Earlier this week, Nintendo released its financial results for the fiscal year that ended on March 31st, 2015. The company posted its first profit after four years of losses, having made an operating profit of 24.7 billion yen ($207 million). This figure was higher than Nintendo’s own estimates but it wasn’t all good news as overall sales are down by 4%, their Wii U console continues to struggle and the 3DS family missed targets by hundreds of thousands as well.
But as its console sales take a hit, Nintendo’s amiibo toy line has had serious success. The plastic figurines are wireless devices that communicate with Wii U and 3DS consoles, using NFC (Near-Field Communication) to do things like adding additional characters and levels to games. Nintendo has now revealed that by the end of March, 2015 it had shipped 10.5 million amiibo across the globe.
The staggering number comes after Nintendo’s announcement that it had sold 5.7 million amiibo by the end of December 2014, with amiibo holiday sales being incredibly strong. While ‘shipped’ includes units on shelves not just those in the hands of customers, clearly the demand is so high that Nintendo had to ship a few million more figurines to retailers. That demand is driven by games such as Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (the fastest selling Wii U game so far), Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse which was released back in January.
Nintendo has also provided a breakdown of the toys’ biggest markets. North America is the biggest amiibo market with 66% of amiibo sales, 20% of amiibo were sold in Europe, 3% to Australia and 11% to Japan, which is Nintendo’s home country. This is unsurprising as 73% of Nintendo’s sales usually come from foreign countries (89% of Amiibo are sold outside of Japan), sales of the Wii U are actually down in Japan due to the rise of smartphone gaming.
The real challenge now will be if Nintendo can keep up with demand. CEO Satoru Iwata has previously addressed the issue of amiibo shortages, saying that it’s difficult to predict overall demand, the company has increased production and is doing its best to get the figurines to customers. In the meantime, the problem may be exacerbated by the upcoming release of Yoshi’s Woolly World, Splatoon, and Animal Crossing: Home Designer, which allows players on older 3DS models to use amiibo too.
Are you an amiibo collector? Have you been affected by amiibo shortages? Leave a comment below.