The Appeal Of The Amiibo – A Success Waiting To Happen?

The Appeal Of The Amiibo – A Success Waiting To Happen?

Nintendo’s Amiibo figures represent a interesting period for the Wii U, not just in terms of video games. Their impact on gameplay, and indeed the games, remains to be seen, but it’s the figures that have me intrigued. Nintendo, out of the ‘big three’, have always had a bit more of ‘collecting’ feel to them. Be it Pokemon, Club Nintendo goods, or even their original card game, Nintendo have always had a collecting feel to a lot of their business. The amiibo could easily be the next big step for Nintendo.

With the success of Skylanders and Disney Infinite, it was only a matter of time before more companies jumped on board. While both games were aimed at the younger audiences, they both garnered a more adult following. The quality of the games play a fairly large part in why more mature people flocked to the product, but the concept of collecting was a major draw. From a adult point of view, collecting is kinda awesome. Most of us have went through a stage in a childhood where we collected, traded. ‘Got , got, got , got, need, got, NEED NEED NEED’ was often the song of collecting. Skylanders, Disney Infinite, and now Amiibo, brings some of them memories back.

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The start of the trend was thanks to Skylander, a range with a vague connection to semi-popular franchise. The look and feel of Skylanders made it instantly appealing to youngsters, a great gateway into video games. As the range expanded, the collecting focus grew, and kids lapped it up. The high quality models started to call to the adults, and Skylanders crossed over from it’s target audience. Disney Infinite took things once step further, mainly due to it’s licenses and global appeal. Suddenly the market blew up , people could now collect their favorite Disney stars AND play them in a game.

The appeal of Disney, the sheer range of characters under their banner is staggering. Disney truly has no limits when it comes to it’s demographic, even more so with the acquisition Marvel and Star Wars. It’s rare you’ll find a fully stocked shelf of Disney Infinite figures, and it’s not due to lock stocking. People are eating up the product, from all ages. Nintendo, like Disney, are pop culture icons and this gives their Amiibo line a huge leg up. Everyone knows Mario, Lugi, Princess Peach, be it a young child or a mature adult, they know Nintendo’s poster boy family.

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With Nintendo riding a wave of success at the moment, thanks to Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros and a strong end to 2014 on the way, it’ll be interesting to see how they market Amiibos. Skylanders and Disney Infinite came out across all three major platforms. They did not face any limitations in terms of how big of a potential user base they could target. Amiibo is only set for two systems, one of which is still struggling to truly break into ‘mainstream’.With that being said, the Wii U’s user base is expanding and Amiibo could easily ship more systems, especially in the holiday season.

The Amiibo figures themselves look fantastic. Colorful, vibrant and interesting to look at, they genuinely look like collectables rather than video game peripherals. This makes them stand out, bringing in potential customers to at least browse at the product. The fact the Amiibo’s work with the likes of Smash Bros, Mario Party and Mario Kart is a huge plus. The ‘party’ like nature of these games feeds into the collecting buzz. ‘Bring your pads and your Amiibo!’

While all this remains as speculation, it’s hard to see Nintendo’s Amiibo’s failing. The potential audience is so large, the games supported are already hugely anticipated. The stage is set for Amiibo to be a big success. It’ll be interesting to see how the range is launched, promoted and how it impacts sales of both the Wii U and 3DS.

Sean Halliday


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