It may be hard to believe, but it’s only been a mere nine months since Nintendo released its first amiibo figures. Of course, since that fateful day when amiibo were fully stocked on store shelves across the country and there was no such thing as “The Holy Trinity” yet, the amiibo craze has only increased in fervor and chaos. Gone are the days when customers could walk into any retailer and pick up whatever amiibo they wanted — if those days even existed past launch day, that is. The incredible amiibo phenomenon has catapulted Nintendo to the top of the toys-to-life industry, but has left countless perplexed and upset with how hard it is to collect them all.
Again, it’s only been nine months. When Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure launched five years ago, kicking off this blooming genre of the game industry, shortages of figures were all too common, and they soured many consumers who took the initial investment plunge into untested waters. Many Skylanders were near impossible to find in stores, well after the Holiday shopping craze. With the market being uncertain, Activision certainly couldn’t risk oversaturating retail space with a new, risky product. It wasn’t until the second game came out, a full year after the first, that shortages of figures mostly became a thing of the past.
Yes, Nintendo had several years of market research to learn from and game plan around before the launch of amiibo. What it didn’t have, however, was any idea just how insatiable Nintendo fans and collectors would be in regards to amiibo. The lack of absolute necessity of the figures for gameplay, unlike Skylanders or Disney Infinity, made it seemingly impossible for Nintendo to fully predict what the demand for amiibo would be. Unfortunately, the demand was far greater than the supply, from pretty much the get-go. Yes, the persistent speculation that Nintendo intentionally withheld stock to create artificial demand might have some merit to it, but the precedent for first time toys-to-life franchises having underestimated demand has already been set.
Many months ago, Nintendo promised that the supply of amiibo would get better, and previously released figures would make it back to market. The promises seemed lofty at the time, at the height of amiibo shortages from coast to coast; still, slowly but surely, Nintendo has proved to be on the right track. The most recent examples of things getting better for collectors of amiibo was the release of Palutena and Dark Pit, both of which had very unexpectedly large numbers of stock to sell to the awaiting community. On top of that, the Retro 3-Pack of amiibo, featuring Duck Hunt Duo, R.O.B. and Mr. Game & Watch, which is exclusive to GameStop, shocked the entire community. Days before the pre-order event, fans were panicking about being able to secure a 3-Pack. Once doors opened at GameStop locations across the country, it was clear by the insanely high number of packs available that Nintendo was finally getting the supply and demand ratio to more acceptable numbers.
Yes, many amiibo are still incredibly hard to acquire, unless you live overseas or in the New York City area where a trip to the Nintendo World Store on amiibo restock day is possible. But the shortages of many characters, thanks in part to restocks and reprints, have gotten significantly better. Best yet, the future of amiibo releases seems bright and full of amiibo for everyone.Leave a Comment