Nintendo’s recent marketing trend has been to shift focus to their Amiibo toys. For those unfamiliar, Amiibos are plastic figures depicting in-game characters from Nintendo titles mounted on a plastic disc that contains special hardware, unique to each Amiibo, that Nintendo’s New 3DS and Wii U can detect. Using these figures with certain games can unlock features, store specific profile settings and information, and improve the overall player experience.
While this all sounds like a fun and adorable little distraction, many fans of Nintendo are not fans of Amiibos. Some fans are crying out on various internet forums and social networks that these Amiibos are Nintendo’s own unique form of “DLC”. Much like paid DLC often make players feel as though newly produced content is locked away unfairly behind their prices, Amiibos seem to be having the same effect. Players feel that if they already paid full price for a game, they should have access to all the content that game has – or will have – to offer.
While the question of whether or not to charge for additional game content is a highly discussed topic, the answer comes down to matter of preference.
The reality of the Amiibo situation is that they are selling better than even Nintendo expected. You may recall that near the beginning of May this year, Nintendo felt the need to publicly apologize for the figures’ scarcity in stores. They have since increased manufacturing outputs to ensure fans are able to find one when they hit shelves.
This year’s Nintendo E3 announcements have so far included the addition of 28 different new Amiibos (excluding color variations), with functionality in games like Super Smash Bros., Skylanders, Mario Kart 8, and Yoshi’s Wooly World, and new Amiibo cards exclusively for Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer which was also announced for release.
Speaking of Skylanders, their figures are not the same as Amiibos. They are specific to Skylanders, but that may change. Of the bucket load of Amiibos dumped upon us by Nintendo were two special ones from the new Skylanders Supercharged. The game welcomed a special pair of figures featuring Bowser and Donkey Kong that come with karts the two ride in the new game. These figures will have the capability of switching functionality between an Amiibo and Skylanders figure by simply twisting the base.
With the success they’ve brought Nintendo, don’t plan to see Amiibos go away anytime soon. They’re becoming an integral part of Nintendo’s marketing approach and they clearly make far more fans happy than they upset.