Nintendo’s Supply/Demand Debacle Worsens With Wave 4 Amiibo


Yesterday, we reported that three of the upcoming Wave 4 amiibo would be store-exclusives, predicting that this wave would be just as great a debacle as the previous waves of amiibo and the unpleasant supply/demand problems with the GameCube Adapter and the Majora’s Mask New 3DS. Turns out, it was even worse.

If you’ve tried to get your hands of Nintendo’s collectable figurines based on and compatible with popular characters, you know that unless you have a thing for Mario or Peach, you probably haven’t been able to get the one you wanted. Common figures such as those are in such oversupply that they are being marked down at major retailers. Meanwhile, popular figures such as Villager, Little Mac, and any character from Fire Emblem are impossible to find unless you’re willing to pay way too much on Amazon or eBay. Scalpers have been snatching up the rarer figurines and selling them for inflated prices, making it nearly impossible to pre-order, and few, if any, have been seen in stores.

It was a slim hope that Wave 4 would be any different. During the April 1st Nintendo Direct, Nintendo provided a wealth of amiibo news: Wave 4 of the Super Smash Bros amiibos, including Charizard, Pac-Man, Wario, Jigglypuff, Greninja, Robin, Lucina, and Ness; Inkling amiibos for Splatoon; yarn Yoshi amiibos for Yoshi’s Wooly World, and the new Amiibo Tap!, which allows you to store classic games on your amiibos, adding a new element of usefulness to them in addition to their collectability. Yesterday, pre-orders for Wave 4 began, and with it came the predicted trouble.

First, Jigglypuff went up for pre-order exclusively at Target. There was little warning that this was happening, and she sold out in less than ten minutes, as stated there on NeoGAF. Scalpers have her on eBay currently for almost $100. Then came the rest of Wave 4. Stocks of less-interesting amiibo such as Charizard and Pac-Man seemed all right, and though they’re sold out now they lasted much longer than the Fire Emblem figurines, Lucina and Robin, which disappeared almost as soon as they appeared.

Furthermore, demand for GameStop-exclusive Ness was so high that amiibo-seekers managed to crash GameStop’s website, GameSpot reports. The website was down not only for those pre-ordering online, but also for employees trying to register pre-orders in store. People were lined up at GameStop for hours in the middle of the day and were still unable to get the figures they desired, at a time when most people are at work or school.

Finally, Greninja. Perhaps in hopes that they could keep him on the shelves for longer, Toys R Us (without any prior notification) put the water Pokemon up for pre-order sometime late last night. According to GameSpot, though, that didn’t help at all. Instead, he sold out in thirty minutes, leaving even more fans in the lurch, as most people are sleeping at that hour.

At the time of this writing, people are scooping up the Splatoon amiibos, but from the looks of things, most retailers are out or almost out of stock. They went up a mere two hours ago.

Predictably, Twitter is blowing up, and collectors and those who want them just for the gameplay aspect are furious. #amiibo and hashtags for the store-exclusive amiibos have been trending off and on for the past two days, and Reddit has sadly hilarious things to say, as always:

(from /r/amiibo Bruggls)

Furthermore, Nintendo of America rubbed some serious salt in the wound today with this Tweet:

Needless to say, few if any of the responses are the kind Nintendo was likely looking for when they posted that (warning, many of them contain some strong language).

In spite of all this, Nintendo is making ridiculous amounts of money off of these figurines, and instead of losing business, they’re creating more and more of it. With the promise to release more of the coveted Marth amiibos sometime in the future, Nintendo stands to do even better if they release the rarer figures in controlled amounts. Plus, they’re getting tons of publicity for the figurines, even if it is negative.

It’s a good thing these figurines have mostly negligible effects in most of the games they are compatible with, or Nintendo’s game sales might suffer for it. The Mario Party 10 amiibos, which function as a sort of pay-to-play mode in Mario Party 10, are fortunately well-stocked and easy to get ahold of, likely because they are only being purchased by those who want them for the game itself, and not so much by die-hard collectors.

It’s too much to hope for at this point that Nintendo will suddenly discover a huge stockpile of all the desired amiibos and there will be enough for everyone, and then some. Though some of the rarer ones will likely trickle their way back into the supply, there’s no telling which amiibo will end up like the elusive Villager–virtually unobtainable.

To all you amiibo-hunters out there…good luck.

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