By Gemma ~ Juicy Game Reviews
It safe to say that we're in the middle of a serious Amiibo craze right now. Nintendo released a plethora of Amiibo characters and plan on releasing a load more in the very near future. In fact, the Amiibo character list is growing rapidly, especially in the U.S. What is an Amiibo? And why are they so popular? Amiibo's are interactive plastic figures; recognisable to most, that are designed to enhance the experience of certain Wii U and 3DS titles. Titles like Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 8 and Hyrule Warriors etc. Characters like Mario, Yoshi and Link are the most common and can easily be bought from stores. More obscure Amiibo characters like Mario - Gold Edition are more exclusive to the market. As it stands Nintendo have also announced Mario - Silver Edition so you had better get your pre-orders in now if you want it.
On paper it sounds great and as a gamer myself I'm always seeking new ways to enhance my experiences. Amiibos sound like the perfect choice right? However, I don't understand the craze behind the plastic. Conceptually I think the Amiibo adds versatility and added charm to certain Wii U titles. I get that. From a collectors point of view Amiibo characters look great on shelves and I can imagine the thrill of the chase gives the buzz most of us collectors feel when we see our collections grow. It's just not for me. Before we go any further I will admit that I've never owned nor used Amiibos so I'm talking from a completely subjective standpoint, despite owning a Wii U and Nintendo 3DS (both amazing consoles in their own right).
The lack of appeal comes from my retro roots. I grew up on the ZX Spectrum, Nes, Master System so on and so forth. I like the classic feel of gaming where I can lay on my sofa with the controller and play for hours. I do this with my PS4 all of the time. Call me cynical but the thought of grabbing an Amiibo and placing it on my Wii U gamepad literally makes my skin crawl. That probably sounds crazy doesn't it? I respect and admire the Amiibo fans out there and I'm hoping you guys can persuade me otherwise? I also believe that Amiibo's look great so this is by no means an anti Amiibo stance.
In February 2015 sources over at Geek reported Amiibo sales figures had climbed over 5.7 million worldwide with Link being the most popular Amiibo character in North America, Europe and Japan. They're mighty impressive sales figures and I can only see this increasing as Nintendo prepare themselves for the next wave. Naturally Nintendo have made some serious cash but how much of this is due to Amiibo sales? In January 2015 IGN revealed that 3.03 million Wii U consoles had been sold in the first three quarters of 2015 which meant that Nintendo were on track tor each their goal of 3.6 million.
It's no secret that the release of Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros catapulted the Wii U sales in this financial year; the same year of the launch of Amiibo's. We are finally seeing some excellent titles on the Wii U and whilst we still have a long way to go Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros, Hyrule Warriors and Amiibo compatibility are all responsible for stronger Wii U sales. I'm looking forward to Starfox and The Legend of Zelda on the Wii U and I predict Amiibo characters will be compatible for both of these titles.
Collecting video games is my absolute passion, my zest, my thirst. It's often a difficult task to obtain obscure titles and even more difficult to find boxed and complete games. Adding Amiibo's to my collection makes me feel a flurry of anxiety. If you look on the UK Nintendo store you'll see that most Amiibo characters are sold out. Adding insult to injury Nintendo only allows one per customer. This annoys me for two reasons:
1) There's an issue with supply and demand with Amiibo's. Once a certain character is sold out buyers are forced to buy from Ebay and such like which ultimately leads to ridiculous prices. As a collector I'm already annoyed.
2) As a consumer, why am I limited? One per customer from Nintendo UK. The solution to this is simple: Don't buy Amiibo's from Nintendo
I'd love to hear what you think about this? Maybe you can offer me a different angle on Amiibo's both from a collecting and functionality standpoint?
So will Amiibo's secure the future of the Nintendo Wii U? My answer is no. I believe Amiibo's will certainly continue to catapult the sales of the Wii U alongside great titles like Mario Kart 8, Splatoon and more. Where will it all end though? Let's see if the Amiibo craze is as strong in 2016.
Gemma ~ Juicy Game Reviews
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