Last year, Nintendo started the Amiibo line up. The figurines which have an MSRP of $12.99 can connect to your Wii U or New 3DS by tapping them on the gamepad or touch screen. There are several different games that the Amiibo can connect to, the most noteworthy being Super Smash Brothers Wii U.In Smash Brothers you can level up your Amiibo, creating a powerful AI to play with or against during those lonely winter months.
Nintendo, in adding the Amiibo lineup has also extended the list of products they failed to let consumers have access to; or even a fair chance at obtaining.
Amiibo are quickly selling out online and offline, becoming almost impossible to find only a few days after their release (depending on where you live.) Nintendo has released limited information on this issue, the only Amiibo the company has confirmed will receive restocks is Marth.
Anyone who jumped on the Skylanders train a few years back will remember the difficulty of finding all of the figurines. This was later solved after the holiday season and many players have completed collections of the original Skylanders. Although the limited availability was frustrating, it didn’t feel like a mad dash to grab everything in sight; We knew Activision had more on the way.
Skylanders also didn’t require more then one copy of the figurine. Unfortunately, Nintendo has stated that you will need to re-purchase any Super Smash Brothers Amiibo you wish to use with Mario Party 10; as the data will over write your Super Smash Brothers data attached to the Amiibo.
This is not the case with Nintendo and the Amiibo.
Nintendo is a family focused company. Their games are geared towards young kids, and families. With this in mind, how is Nintendo expecting good feedback from their customers when their child asks for a Villager Amiibo for their birthday and they can’t find one?
What about when Super Smash Brothers came out? Did you have any difficulties finding the Gamecube controller adapter which will only be compatible with the new Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U? Yeah, you aren’t alone.
Nintendo created a device with an extra tack on price, forcing you to either purchase their new fighting pads or the adapter. Rather than just allowing the Wii U to function with the Gamecube controllers, something they seemed to have no problem working into the design of the Wii.
However, the problems don’t stop there.
Or rather, they don’t begin there.
A recent trip to EB Games included the discussion of Nintendo’s limited availability of the Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL. This brought up the subject of the Wii.
For those of you new to the Nintendo band wagon (welcome aboard!) or new to gaming in general, you might not remember the mad chaos that was the release of the Wii.
The Wii, released back in 2006, was a hit worldwide. The console caught on, and it caught on fast, out selling both the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 during its life span. There was a problem with the Wii though, you couldn’t find it anywhere! Many families drove for hours from store to store looking for a Wii for Christmas, retailers would put up a “We have Wiis in stock!” sign, only to take them down a few moments later.
The EB Games employee I spoke with explained that he would have over ten people waiting in the store for the shipment, even though he would tell them multiple times the shipping manifest didn’t say they were getting any Wiis in. Still, the customers waited, and waited. Only to be disappointed.
The recent New 3DS XL announcement for North America was a big one, and the unveiling of the limited edition Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL was an even bigger deal. A deal that Nintendo couldn’t handle, even though the evidence that this would be an insanely popular system was there.
Majora’s Mask has been demanded for the 3DS as a remake ever since the Ocarina of Time was announced. Although Ocarina of Time is considered by most to be a better game, Majora’s Mask does have a cult following and is still respected for many reasons. Which is why many (myself included) don’t understand how Nintendo couldn’t expect this to be such a hit.
The New 3DS XL isn’t just a small upgrade in processing power. Looking at the footage shown from the Nintendo Direct conference it is a significant upgrade. The C-stick will allow for more control over games (although I have to admit it doesn’t look like it’ll be comfortable to use) and allow exclusive games to start arriving for the New 3DS XL. Not to mention the improved 3D, which admittedly is not required, will be a welcome addition to the system.
Why do we tolerate Nintendo acting the way that it does? For the same reason that we tolerate Ubisoft’s 3 broken games in one year (Assassin’s Creed Unity, Far Cry 4, and Watch Dogs.) Yet don’t like the idea behind Micro-transactions in many of our online or mobile games. It’s all about the money.
As long as Nintendo keeps gaming cheaper then the other two leading consoles, with a suggested MSRP of $45-65, versus the MSRP of $69.99 for the Xbox One or Playstation 4; we will continue to love Nintendo the way that we do.
Gaming culture has evolved from the 90’s, moving more towards the cost of gaming versus the quality. The abnormality in this change is the mobile market, relying heavily on micro-transaction games that typically aren’t well received in the end.
We, as gamers have decided we do not like extra charges for DLC, map packs, or any minor addition to console games. Spending over $60 on most titles, we have a problem justifying the extra cost. And that is where Nintendo does well in most cases. Excluding the Amiibos, Nintedos recent venture into DLC through Mario Kart 8 has proven to be justified pricing; offering both DLC packs for just 11.99. If you purchase both DLC packs you receive a total of 6 characters, 8 vehicles, and 16 tracks. Additionally Nintendo throws in eight new colors for both Shy Guy and Yoshi.
Besides the DLC, we are applauding Nintendo for giving us little to no stock on new items that Nintendo couldn’t possibly of seen to be unpopular. If Nintendo suspected the Amiibo wouldn’t be popular, why would they try and market it at all? The concept for the figurines would of been discarded rather then pursued.
2014 was ever so boldly proclaimed the ‘Year of Nintendo’ by many, and when we look at the way that the company has been behaving: It just doesn’t make sense.
I will be purchasing a New 3DS XL. I have a Wii U currently. I love Nintendo, the games that they release, and the great times that it has provided for my family over the years. I do not support the lack of stock in the case of the Wii, Amiibo, and the New 3DS XL Majora’s Mask Edition.
The reality is game developers can get away with a lot, but Nintendo more so then anyone else. The nostalgia attached to the company allows us to look at the company through rose-colored glasses, instead of critically analyzing what they are doing. The Amiibo is just the beginning of Nintendo’s latest trend, and I highly doubt a end is in sight.