By: Wesley Y.
If you follow Nintendo news, you would know the storm that has taken over the Nintendo collecting scene, and that storm is called Amiibo. Amiibos are NFC (Near Field Communication) figures to be used in conjunction with the Wii U and New 3DS to unlock power-ups, costumes, and other things in games. These figures have been flying off the shelves and have become a massive success, which brings us to the big issue of all this. There aren’t enough Amiibos to go around. There is either a large surplus of popular Amiibos or they are so rare that you don’t even get to see them on store shelves, and this problem has only gotten worse since their first release late last year.
Amiibos have sold amazingly well, over 5.7 million sold since the late 2014 November release. It would make sense that they would release more to feed that popularity. But Nintendo has done a poor job in resupplying the stores, sometimes only giving 2 or 3 of an Amiibo to each store begin with. At store price, Amiibos go for about 15$ Canadian, but some of the rarest figures ones can be sold online for 30$, 50$, or even over 100$. People have tried to reserve and pre-order these figures before they are released to get the best possible chance of getting them, but that has become an issue. Luckily for me, I was able reserve some Amiibos that will be released this Friday, but others were not. On the EB Games website, you are supposed to be able to pre-order figures to await, but due to high amounts of demand and traffic, the site crashed in the end, a lot of people could not reserve their Amiibos. This is not only happening with EB Games, other retail locations like Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target have also had this issue.
This shortage could be blamed on a large number of things. One of the most infamous reasons would be the scalpers. Scalpers are people who buy Amiibos (preferably rare ones) and then sell them online for a higher price, sometimes 100% to 200% more expensive. Sometimes these are customers and sometimes they are employees of the company selling the Amiibos keeping them to themselves so they can earn a profit. Some stores have attempted ways to prevent scalping, but it is still far too common. There is also the issue of the chaos that is the West Coast dockworker strike, where dockworkers are making work goes an slow as possible for the entire West coast, making the already short supplied Amiibos have an even bigger problem of trying to find these Amiibos. Though it has more or less winded down, the strike has still created deficiency in Amiibo distribution.
A customer representative at Nintendo, who likely does not speak on behalf of corporate public relations, has said, “Nintendo has no input on when or how retailers sell our products, if or when new products are stocked, or when and how the retailer takes pre-orders.”
I recently spoke to an employee of EB Games and she stated that “Unfortunately, we’re not going to be doing any more for pre-orders for the next wave of Amiibos just because a lot of people are having issues, not being able to reserve the ones they wanted, and we’re not getting the amount of Amiibos that we need.” It seems that the stores themselves are understocked, and the Amiibos that they do need aren’t even going to the where they are needed at right time or in the right amount.
Due to this scarcity, the Amiibo hunt has been just as difficult as was back in 2014, if not more difficult. However, Nintendo has addressed this issue and has formally apologized, even saying that they will rerun some of the rare Amiibos in the future. This figure project has been a rousing for Nintendo, being well received all around, but has been incredibly poorly executed by Nintendo. With a new wave coming in the next few days and as attempts to resupply rare Amiibos surface, Nintendo has to make sure they don’t screw this up, or else the Amiibo bubble might burst and many will give up on the Amiibos altogether. They just have to hold it together and be smart about how they’ll go about the Amiibo business in the future.