It's no secret to my friends that Nintendo and I have a long standing financial relationship. Since I was merely a tot, I have been almost exclusively buying Nintendo's gaming products and seldom have I ever been disappointed our arrangements. I would hand a retailer some money. They would hand me a product with that little oval logo, and I would return home satisfied with that "New-Game" smell. With our history fresh on the brain, as a consumer, I am beside myself with crippling concern and confusion about my future with Nintendo's products when I stand back and take a good, hard look at the amiibo situation, because let's face it: it's a situation here in America.
When amiibo was first announced, I hung with the crowd and listened as the people I knew and trusted to be Nintendo representatives relay that amiibo were never meant to be collectables. Sure, they would be in limited supply, but you would get the ones you wanted and be happy. And that was exactly what I intended to do. I like to consider myself a smart consumer. From the very start, I knew that ALL of the released amiibo would be an absolute stretch for my wallet; there are a lot of characters that would likely be beyond my interest, and more power to the people that wanted to purchase those figurines. What I did NOT anticipate was that A LOT of the characters I wanted to purchase were going to be out of my price range, and sometimes out of my grasp, hours after being in stores (and in some cases, NOT in stores).
My situation may be slightly unique compared to other Nintendo fans in the market for amiibo. In order for me to reach a retailer that is selling amiibo, I must travel AT LEAST 30 miles. It doesn't seem like much in light of how far these $13.99 toys travel to get to the states, but we are talking about getting up at 6am in order to get to the nearest store that sells them at 8am, only to stand in line with anyone else in the area, to possibly get their hands on one. Even that fact may still sound like a bit of a "how-could-this-happen-to-me" moment, but I also would like to explain with a small story that a lot of other collectors of amiibo can relate to.
With the most recent wave of amiibo being released at Target in the US (on a scattered schedule I might add), I got up super early in order to get to a retailer nearby that would have the one I desired, namely Rosalina & Luma. I also was interested in picking up a Sheik and Toon Link, and maybe even a Bowser since I'm a huge fan of both the Mario and Zelda series. Arriving at the Target, I noticed that a total 0f maybe 10-12 of us had gotten there at opening time to purchase said product. Out of the 10-12 of us, maybe 6 of us got all of the amiibo we wanted, not including me. I did get the Rosalina & Luma that I was searching for, but it was only by SOME MIRACLE that Auburn had one for my friend, as well as the other two that I was hoping to purchase. And I will add that at least three other people walked by while I was in mid-purchase, looking for the same amiibo and had to return completely discouraged as well as empty handed.
Day one. Hour one. I witnessed 7 people, In a potential market of 156,000 in the areas spanning between Nevada County, Auburn, and Roseville able to purchase the full line of amiibo that had been released.
I know I'm not the only one in the world just incensed to see that there is money by the buckets being funneled into 3rd party eBay accounts for these little toys that Nintendo has conjured. And I have only seen it get harder and harder for people interested to get their hands on these things. I can't help but wonder, why?!
Nintendo HAS to have seen by now that there is market for these things in the American economy. While Europe and Japan boast FULL SHELVES of these trinkets, America bears an uncanny resemblance to bread lines of The Great Depression, where you would stand in line for hours for something that you may or may not be able to even see by the time you get halfway through the line. And it's just plain absurd. As someone who knows how to make at least A LITTLE money, If you have a product that someone else can buy, and notice that they are reselling your product successfully for 2x, sometimes 4x as much....why not allow your company to pad you pockets. Not some scapler.
Although it may look like this article was merely a page full of mindless venting, I did also write this article in order to offer a couple of wayward solutions to this amiibo fiasco. And while I am merely a consumer, with no business experience whatsoever, I do think my ideas have some vaidity to them.
A) Simply, Plainly, bring more Amiibo to America
A small gesture such as this would do wonders, Nintendo. You have more than enough sales numbers and physical evidence to state that there is a ROCK SOLID market for these statuets here in the states. And by NOT supplying retailers with what demand requests, you are allowing someone else to make excellent profit on your product. So just put more in circulation here. Trust me. We'll pay it back, tenfold.
B) Make a Direct Option available
I may not be in the electronics industry for a living, but I do sell products to people. And I do know one thing to be a fact,: If the only way to get something is literally from the people who made it to begin with, consumers will still pay; sometimes more, and sometimes a lot more to get what they need. It may not be economically sound for Nintendo as a company to continue to make ALL of the amiibo during the course of the series production, but something as simple as a direct line to Nintendo for purchase during a current wave would go a LONG way for consumers interested in a product. I know of many people that would be excited to pay above standard retail price, directly to Nintendo, if Nintendo was able to ship them a product that retailers in their area were simply out of. Consumers might have to pay a bit extra as well as some shipping in getting them directly from Nintendo, but at least they would be available- something that cannot be said for today's stock of the different amiibo loosely scattered across retailers shelves in a manner befit a small hurricane.
I started buying amiibo with the intent to purchase two and only two: Link and Yoshi. I now own eight. Out of those eight, only one have I had to pay above retail market price, shipping the long lost Wii Fit Trainer from a Japanese outlet. Trust me, I was HAPPY to do so. I'm not excited for the future of amiibo after first hand seeing just how quickly these things disappear. And it's only going to get worse if something is not done about it. So...
I love you, your products, and vast library of games and characters. I am literally a walking pile of your unspent money. Please allow me to give it to you.