendo fans and collectors.
At the end of the day, it's just amazing how popular these amiibo are for Nintendo. There are plenty of amiibo to be found, of course some are sold out, and it's frustrating, really frustrating to me too, but it just means that Nintendo was successful. amiibo sold in millions, more than the Wii U itself , and showed how popular and strong the Nintendo brand is. Really positive thing from this generation.
I stopped buying amiibo since February. I was able to get a few exclusives, but if what are supposed to be normal release amiibos become rarer than the exclusives something is wrong. I have yet to believe anything above wave 3 has actually been released since they are seen everywhere as unavailable.
I'll either buy them when they become available or 20 years from now when they don't matter. But right now, my sights have become set on LEGO dimensions, something that will be more worthwhile to collect and use.
Oh c'mon, I just wanted Pac-Man!!
You do know that some cheap parent is probably buying these things like dolls for their children to play with. Most likely do not even own an Wii, and just have it around like action figures. Whooppssyy
@DeltaPeng Problem: Nintendo's servers are utter trash when it comes to this. Look no further than everyone clamping down on Club Nintendo's bandwidth. Heck, even when it wasn't being discontinued, logging in took far longer than it should.
At this point I've just given up on wave 4.
I'm still hoping they'll re-release certain waves of low-production amiibo, but I'm not expecting it to happen until the initially planned waves are complete.
"It is difficult to precisely predict the exact amount of overall demand"
Ugh... Really? Just start with "a lot" and go up from there, Nintendo.
I think it's all a marketing ploy. Make a few of each figure, demand outstrips supply and they become desirable simply because of their rarity. Release new waves, people think that they better buy them quick or they might not get the chance, so actual sales are increased opposed to what they might be if people thought they could just pick one up anytime. Remember it's the ones that everyone can have that are still available. These figures don't do much, except in Smash and then you only need one. Build hype and make them "collectible" and people think they need more. It's a thinly-veiled scam, folks!
Hey, you, I can see you sitting there stroking your Little Mac and whispering, "my precious!"
More stock in EU of some previous waves available 17th June. That's EU!! US and Canada, you already get 60% of the worldwide units shipped!
Putting my Nintendo fanboyism aside, I would hardly say that supply of plastic toys failing to meet demand constitutes as a "nightmare"
"It is difficult to precisely predict the exact amount of overall demand"
Really, lets put it this way: Freaking huge !
No idea what Amiibos might be in higher demand ? Get an intern to scout Amazon and Ebay for half an hour and you get a pretty good idea what figures might be low on stock.
108€ for Shulk ? Yeah, i think that one might be on the rare side.
And guess what Ninty, thats money you wont earn.
This whole fiasco lead many people i know to abandon their Amiibo collection entirely. Remember this minigame you patched into Captain Toad ? Yeah, couldnt play it, Toad Amiibos never showed up around here.
Or the Amiibo specific challenges in Splatoon ? Im pretty sure most people wont see half of them.
Demand is high, thats all you need to know at this point. If people are willing to pay up to 100 bucks and beyond for your figures, i guess you could say they are willing to pay roughly 15 bucks if you put them on the shelfes again.
You know, i defend Nintendo whenever i can, but they are treating this situation as if it were rocketscience...
@alexntb It is, as those figures are getting more and more use in games. Like i said above, Splatoon wil get specific challenges per Amiibo, which unlocks specific gear and minigames.
For a completionist, its more then a nightmare.
Not to mention that this could even drive people away from the game, if they know they might not be able to get everything the game has to offer (worst case scenario)
If they were purely decorative items, sure, its a collectors problem, not really theirs. But they are also used as some form of "physical DLC" so to speak, and that ist good at all.
I'm very sick of Nintendo's lies on this matter. I have stopped purchasing Amiibo and will be selling what I own. They overplayed their artificial shortage hand once too often.
Here is my professional research results for consumer demand: it is high. Give us enough so that we can see them on store shelves, and we will buy them.
It is annoying that I have a Captain Falcon place holder in MK8 that I can't unlock and I refuse to buy amiibo on the secondary market.
Pre-orders are pretty good way of determining demand.
herp a derp
@Captain_Gonru - "logical"
What would be logical would be a Yoshi Wooly World release date for the US. I'm not a complete idiot, I understand games release at different times for different reasons, but we don't even have a date. I'm not even sure if the yarn Yoshi have gone on sale in the US yet. Sale as in pre-order, I'm not expecting them to be available since we don't even have a game date yet.
I would like to see Splatoon amiibo on store shelves before that game launches so I can get an idea if I can get them or not. As @Einherjar explained, amiibo haven't done much in some games, Captain Toad for example, and I'd say Kirby didn't offer much more either, but Splatoon locks away 60 missions - locks away, not "unlocks", b/c we need the amibo to unlock them, and if we can't find them they are indeed locked - plus harder missions if we beat those. That seems like a large chunk of the game we need amiibo for, not just MK8 costumes. So having them on store shelves and retail websites not named eBay before the game launches, maybe even Tues May 26th, would give people a chance to pick them up. And if they are all sold out before the game comes out on Friday, then maybe I won't buy it.
@Captain_Gonru - "deep down, they wish they'd just done DLC and been done with it."
Deep done they probably wished they had made more, they're making money on every one and losing money by not having enough of some of them and too many Mario, Peach and Luigi.
It is a difficult balance, and I can't blame them for under producing at the start, but they should have it figured out better by now. And going forward.
Splatoon to me really is tightrope walking the line though, the figures do seem necessary to get the complete game, but they aren't necessary for the online which is the main part of the game. I do think that they come across as necessary enough that they will lose some sales from people who don't like the idea of locked content costing an additional $35, and then lose some more sales from people who want those amiibo but can't find them. They may need to offer those missions for $5 as DLC if the stock situation is bad and sales are slow.
Creating a great product and not producing enough is a great business move. Imagine all the people day dreaming about Amiibos now. http://5starblog.com/?s=nintendo
@Captain_Gonru - Despite my onslaught of constant negativity I'd like to see them, and the game, do well also. I'd just like to be able to get the game for $40 instead of $60 like the rest of the world, or $60 w/ the squid amiibo in the box like the UK (40 pounds). Or better yet $75 for the game and all 3 Splatoon amiibo in 1 box, which has been the going price and practice for Disney Infinity and Skylanders the past 4 years.
But I do hope it sells well, and I hope I find a good deal, and I hope the online is robust and functional and full of people, and Nintnedo gets out all of that late to the party DLC and other game functionality. There's always hope.
So are they gonna crack the whip on the Chinese or what?
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