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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Revisiting amiibo Economics in 2018

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Market conditions changed, and amiibo are less of a priority for both Nintendo and consumers.

In the same interview where Nintendo of America's president Reggie Fils-Aime described why Nintendo continues to prop up the Nintendo 3DS, he described Nintendo's stance on amiibo to be, “We continue to be all in.” This is contrary to new all-of-Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa's went-out-of-his-way omission of amiibo in his letter to shareholders. It's likely wiser to take Furukawa's word on this over Reggie's, but here's the data count of how many amiibo are releasing in what year, if you want to just look at the numbers and not executive spin:

Nintendo number of amiibo released each year to 2018 chart graph
Data applies to North America only; compiled by counting the amiibo Character Lineup page on July 12, 2018,
plus Super Smash Bros. series Ridley, Inkling Girl, and Wolf. (Those aren't on the page.)
amiibo card series counts as one amiibo per series.
2018 figure represents as-of-now announced amiibo. More may be to come.

Still, to this day, the Super Smash Bros. series amiibo is not complete. In fact, there's some new members that appear to slightly bend the amiibo economics:

Note the price differences for Ridley, Inkling, and Wolf. $16 for one of them, compared to $13 for every other Super Smash Bros. series amiibo, and most amiibo in general. The MSRP is higher for these.

You may remember that raising the MSRP for amiibo was my suggestion three years ago, back during the amiibo craze where everyone banded into communities that just talked about their amiibo collections. (Now, presumably, only a handful of people still do that.) That was to help manage supply & demand.

I don't think the demand is frighteningly high as it was back when amiibo were at their prime. Still, there is probably room for a price increase, and so Nintendo has implemented one for these three new amiibo. Though, one of those new amiibo is... Inkling Girl. No way that'll have demand. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is already compatible with the six Inkling (non-Squid form) amiibo that already exist:

Inkling Girl Boy amiibo set of three Splatoon 2
Three Inkling Boys, and three Inkling Girls. (And I own the ones from 2015 that released with Splatoon.)
But hey, if Nintendo wants to sell yet another Inkling amiibo and premium-price it, go ahead.
(There's an artistic reason why I ordered the Inkling Girl row the way I did.)

Maybe Ridley's amiibo is BIGGER and more expensive to produce than the amiibo that have come before it. (Though from what we've seen of it in scale, maybe not.)

I guess I just want all of the amiibo prices to be raised. I know that's not a popular position. The demand isn't high anymore, but if Nintendo can still get away with selling Ridley and Inkling (oh, and Wolf) for $16, then they can get away with selling the rest of the cast for $16.

Ludwig is content with Nintendo never manufacturing a Ludwig Von Koopa amiibo. That may or may not affect his positions on this issue. What are YOUR positions? Eager to get a Ridley amiibo, but don't want to pay an extra $3? Or will you pay for that? Do you think Nintendo actually is still “all in” for amiibo? Confession: Ludwig doesn't know how to actually use amiibo on the Nintendo Switch, and he hasn't used amiibo since he pointlessly purchased a Kirby amiibo just for Team Kirby Clash Deluxe. (Don't do that.) Unrelated to this article: Pearl and Marina amiibo released on July 13.

The last time Ludwig did anything with amiibo, UPS held the amiibo that he ordered hostage.


  1. If the newer amiibo are more detailed as it appears to be in Wolf's case, then I do not really mind the price jump. The Inkling Girl, however, is probably one of the most blatant reskins of an already existing amiibo and is only priced higher because its release with the others. At least the Samus Smash amiibo and Samus Metroid Returns amiibo had a noticeably different pose. Because of the similarity, I will also just stick to the original Splatoon series amiibo.

    1. Inkling Girl has some pretty good timing.

      Alternatively, she got a raise.


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