Nintendo released a smorgasbord of information during its latest Nintendo Direct broadcast, including its next amiibo line-up, as well as how fans could get them. The announcement included two waves of new Super Smash Bros. amiibo, as well as figures from the upcoming games Yoshi’s Woolly World and Splatoon.
Given the overwhelming success of the amiibo line thus far, one would imagine that GameStop would expect a stampede of fans trying to pre-order. That wasn’t the case. GameStop announced that the website would be ready to take amiibo pre-orders starting at 2 p.m. CT. However, the site crashed shortly after it opened for pre-orders, and was almost immediately placed into maintenance mode. While some fans tried to bypass the website by pre-ordering amiibo in person, many found that they couldn’t, since GameStop’s internal systems crashed as well.
At 5:30 p.m. CT, GameStop posted the following on their Facebook page:
Due to very strong demand for the newest wave of Nintendo’s amiibo figures, GameStop is experiencing some technical issues with our website. At this time, we are accepting pre-orders of amiibo in stores only while we resolve these issues. We are working aggressively to resolve the technical issues as quickly as possible and expect it to be back online shortly.
Just an hour and twenty minutes later, they updated their post to announce that all of their wave 4 amiibo had sold-out.
While the majority of the wave 4 amiibo can be pre-ordered at other stores, Ness is exclusive to GameStop. Fans who are determined to get Ness will either have to purchase it from a reseller (likely at a steep mark-up) or wait to see if Nintendo recognizes the demand and produces more Ness figures. Fans who weren’t able to pre-order Ness may also be worried they’ll experience deja vu tomorrow morning, when the Toys R Us website will open for pre-orders of the exclusive Greninja amiibo.
There’s no way that GameStop’s website could have handled all of the traffic that was thrown at it today. However, that’s no excuse for their in-store systems to be down too, especially since they urged fans to try and place orders in person during the website’s downtime. Fans who went to the stores and attempted to pre-order, only to be turned away after an hour or more of waiting, have every right to be angry.
Time will tell if Toys R Us experiences the same problems, but in the meantime, Target might have the right idea. The Jigglypuff amiibo is a Target exclusive, but it can only be pre-ordered in-store. While that might seem inconvenient, it also means that fans who go through the trouble of going to a Target will actually be able to place a pre-order.
The fourth wave of amiibo is scheduled to release on May 29, 2015.