From day one the Amiibo craze has been a bit ridiculous, I’ll admit that from the start. Ever since they were first announced, droves of Nintendo fans hit message boards to declare which ones they were looking to pick up and to voice concern over which ones might be rare or hard to come by. As the first wave hit, it became immediately clear that certain Amiibo figures would be hard to find (Marth, Wii Fit Trainer, Villager) and supply never managed to keep up with demand. People have been paying inflated prices for rare figures ever since.
Wave 2 didn’t get any better. Certain figures became rare immediately, scalpers had a field day selling at inflated prices.
Wave 3. Again. Same story.
Surely by wave 4 things would be better figured out, right? No, they actually got worse. Target pre-sold Jigglypuff and sold out of their online preorder stock in mere minutes. Then to make the day worse for Amiibo hunters, GameStop announced that they would make their wave 4 Amiibos, including the GameStop-exclusive Ness figure available to preorder online at 2:00PM CST. Well, GameStop then sent a memo to their employees stating that online orders would not be taken and that instead a store finder would instruct buyers to head to their nearest store to complete a web-in-store (WIS) order. You had to go into GameStop to preorder any of the figures.
So I headed over to GameStop and got there about 12:45PM. In my time zone, it would be 1:00 when they opened up orders. Well, I was already 16th in line and when 1:00 rolled around, the system did not work. Because they didn’t announce that online ordering would be canceled, countless would-be buyers were hammering the GameStop site, trying to preorder Amiibos. When the system came down, the store employees were unable to use it either. By 1:40PM, I had enough and left, because only a single transaction had been successfully completed. Within another 10 minutes, reports came in that some had already been sold out. People who were #2 in line were turned away with a shrug and a gentle “sorry” from GameStop employees.
You know what? This isn’t fun anymore. In fact, it’s never really been fun. Collecting Amiibo has been nothing short of frustrating. Supply is nowhere near the levels of demand, and there’s poor communication all around from retailers, from Nintendo, and from distribution partners. Nobody knows what is going on, and if you’re trying to collect a full set, you’re left with dealing with scalpers or overseas importing, because nobody can manage to find all the figures here in North America.
Nintendo, you need to get out in front of this and drop the retailer-exclusive garbage. You need to make these available. If you’re going to dedicate portions of Nintendo Directs and E3 presentations to these things, it would be nice if they were ACTUALLY AVAILABLE TO BUY.
Retailers, you need to stop duping your customers. GameStop in particular is guilty of jerking around people here. They announce a time to preorder online only to bait and switch everybody by giving them a “go to your nearest GameStop” message. That’s really not cool, especially because if you weren’t in a GameStop store right at 2:00PM CST, you had NO chance of getting your order in, and many of those people still failed.
This whole hobby of collecting Amiibo is just ridiculous. There’s no defending how this has been handled. In 2015, there’s no excuse to so completely and so thoroughly fail your fan base and loyal customers. Nintendo, GameStop, Target, and everybody else, the good will has about run out, and I won’t blame anybody but you when the bubble pops on this craze.