What’s the deal with amiibo production right now, anyway?

It’s no secret that the production of amiibo figures has slowed to a crawl. In 2021, we received a rather generous eight brand-new figurines! These include three from the Super Smash Bros. series, as well as two each for Metroid Dread and Super Mario 3D World. The Zelda & Loftwing amiibo was released for Skyward Sword HD as well. In 2022, we’ve received just one new amiibo figure — Min Min.

Between figurine delays and possible cancellations, the future of amiibo is looking rather thin. Today, we’re going to look at the reasons why this may be — and we’re also going to accept the reality that amiibo may be dying (we offer free therapy sessions in our Discord server).

Full Cancelations, or Just Delays?

The Steve and Alex amiibo have gained a bit of traction among non-amiibo trainers for visually appearing very simple. They’re just a few squares with painted textures, right? So it’s strange, then, that these two figures were delayed several months ago (in February). They were originally slated for a summer release, and we only just recently heard about their confirmed release date for September 9th. Could this delay have been caused by production issues, or was it a completely different problem?

One idea is that Nintendo may not make a profit on every single amiibo figure they release. Sure, characters like Mario will fly off the shelves because they’ve got a wide appeal. But Smash is home to many obscure characters — seriously, who’s going to buy an Olimar amiibo? In 2017, the Ryu and Lucas amiibo figures were overprinted and shipped out to retailers. Those stores had trouble selling through all their units, so they eventually took a profit loss and sent their Ryu and Lucas overstock to discount stores like Five Below. That’s part of why these two characters are generally pretty cheap when purchased online. Perhaps Nintendo needed more time to evaluate the average consumer’s interest in amiibo figures in the present day, and whether or not Steve’s popularity warrants manufacturing extra units.

In-Game Content, Inaccessible

Perhaps more immediately concerning, however, is the recent release of the Monster Hunter Rise DLC. In non-American countries, three new amiibo figures were released alongside Sunbreak itself. Unfortunately, the United States hasn’t received any word on them. The only way for Americans to obtain these figures (outside of one that wound up being included with the special edition) is to import them from overseas retailers. All mentions of the figures have been wiped from the official Monster Hunter site. This means there is content available in-game that players in the USA can’t obtain without paying high shipping costs.

Will they release them in the States or not? Who knows — they may just be delayed for a few months, but there’s been no official word on that. This means that every amiibo slated to release in 2022 has been delayed except for Min Min, which is kind of concerning. Unfortunately, I personally don’t see amiibo production improving anytime soon — for a variety of reasons. It’d be great to be proven wrong, but let’s keep things real here…

Lottie Kind of Ruined Everything

Back in 2015, Nintendo responded to the insanely high demand for Super Smash Bros. amiibo figures by printing a ton of its new line of Animal Crossing figurines. As you might expect, people were nowhere near as interested in these, and these two were eventually shipped off to discount stores after retailers failed to sell them. In particular, almost every Target store in the US received hundreds of Lottie amiibo. Lottie was a character new to Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and her figurine was exclusive to Target at launch. It makes perfect sense that a character nobody knew about had an amiibo that didn’t sell.

In response, retailers dialed back their amiibo displays. There was no point using up valuable shelf space on toys that didn’t sell, so that’s why most stores these days display new amiibo much more subtly than they used to. Even in 2015, amiibo were starting to fizzle out.

But now, it’s 2022, and supply chain issues and rising costs have probably made amiibo production much more complicated. Yes — even simple characters like Steve and Alex are likely much more difficult to produce in the current world climate. Given that we’ve received no word on any new amiibo whatsoever since Min Min and Steve, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if certain figurines are fully canceled at this point. All we can do is wait for official word… but it’s important to note that even Nintendo’s official amiibo site hasn’t been updated for almost a year. It seems pretty clear that Nintendo is creating the rest of the Super Smash Bros. line out of obligation and not necessarily their interest.

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