On 20 October 2016, Nintendo officially released a trailer of their upcoming new games console, the Nintendo Switch. The Nintendo Wii U was barely a blip on the radar when you compare it to the other giants in the industry, the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft XBOX One.
These two consoles always overshadowed Nintendo and Nintendo tried to use Amiibo to make their console relevant. However, it partially failed. Now, Nintendo is saying that due to fewer new games supporting Amiibo technology, the sales of Amiibo have plummeted over the last year.
Launched in 2014, Amiibo was intended to get gamers into buying figurines that could be brought to life within their game using wireless communications protocol. Hence the term “toys-to-life”. These figurines are also called Amiibos.
The Amiibo feature was initially launched and integrated in Super Smash Bros. Nintendo released figurines of beloved characters, such as Mario, Link, Fox, and Samus.
Amiibo Lacking Support from Games
Amiibo figurines were initially quite popular with many Nintendo gamers. Other games soon followed suit with the technology. Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda, staples of Nintendo’s rich games library, used Amiibos in their games.
Nintendo counted on Amiibos to get them back in the console wars as a major player and while it did boost their sales initially, the feature never really caught on.
Apart from a few Nintendo titles, not many third-party games supported the Amiibo feature. Games like Splatoon and Monster Hunter Stories were few and far between in the games library. The sales of Amiibos figures quickly waned, as can be seen in Nintendo’s latest financial report.
In the fiscal year of 2016, roughly 10.6 million Amiibo units were sold. In comparison, only about 3.8 million Amiibo units were sold in the fiscal year of 2017. That is a staggering drop! According to Nintendo, only 560,000 Wii U units were sold in the past 6 months, a drastic 53% less than the number of units (1.1 million) sold in the same period last year.
Nintendo claims the decline in Amiibo sales can be attributed to the lack of third-party titles. Splatoon was released in 2015 to huge success, but nothing of that nature came out in 2016. As a result, Wii U software sales dropped by 33 percent this year.
On the bright side, Nintendo projects that the upcoming release of Pokémon Sun and Moon will boost their sales. While Amiibos may not have caught on as Nintendo would have hoped, they are still optimistic that things will go their way.