Leave it to Nintendo to mess up a good thing. Well, in this case a mysteriously mediocre thing. After rumors swirled around the discontinuation of some of their harder to find Amiibos, Nintendo finally confirmed to Wired on Monday that some of the “less popular” characters would not see a second production run.
The Amiibo figures have launched to lukewarm success with many outlets selling out quickly of the figures for Fire Emblem’s Marth, the Animal Crossing Villager and the Wii Fit Trainer. According to the statement, some of the figures that sold out quickly were produced with less numbers in mind and would be deliberately discontinued after the initial run. Though they wouldn’t confirm which figures were being phased out, popular opinion is that the three tertiary characters would be the odd characters out.
And that’s a shame.
Marth is largely considered one of the top characters in Super Smash Bros. and the November 21 debut of the Wii U version and the Amiibo figures put Marth as a popular pick-up for dedicated players. Although the Wii Fit Trainer and Animal Crossing Villager don’t have the same popularity in Smash, both were well received as a change of pace from Nintendo’s typical branded mascots. To date, I’ve never seen Marth in stores, seen a few Villagers and a decent amount of Trainers. I’m particularly disappointed because I’ve been on the hunt for a Marth figure since the Amiibo’s debut.
Nintendo was quick to cite physical shelf space as a reason for wanting to phase out characters which I think is a terrible justification. If you walk through any game section’s collectable game figures you’ll notice a ton of Disney Infinity and Skylanders figures from each iteration of their respective games. The Amiibos certainly have their own presence as well but often consumers are confused as to what the figures do because Nintendo has not gotten out in front of the consumer to educate them on the features of their product.
The Skylanders and Disney Infinity figures all are instantly compatible with a demonstration stand that gives a brief video on what to expect from the characters. Because Nintendo is traditionally very stingy, they have no such demonstration kiosk in stores. Even worse, if a store were to have a demonstration Wii U unit set up, the Amiibo figures are blocked on the bottom of their packaging by a small metal sheet, preventing any NFC transmissions.
The sad part of the situation is that their historically popular characters like Link, Mario, Kirby, and the rest of their “core” franchise characters are filling up bins at stores, occupying a ton of space while fans are driving up secondary market prices for the rare figures. As of this writing Marth is selling on Amazon for just under $50.
So here we are again, Nintendo has miscalculated their product again. Failed to market their product again. And is stubbornly sticking to their decision to refuse to produce more units…again. Sometimes people wonder why Nintendo is flailing, what with all their stellar game production. I say its an absolute refusal to get on the same page as their fans.