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On August 8th, the Retro Amiibo pack, featuring the Duck Hunt Duo, R.O.B., and Game & Watch, went up for pre-order at GameStop stores nationwide. Once again, many gamers are outraged at the selling tactics of Amiibo by Nintendo. The set is a GameStop exclusive, has limited quantities, and is currently the only way (outside of importing from Japan) to get any of the three Amiibo figures in the pack. Pre-Order guarantees purchased by people who have managed to get to GameStop in time are selling their pre-order stubs on Ebay for roughly $50 each. People who have managed to get a pre-order in for this set will be able to pick them up on September 25th this year.
The individual members of Wave 6 (Olimar, Zero Suit Samus, Ganondorf, Dr. Mario, and Bowser Jr.) will be going on pre-order at a later date, with their store release date set to September 11tht his year. Once again, these will be released in limited quantities, with all most likely being sold out during the pre-order stage. Nintendo’s Amiibo figures have mostly been going to the elite gamers and collectors as well as scalpers. Casual gamers have little chance at beating the pre-order lines in order to get even one of the new figures. Making demand even greater are scalpers, who are people who purchase the figures in order to clear the original paint off and repaint the Amiibo with their own colors and design. With this, they can create different characters and sell these Amiibo at an even higher price or just keep them and purchase more to scalp. Many gamers have been upset at the level of Amiibo figures that are going to scalpers, especially with Nintendo not making any statement referring to the Amiibo being lost to scalpers, rather than to the gamers who want them for Super Smash Bros. use or collections. Combine this with people who purchase Amiibo from various locations, with the intention to sell them at a higher price, and you’ve got a real problem for the Amiibo industry, one that Nintendo, at times, does not seem to be taking into full consideration.
We have not gotten a full reason as to why Amiibo figures are being produced in such low quantities. It is a frustrating endeavor that has lead many to start doubting Nintendo’s care for their customers in the Amiibo market. Sales and money is an unlikely factor. Yes, making Amiibo figures to be exclusive does ensure that Nintendo is going to sell all of them, but with the market so high they could be making much more. This becomes even more true when you see how much many of the limited Amiibo figures sell for on Ebay, often two, three, or even more times their retail value. This means that, ultimately, some of the gamers are able to make more money from the Amiibo figures than Nintendo is per unit.
Early reports claimed that Amiibo were in short order due to being “hand painted” which is highly unlikely given the states of some of the figures. Amiibo that have little paint blemishes of a totally unused color, Amiibo whose body parts have been placed on backwards or completely wrong; those are problems that would be easily noticed and corrected during the hand painting process. While it is possible for some mistakes to go unnoticed, the figures themselves do not have a very hand painted look to them, at least not the ones I have handled in person. Even avid collectors of hand painted objects, including dolls and figurines, have claimed that the figures look completely manufactured and if they are hand painted, then they are done very cheaply.
A part of the true Amiibo shortage problem is due to a strike that is going on, and has been for some time, at the West Coast Port. Essentially, contracts ran out, new ones weren’t negotiated properly, and now the workers are upset and strike making it difficult for Nintendo to ship out products like the Amiibo figures and even the New Nintendo 3DS systems (though they seem to be selling a lot more of those than Amiibo). While this is an understandable reason for there to be shortages, Nintendo has done little else to address the issue. One Nintendo representative took it upon himself to place the blame on retailers rather than on Nintendo itself; claiming that it was because they do not order enough to match what the customers need. That is a pretty huge claim to make considering Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Amazon, GameStop, and more all sell Amiibo products and all of them run out of the collectable figurines.
There have been many promises by Nintendo to re-release many of the hard to find Amiibo, yet very few have shown up again as re-released. What makes this all so frustrating is Nintendo’s lack of full communication on the subject of the shortage. Sometimes, Nintendo will reference the strike as an issue, yet other times they will not reference it at all (as was the case with the representative who said that the shortage was all on the retailers). It is a confusing and aggravating road to be on for anyone who does not have the time to make it to a store extra early to ensure a pre-order and for people who do not have the funds to purchase one from Ebay at a significantly inflated price. Perhaps what makes matters even worse is the fact that neither Skylanders nor Disney Infinity have issues with getting enough figures to meet demand.
Whatever the full reason may be, this Amiibo shortage is something that is an issue for even some of the most avid Nintendo fans out there. What do you think Nintendo should about the problem? Should a Nintendo Direct come out to address the problem and it’s cause to everyone? Which Amiibo are you dying to get but haven’t been able to? Let us know in the comment section!
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