It’s no secret that amiibo have already been a huge success for Nintendo. The hugely collectible figures enjoyed brisk sales throughout the holiday season, and this morning it was announced that 5.7 million units have shipped worldwide — with some 63 percent of that amount being attributed to the United States and Canada.
A big part of the amiibo phenomenon has been just how difficult it has been to buy some of the figures. Whether it’s due to a lack of production on Nintendo’s part or scalpers looking to make a few dollars on eBay, some of the most popular characters in the Nintendo stable have been all but impossible to find on store shelves.
However, it seems that Nintendo is taking note of this problem. During the company’s financial results briefing earlier this morning, CEO Satoru Iwata stated that Nintendo would consider extra production runs on popular figures if there’s enough demand from consumers and retailers. It’s not exactly a firm confirmation, but it’ll perhaps placate collectors struggling to grab every amiibo that’s been released thus far.
Iwata also mentioned that Nintendo will offer amiibo cards as an alternative to the figures, beginning later this year. These cards will offer the same in-game functionality as the figures, ensuring that players won’t miss out on content even if a particular type of amiibo is discontinued somewhere down the line.
There are also plans to expand what amiibo are capable of; soon, some of the figures will offer players a trial of a classic Virtual Console title related to the character. This feature will reportedly work in a similar fashion to the ‘Masterpieces’ available in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
From the beginnin, it seemed clear that the amiibo project was set to be a huge success. Skylanders and Disney Infinity had both demonstrated that such a product could be very successful, and given Nintendo’s huge cast of characters — not to mention the company’s freedom to integrate amiibo over a broad range of different releases — they were always in a prime position to corner the market.
It certainly seems that there’s a bright future in store for amiibo. New Mario Party figures are set to launch in the coming months, and there are plenty of options for the next wave after that. Will blockbuster 2015 releases Star Fox and The Legend of Zelda be accompanied by amiibo figures and cards? Nothing has been announced just yet, but today’s news makes it seem rather likely.