What Are Amiibo and Why Are People Obsessed with Collecting Them?

nintendo logo

Nintendo is one of the most recognized and beloved video game developers in the world. They have been around for more than 100 years and have created several iconic franchises, including: Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon. They were also responsible for the incredibly popular Wii gaming console.

nintendo amiibo

Nintendo's focus has long been been video game software and hardware. In 2014, Nintendo decided to enter the toy market and release amiibo, small figures that work in tandem with their video games. By tapping the amiibo on a Wii U gamepad or on a New 3DS, the user is able to unlock several bonus features within certain games.

Features range from bonus levels, to outfits, to being able to pit several amiibo against each other in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

amiibo graphic

These amiibo have proven to be massively popular, especially in the United States. Worldwide, amiibo have shipped approximately 10.5 million units as of May 2015.

amiibo geographic breakdown

Seen alone, the numbers can be deceiving. Amiibo are constantly in short supply, both online and in retail. It could be that Nintendo didn't anticipate the popularity of their new venture. They even officially apologized for these shortages.

"We appreciate the enthusiasm that our fans continue to show toward amiibo. Sales for the product have exceeded our expectations. We understand how frustrating it can be at times if consumers are unable to find certain figures, and we apologize for that."

amiibo toy display

These shortages have caused the price ($13) of amiibo to double and even quadruple as people resell them online. This is a problem, particularly for those who want to collect every single one. Some amiibo can sell out minutes after they open for pre-order. Hopefully Nintendo is able to remedy the situation soon.

amiibo character

There have even been instances where defected amiibo have sold for thousands of dollars. A Samus amiibo with two arm canons, instead of the standard one, sold for a ridiculous $2,500 on ebay last year. That amount pales in comparison to a Princess Peach amiibo, without legs, which sold for a staggering $25,100! Why not buy a car instead?

amiibo collection

What makes people so crazy about collecting these figures? Many people don't even open the packaging, opting to stack the boxes for display. It could be the high quality of the products, considering the price, or the fact that Nintendo is producing the figures themselves. The amount of amiibo in each series, particularly the Super Smash Bros. series, prompts collectors to amass dozens of these figures. There will be more than 50 unique figures in the Super Smash Bros. series.

amiibo wall display

It's apparent that Nintendo has struck metaphorical gold with their new product. We can only hope that not too many people have to go through rehab to fight their new amiibo-collecting-addictions.  

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What Are Amiibo and Why Are People Obsessed with Collecting Them?
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