Nintendo Confirms Discontinuation of Select amiibo Figures
The holidays just got a whole lot less happy for some Nintendo fans.
Following some rumors which had arisen over the past week from Canadian retailer Video Games Plus’s Twitter account stating that certain amiibo figures— specifically, Marth from Fire Emblem, the Villager from Animal Crossing, and the Wii Fit Trainer– were already being discontinued after less than a month of being on sale, Nintendo confirmed the allegations to Wired and Kotaku in a report published earlier today. There, the company stated that they do not plan to ship any more of several of the figures after the “initial shipment.”
From the full statement:
We will aim for certain amiibo to always be available. These will be for our most popular characters like Mario and Link. Due to shelf space constraints, other figures likely will not return to the market once they have sold through their initial shipment.
Making things worse is that the company apparently has no plans to clarify just which of the figures are on the short list, which is likely to leave a lot of people casting shifty looks towards any figure that isn’t a top-tier property from Nintendo– i.e. Mario, The Legend of Zelda, or Pokemon. As it is, aftermarket prices have already skyrocketed on some of the harder to find figures (I’ve never even seen the aforementioned discontinued figures outside of a Nintendo press event), and further releases will only raise more questions.
Suffice to say, I think Punch-Out!!‘s Little Mac, F-Zero‘s Captain Falcon, and Kid Icarus‘s Pit seem like the most likely to hit the chopping block in the second wave. After that? Getting Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog felt like a miracle, but it may prove to be short-lived. Fire Emblem‘s Ike probably won’t last much longer than his predecessor, and retailer-exclusive Shulk from Xenoblade Chronicles probably won’t fare much better.
Mind, these are just predictions on my part. At this point, it’s all guesswork.
Naturally, a lot of fans who were interested in the figures are rather upset about this. Following their announcements as part of the Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U roster, I’ve noticed that Villager and Wii Fit Trainer in particular have seen upswings in their popularity based on their appearances in the games. For all the new fans they might have gathered, it seems the simple joy of owning a small figure of a favorite character has been dashed. I can’t imagine that this will please those hoping to obtain the figures for friends and family at anything resembling a reasonable price, either.
As for me, personally? This stings… a lot. I’ve been a lifelong Nintendo fan, growing up with many of their characters, and I’ve always wanted some sort of line of Super Smash Bros. toys or merchandise (a surprisingly rare thing). I knew I couldn’t buy all the figures right away, but to know that this is how it’s going to be… well, I’ve sort of given up on the whole thing. At least, as a completionist.
From Transformers to Mega Man to other things, I’ve gotten used to the idea that I can’t get everything, so that helps. Still, I had hoped that maybe there would be a chance with this one line, but no more. As it is now, I’m likely just picking and choosing carefully.
Hopefully I’ll be able to get Mega Man, of course (I did write the book on him, after all, never mind the website I run and how often I use him in the game). At the same time, I’m already considering it a strong possibility that it may never happen, or that if it does, it won’t be for a price I can easily afford. That’s more disappointing than if they’d never made him an amiibo at all.
Then, of course, there are the classic Nintendo characters. Though unannounced (shy of Nintendo saying they were making everyone), the very thought of having actual figures on my desk of Dr. Mario, Mr. Game & Watch, Duck Hunt, and of course, R.O.B. filled me with a certain glee that practically reached back to my childhood. As you can guess, they excitement has been considerably dampened by this news.
What should have been a great boon for Nintendo fans and merchandise collectors is now being shrouded by a dark cloud of disappointment. When Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out six years ago here in Toronto, the snow was nothing short of terrible. I remember well making the trek out into snow that went up to my knees to get the game the second it became available at midnight (and the subsequent attempt to get home, which took a good few hours). While I’m pretty sure there won’t be any midnight launches for these guys in the middle of a blizzard, I’m pretty sure that as I get older, my days of camping out for this stuff is over.
(I guess that’s reason enough to be thankful for pre-orders…)
Nintendo has been doing things of this nature for a while now; as Wired notes, they brought over the limited edition of Hyrule Warriors, only to limit it to a couple of hundred boxes sold exclusively at the Nintendo World Store in New York City– good luck to anyone else in North America. Meanwhile, the $20 GameCube controller adapter has been sold out and going for aftermarket prices of around $100, though word at least seems to indicate that more are on the way, so that’s some relief (whether it will be in time for Christmas, though? No one seems to know).
This has turned into more of an editorial/rant than I had planned, but… what can I say? The whole thing just disappoints me– that I, and others like me, never had a chance. At the very least, they should let us know which ones to go for, though as I noted above, there are some safe guesses to be made.
By the sound of things, Nintendo is doing well by amiibo. It’s just sad that it seems their fans may not be able to say the same, and hopefully they’ll come around and find a better way to market these. Otherwise, should the vast majority care about something they’ve got no hopes of getting shy of dealing with scalpers?