Amiibo Have "Smashed" Nintendo's Expectations

It "really has been unprecedented," says Nintendo exec.


Nintendo has been caught off-guard by the success of its Amiibo line. While it hoped there would be demand for its expansion into the toys-to-life space, the company's "expectations have been smashed."

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That's according to Nintendo UK consumer marketing boss James Honeywell, who told MCV, "Right from the outset we hoped that Amiibo would be strong, but even our expectations have been smashed. With a unique lineup of iconic characters that are loved by so many people, it really has been unprecedented."

Companies like Activision and Disney have also enjoyed success with their respective toys-to-life offerings, Skylanders and Disney Infinity. There was some question of whether the market would be too crowded for Nintendo to make an impact when it launched Amiibo alongside Super Smash Bros. last year; instead, with 5.7 million sold as of February, its primary problem has been keeping less-common figures in stock.

"We hope to do a better job of satisfying these needs in the future with more stock, and, while there are always going to be some times when we can’t on certain characters, I suspect that is also part of the appeal," Honeywell continued.

Indeed, tracking down and collecting rare figures has become a game for some, but for many others, it's proven to be an exercise in frustration.

Honeywell cites collectors' desire to get their hands on every Amiibo available as part of the reason for the supply issues. Nintendo has previously said it won't be able to consistently keep every figure in stock, though it will deliver additional runs of certain figures in select circumstances--something we saw with Marth, for instance.

In addition to sitting on your shelf, Amiibo serve a purpose in various games, including Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, and Code Name: Steam. For a complete list of every Amiibo announced to date (along with their in-game functionality), check out our comprehensive list.

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Avatar image for aquoon_0nly

In other news "<< LINK REMOVED >>" says a nintendo hypocrite developer.

Avatar image for cloud75x

@aquoon_0nly: you didn't read that story did you? They're pointing at the likes of EA, sony, microsoft, ubisoft, et al for doing DLC wrong. Nintendo got it right and they were late to the party.

Avatar image for InYourMouf

Amiibo are this decade's beanie babies. Overly-expensive pieces of plastic.

Avatar image for nicemouse

That's great!

This will be their main focus from now on instead of making games I actually want to buy.

Avatar image for mizore_chan

DLC in toy format.

Avatar image for BlueFlameBat

Does this mean I might still be able to get Rosalina and Lucina at retail price?

Avatar image for mikupixie

@BlueFlameBat: I wouldn't hold your breath. I'm kicking myself for not pre-ordering Rosalina. Now she's the price of a full new game.

Avatar image for BlueFlameBat

@mikupixie@BlueFlameBat: I didn't even know pre-ordering Rosalina was ever an option. As much as I'd love to blame this on that douchebag who allegedly bought a ton of specific amiibos so that other people couldn't get them and possibly take revenge, Nintendo could still release more of these and make his spending thousands of dollars ultimately pointless for him.

Avatar image for creepshow2

Would be nice if you could order any of them from Nintendo directly so you could get the ones you want to actually use in the games. Blah I quit even trying to get them anymore, because it seems the amiibos I want always cannot be found.

Avatar image for hansolo1138

Apparently Toad is becoming hard to find in my area. I wanted him for Captain Toad.

Avatar image for creepshow2

@hansolo1138: Exactly you cannot find the Amiibos you need. Its a real joke in my opinion how the hell can they not increase production on the rare amiibos it is their loss. Why would they continue to let others make huge profits of their stuff like they are doing? Its bad business. I would make every single amiibo available to anyone that wants one. If shelf space is an issue Rent your own warehouse or build one and take orders via the internet:P

Avatar image for Ovirew

@creepshow2@hansolo1138: Yeah, it's frustrating because it's essentially physical DLC, but physical DLC that is also hard to come by. A part of me would like to try Code Name Steam one day, but I would be much more interested in doing so if I could import Marth into the game. Unfortunately, his figure is always sold out.

Avatar image for Jedilink109

I've got 6 and the rarest character I have is Fox. I realize there are a ton of jerks out there who scalp these things (I just saw a listing on ebay the other day from some scumbag piece of crap who apparently went and preordered about 20 Shulks on one receipt, YES HE POSTED A PICTURE OF HIS RECEIPT ON THE ITEM LISTING) but there are also people like me who ACTUALLY want these characters for use in my games and for collecting my favorite guys too. Until Nintendo gets an INSANE step up in production on rarer characters, I think stores need to limit rare characters to one per person.

Obviously there's no issue keeping Mario, Link, Luigi, Peach, Pikachu and a few others in stock, but the rare characters are nearly impossible for me to find and it's maddening because my friend and I have ACTIVELY looked every single payday for months now (seriously) to check for any new or rare guys in stores. I recently got lucky in finding a Fox, but that's the best I've done. Places are now getting Sonic and Megaman (thankfully) but I want Little Mac, Lucario, Meta Knight, Shulk and so on. Those characters are absolutely IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND unless you have craptons of money to give to scumbag scalpers, which I REFUSE to do.

MAKE FRICKIN MORE of the rare characters! It SHOULD NEVER EVER be this hard to find figures...

Avatar image for Someguy1212

@Jedilink109: how about calling Nintendo directly and voicing out there instead of a game site that they don't go to? I have done this as well as contacted them through their corporate site.

Avatar image for zalws-x

still don't understand what is it that is so attractive about amiibo?

Avatar image for Ovirew

@zalws-x: I'm not a fan of them either, though I'l admit there are one or two I'd like to own as collectibles. I would probably only want to get characters that I really like and use in Smash Bros. a lot, and characters that unlock really useful content in certain games I own.

So far most of the Amiibo don't do a whole lot outside of Smash Bros. The most useful ones are probably Toad, Link, Toon Link, Zelda, Shiek, all of the Fire Emblem characters, and all of the Kirby characters, since they unlock useful features in a few games.

Avatar image for alxe_prime

Own 23 amiibos happy as hell, don't Give a crap what you think do or say. You don't like it, keep rolling .

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Avatar image for PyreofKoL

Apparently they also smashed their production facilities.

Avatar image for raugutcon

First of all, there should be no such thing as less common figures, Skylanders are nice but none of thoem have been for so long amongst us, so it should have been no surprise that amiibos have sold so well

Avatar image for isv666

I'm not surprised they've sold so well. It's just a shame about the incredibly rare ones or store exclusives that get snatched up for resale value. It'd be nice if Nintendo had a more steady supply so more people had more of an opportunity to get the ones they really want.

Avatar image for sjawz3288

I think they need to improve their stock quite a bit. I found a good handful of characters this past week. But, stock was low and it was the exact same stuff in...6 different stores? There's nothing wrong with running limited quantities of some characters, I think it's fun. But, just about everything is sold out except for Mario (both versions), Peach, Bowser (both versions), Diddy Kong, Pikachu, Link, Yoshi, and Luigi. They need to bring some back or release larger waves for a bigger selection.

Avatar image for Jedilink109

@sjawz3288: It's even getting hard to find Samus most places now!

Avatar image for sjawz3288

@Jedilink109@sjawz3288: I managed to pick up a Samus. And, that was 1 of 2 in stock. I saw them nowhere else. Figured it'd be a good idea to snag it before prices skyrocket.

Avatar image for Someguy1212

@Jedilink109@sjawz3288: Toys'r'us is the only retailer that I have seen that has actually kept a supply of Amiibos. Everywhere else has like 4 while Toys'r'us has their shelves filled (just not with any that they should have like Lucario)

Avatar image for tony56723

I just want the Lucina and Ike ones to put on my book shelf lol

Avatar image for zzamaro

Well, this happens when the Wii U has no games, just the same boring stuff, so people would obviously want something while they wait for Nintendo to came up something. Meanwhile, I'm able to enjoy GTA5, Halo MC, bloodborne, Mortal Kombat X, among others.

Avatar image for mikupixie

@zzamaro: I own both a PS4 and a Wii U. They compliment each other very well, though at the moment I'm actually enjoying my Wii U more.

Avatar image for PyreofKoL

@zzamaro: Except the newest Smash Bros and Mario Kart games are the best ones they've made in those respective franchise. Even if they were the same, it's hard to call those games boring.

Avatar image for metallinatus

@zzamaro: Your 5 seconds of infamy is over, move on.

Avatar image for DocSanchez

@metallinatus@zzamaro: you move on.

Avatar image for UnbornCorpser

@zzamaro: No games? You must have missed some of the releases.

Avatar image for zzamaro

@UnbornCorpser@zzamaro: Same boring stuff like I said in my original comment. People have moved on to PC and the other consoles. No wonder Wii U is in last place.

Avatar image for dbrownman

@zzamaro@UnbornCorpser: This is laughable, seeing as how top ten sales figures are owned by many Wii U games. If you wanna talk about "same boring stuff", see games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Killzone, which were never good to begin with. No wonder other consoles are so forgettable.

Avatar image for jahla_din

@dbrownman@zzamaro@UnbornCorpser: Forgettable and boring but yet they still sell like hotcakes.

Weird how that works.

Avatar image for nicemouse

@dbrownman@zzamaro@UnbornCorpser: Boring in the sense that these Wii U exclusives are no where near as strong as the were on previous Nintendo consoles.

Mainly rehashes of 16bit era stuff, with the exception of a few gems.

Avatar image for Pewbert

Maybe something to do with endless articles promoting them? (Not paid for wink wink)

Avatar image for austint30

I want to find a rare amiibo and sell it on amazon for profit! :D I don't have a Wii U or a 'New' 3ds, so I would just sell them.

Avatar image for Legend002

hahaha "smashed".... I see what you did there.

Avatar image for gamebuyer22

Can only imagine the sweaty man children drastically going to stores looking for hard to find Amiibos.

Avatar image for UnbornCorpser

@gamebuyer22: I highly doubt people are rushing to stores to do such a thing. Besides you can just get them from places like Amazon anyways.

Avatar image for da_chub

These toys are for kids and fanboys. I have 5 of the ones I want, but they just sit in my desk looking cool. I have used them in games exactly 3 times, and probably won't again. But my youngest is always grabbing them to play with with his other toys. The whole toys and video games is just Dlc for kids. "adults" buy more maps without getting the toys. What's a bigger waste of $$$?

Avatar image for hystavito

@da_chub: I think the vast majority of Amiibos are being used very little with games or not at all. I really think most of the demand is being driven by collectors and resellers/speculators. They are definitely selling more than I thought they would, I didn't realize how much collector demand there would be.

Another point, I think the Amiibo sales success cannot really be fairly compared to the others like Skylanders or Infinity, at least not on the same terms because of what I said above.

Avatar image for bunchanumbers

I got my Toad amiibo. I got what I wanted. The rest is of no consequence.

Avatar image for Daveof89

I'm sorry, but I still can't get over the fact that people buy these things...

I bet in 20 years, we'll find landfills filled with dust-covered amiibo's.

Avatar image for bunchanumbers

@Daveof89: maybe. But there will be skylanders and infinity toys with them.

Avatar image for santinegrete

Not to the ground that's for sure :D

Avatar image for Carpetfluff

Even we didn't think our customers were this gullible...ka-ching.