Amiibos.

Last year, Nintendo turned down an offer from Activision’s Skylanders to have them exclusively for the Wii. Skylanders are little figurines that interact with a video game to let you play as that particular character in the game. They are incredibly popular, bringing in $1.5 billion in revenue since 2011. Did Nintendo mess up? Maybe. But then they thought, “we’ll just make our own.” And that’s why we have Amiibos.

goldmario

Amiibos work a little differently than Skylanders. Depending on the character, you can use them differently for different games. One way to use Mario here, is to link him up on Super Smash Bros. Wii U and train him to be stronger than your average fighter. You can buy these things for about $13 if you can find them. Or if you can’t, you can buy them on eBay for over $100. Some characters are easy to find, some are extremely rare. This is just one of the Nintendo products with artificial scarcity.

/r/amiibo is a great place to watch the insanity. It’s also a really great place to find what you’re looking for. People will post sitings at sorts and links to order or preorder certain figures. They’ll also vent their frustrations about how they can’t find what they want. What sense does this make? Why doesn’t Nintendo just make a ton of them and sell them all? /u/Majordomo_ makes a good point:

“Here’s the thing; by limiting production they actually are pulling in a larger demographic of consumers. In the short-term they are sacrificing sales to increase the long-term demand through engaging a pool of people that would have otherwise not cared about Amiibo.

Also, with limited shelf space at retailers (The profit margin is slim on a 13$ Toy) it is in the manufacturers best interest to have stock come in waves and be turned immediately. Which is exactly what is happening. Perceived demand when seeing empty shelves vs stocked shelves greatly effects consumer behavior.”

Nintendo knows exactly how this works. They have created the illusion of value. They make people do stupid things. I have a friend with every single one of the Amiibos sitting on his living room floor all still in the boxes. He has preordered all of them and stood in line to receive them. I guess that’s what happiness looks like: 30 or so Amiibos on your floor in boxes.

Nintendo on pace to have more Virtual Console games on Wii U than the Wii

One of the coolest features Nintendo has come out with in the past ten years is the Virtual Console. All the classics you love from the NES, SNES or Nintendo 64 have been available for download on the Wii, 3DS or Wii U. Some gamers are traditionalists and only want to play the classic games on the original console with the original cartridge. I get that. Some music lovers have an appreciation for the sound of a vinyl record. It’s a very similar concept with classic video games. Dusting off the cartridge, switching the console on, holding the original controller, and viewing it on an old CTR television are all part of the experience.

But for all of you that really don’t care about the nostalgic stuff, the Virtual Console puts all of your old favorites on one machine. The problem is that if you’ve purchased one of the 427 titles in the Wii Virtual Console, they don’t automatically transfer to the Wii U VC. Nintendo still cuts you a break, however. If a title is available for the Wii U VC, but you’ve already purchased it for the Wii, it’ll only cost you an extra $1.50 to add the extra Wii U features like GamePad-only play and Restore Points.

But what if the game I want to play is available on the Wii but not the Wii U? You can still play that game on the Wii U by going to the original Wii menu. All your stuff from your former console is still there if you transferred everything over. Those games just won’t have the same functionality. So far, there are a lot fewer games on the Wii U VC, which makes sense. Nintendo brought in 426 titles for the Wii from 2006 to 2013. The Wii U began adding games in 2013. To date, the Wii U VC has 143 games.

You can also choose from a separate list of 171 games on the 3DS virtual console, including some “3D Classics” like Excitebike that have 3D capabilities. As of now, you can “cross buy” titles you’ve bought on the 3DS and get them for free on the Wii U. You cannot get them for free on the 3DS if you bought them on the Wii U quite yet, however.

Has Nintendo been as busy cranking out VC games for the Wii U as they did with the Wii? From November 2006 to June 2013, they came out with an average of 5.325 games per month. From June 2011 to present, Nintendo has put out an average of 4 games per month for the 3DS VC. The average for Wii U VC games is 5.46 games per month since Balloon Fight hit the VC on January 23, 2013.

At first I was upset that there were a lack of games on the Wii U VC, especially because games I owned like Super Mario: RPG for the Wii VC wasn’t available for the upgrade. Considering games are being ported to both the 3DS and the Wii U at the same time, the data shows Nintendo is busier than ever getting your favorite classics to the new consoles.