E3 2014: How Amiibos Can Revitalize Nintendo's Business

Amiibo, I choose you!

By now, most people are aware of NFC figurines: the cute and collectible plastic figures that act as wireless memory cards for games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity. In a move that surprises almost nobody, Nintendo's entering the market later this year with its own line of NFC figurines, which it calls "Amiibos." Nintendo has a massive stable of games and characters at its disposal, and with a little bit of effort, Nintendo can make the success of Skylanders look like a flash in the pan, and potentially reverse its current trend of declining revenue.

Nintendo's gaming legacy reaches back to the early '80s, and it's created some of the industry's most recognizable characters. Series such as Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid are icons of our industry, and their character rosters have earned the lasting adoration of millions of people. The Skylanders series was an undoubted success, but its cast of monsters doesn't hold a candle to Nintendo's stable of familiar faces. Skylanders had the advantage of being the first offering in a new and unexplored market, and though Activision found a diamond in the rough, there's no reason that NFC figures can't strike gold twice; especially if Nintendo's the one looking for it.

To be fair, Nintendo's initial plan for Amiibos doesn't instill a lot of confidence in the brand. Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U will probably be a success for Nintendo, but it won't be because of Amiibo integration. In order for Nintendo to hit a home run with its figurines, it has to make a new game that could only exist alongside Amiibos, and it has to be part of a recognizable series, too. Nintendo's ace up its sleeve can only be one series: Pokémon.

The smartest thing Nintendo could do is to link Pokemon and Amiibos as soon as they have a game that offers something new to budding Pokemon trainers and established masters. A new Pokemon game that mixes the showcase battles of Pokemon Stadium and the training aspect of the Game Boy and 3DS games is the obvious solution, and it could even be free to play, with Amiibos acting as the entry fee.

When I look at my nephew's collection of Skylanders figures, I see a mishmash of crudely designed monsters in a box. He values them for their in-game avatars, with seemingly little attachment to the objects themselves. What if he had a box of Pokeballs? Unlike in Skylanders, you play the role of a trainer in Pokemon, which are essentially pets that you care for and raise. Pokemon Amiibos in physical Pokeballs can easily enhance this relationship by bringing it into the real world. Digital Pokemon as they are today are convenient, but Pokemon Amiibos that you store in actual Pokeballs will inspire fans' imaginations to run wild, especially the younger audience.

If Nintendo manages to recapture the imagination of Pokemon fans with Amiibos in this way, Nintendo could experience a windfall of income. Whether or not it will make up for the Wii U's troubles is another matter, but there's almost no question that Nintendo can make Amiibos a success if it plays its cards right.

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Discussion

66 comments
Vodoo
Vodoo

Skylanders has one big advantage over this... They're available on every platform. My guess is kids will bypass the "Amiibos" (what the hell is that anyway?) just because they don't want a Wii U. They can use the other ones on both Xbox & PlayStation. But time will tell, because Nintendo can't take many more heavy losses like they've been.

adsparky
adsparky

So... I remember in the old days to continue my games at a friend's house I just had to bring my cartridge, after that I had to bring the game and a memory card, then after that I had to bring, the console and the game 'cause it saves in the HDD, now you have to take the game, the console and also figures to continue your game. Pffff, if someone told me that back in the days I would never believed him.

king195
king195

The figures look great I hope they make a lot of different ones, but I do hope the price for them will be on the lower side.

csward
csward

Well people actually have to own Wii U's for this games to help and I don' think it is a system seller if a kid already has an Xbone or PS4.

Swaghard
Swaghard

NINTENDO PLASTICS DIVISION: FIRE UP THOSE FURNACES

grbolivar
grbolivar

Aiimbo will save Nintendo... yeah right...

bat725
bat725

Article should say: "How Amiibo Ruined Smash Bros with Pay-to-Win Business Model"

tosted4u21
tosted4u21

i wanna see activision answer to this...i think nintendo cant count on with activision support anymore

meatz666
meatz666

The problem with NFC for Nintendo is that they would only work in Nintendo games. Skylanders allowed you to use the same figurine to all consoles. And Nintendo? Wii U and 3DS only?

And yes, the idea of putting Pokemon is tempting, but there's a reason why Pokemon is a portable game. It's a time demanding game, perfect to be on the go. But who will carry their 3DSs and 20+ figurines around?

Foppe
Foppe

*release Pokemon Amiibos*

*it will print money*

monson21502
monson21502

they shoulda just did skylanders instead of turning them down. 

MigGui
MigGui

my issue with using pokemon on this is that pokemon evolve, and plastic figurines dont.

freedom01
freedom01 moderator moderator

I really dont like these figurine idea, but after seeing how these can be used, I might get them

tosted4u21
tosted4u21

Funny when activision do this they bash but when nintendo does, they are all over licking the balls

gab1gav2
gab1gav2

I called this years ago when Skylanders first came out. I saw these and said... pokemon?  Oh no?  This is activision  Nintendo do thils. 


It took them too long.  They are now third in the market.  What Nintendo has going for it is the pokemon franchise. Its a perfect match and if they make it more involved than skylanders does it will win.  The other interesting play is the cross game idea. If I can use my Mario Amiibo in SSB AND Mario Kart 8, that's kind of cool - a mobile gamer profile in physical form.  While things are getting less and less physical, a pretty piece of art that has functionality s well?  Hell, I'll buy one if its all that. 

Mraou
Mraou

Sounds like a better idea than Skylanders, and isn't just a form of DLC as people feared.

kujel
kujel

This is a fraking brilliant idea!

bobjones1980
bobjones1980

shhhhhh Dont give Nintendo this idea GameSpot and Peter Brown, i know its a good money making idea but i don't want a game like this so shhhhhhh.

BluDaSlayer
BluDaSlayer

I'm a huge fan of the SSB series. As much as I am against these money making ploys I will most likely get sucked in eventually...

GuyverX
GuyverX

The only way this is going to work if they open this stuff to PS and XBOX... If not then Nintendo is losing even more money. smh

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

No, Peter, I'm sorry. This is bullcrap and it's not the "cute" sort of bullcrap. They're not doing something original, not bringing something original to the gimmick, and it's something that only true, die-hard Nintendo fans will give into, all a few hundred of them. How will this revitalize Nintendo's business again? If anything, they're sinking money into some overpriced toys very few will actually buy.

mario1028
mario1028

They JUST announced the things...pretty sure Pokemon is in the cards (probably hand in hand with the amiibo peripheral they talked about with the 3DS). Besides that, these things will be popular regardless.

ParanoidPaal
ParanoidPaal

These figurines look awesome, but I don't understand how this will make the game better. :P

93BlackHawk93
93BlackHawk93

@bat725 How? The game plays like always. 

Amiibo is not being forced at all... :S

csward
csward

@MigGui That's why you can by an "evolution set" that has all the Pokemon's stages (Mega evolutions sold seprately).

monson21502
monson21502

@MigGui they can in the game . nobody is gonna be playing with these outside the game 

monson21502
monson21502

@tosted4u21 they turned activision down  to help them make skylanders and for skylanders to be exclusive to all nintendo systems.  but i guess this is the reason why?? still a ton of money lost for nintendo by passing that deal up

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

@gab1gav2 If I could get Wind Waker Link (aka Toon Link) in Mario Kart that would be the shizzle!

darkmoney52
darkmoney52

@gab1gav2 Does the Pokemon franchise mean much these days? Cause I know for damn sure Disney characters are still relevant and now they're bringing in Marvel superheroes as well. Not that I know a lot about what kids are into these days but if anything it sounds like Nintendo's at a disadvantage. 


Still, I can see this doing well for them and I'd like to see Nintendo pull a win.

Orga777
Orga777

@Mraou

You're right. It isn't DLC. It is more expensive than DLC. :/

Orga777
Orga777

@BluDaSlayer

Why? There is absolutely no reason to get these figures. All the characters are in the game without these things. 

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

@GuyverX Why would they do that when consumers could buy a cheaper console to use them?

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

@xsonicchaos These things will be printing money for Nintendo just as much as the Wii did.  It'll be pure chaos.

mario1028
mario1028

@xsonicchaos You sure seem animated about something only a few hundred people might be interested in.

rokketdawg
rokketdawg

@93BlackHawk93 Crybabies are gonna cry!

I don't think for a minute that the figurines will offer an advantage to any player other than a psychological advantage if they are playing with their favorite character and it wasn't in the standard roster (I can imagine I would put more effort into my game if I hand selected a figurine/character to represent me in a game).  The point so many of the naysayers are overlooking is the fact this essentially offers a customized character roster depending on what figurines you select to purchase.  How can that possibly be a bad thing?

BluDaSlayer
BluDaSlayer

@Orga777 Well for starters the figurines themselves look absolutely mint. Even if the content they add into the game at first is questionable, they would make for nice collectibles on the display case. We don't know what the future of amiibos will be but if they could include limited edition skins or alternate characters in the future count me in!

sanchango
sanchango

@Orga777 @BluDaSlayer There are people who want to see how well their figurine does against human players(or against other figurines). If it sucks, that means they didn't train their character hard enough, or the player is just really good. If it does well, then the owner of the figurine is doing something right or the player sucks(lol).


Like you said though, it's not required. There are probably people that will NEVER buy these figurines, but that doesn't mean people won't buy them. I'm just waiting for more figurines to come out(I'm not interested in the ones that were revealed).

CallMeDuraSouka
CallMeDuraSouka

So these are going to triple the install base for the system? I keep hearing about these games that are going to push numbers and it hasn't happened yet. You except a gimmick to bail out a system built around a failed,gimmick? Nintendo logic is confusing

ParanoidPaal
ParanoidPaal

@tosted4u21 My thoughts exactly.

If they aren't too pricey, I might actually pick up some just to display in my apartment.

sanchango
sanchango

@rokketdawg ^this, it's not a forced purchase. you are not required to buy it, it won't be something you need to progress in the game,but if you do ,you can raise it to your liking and show other players who have their figurine who's boss! >:D

Orga777
Orga777

@sanchango @Orga777 @Mraou

Unless each figure is literally pennies to buy, there is absolutely no way it will be less expensive than DLC. Most DLC go for $5-10. These figures have to rely on shipping costs, manufacturing, tax, etc. in order to be stocked and shelved. Add in all of that AND the fact that the idea is to collect them all, and you will be spending more on these than you ever will for DLC. Skylander's figures go between $10-15 as well. I have no reason to believe Nintendo will sell theirs for cheaper.

adsparky
adsparky

@Orga777 Indeed, if u live in the US, lucky, you will get the "right" price, but if you don't you'll pay at least twice as much for shipment costs and import taxes :/, and DLC practically costs the same anywhere