Written by Twisted Ideas
Nintendo in its need to innovate has been promoting their Amiibo figurines for the past couple of months. Amiibo are miniature statues that can unlock content and interact with games on the Wii U and the New Nintendo 3DS (currently out only in Japan and Australia). It’s similar to the Skylanders and Disney Infinity figures but instead of unlocking characters it unlocks additional features on multiple games.
The Amiibos have potential for perceived value for downloadable content. If enough games take advantage of Amiibos and older models won’t go obsolete after a handful of game then you can easily avoid dealing with the slow and unorganized Nintendo eShop.
One of the major concerns for the Amiibo’s is that they can only hold game information for one game at a time. The only game that can save information on an Amiibo is Super Smash Bros at the moment but any other game that utilizes this will require that the old data be erased. It’s too early to tell the capacity that games can or will take advantage of this technology but this seems very short-sighted of Nintendo.
This is the problem with Nintendo, they don’t plan for the future as seen numerous times. Maybe Nintendo thinks that people will have multiple Amiibo and spread out any saved game data across the collection. It’s hard to discern the potential of the Amiibos but when it seems this limited its hard to see it being anything other than a $13 toy that might unlock a few neat extras and a couple of games. Nintendo is inviting third-party developers to utilize Amiibos but who’s to say that someone won’t have innovative ideas that could take advantage only if an Amiibo could have more flexibility. What if Nintendo thinks of some neat feature along the lines of the Street Pass but can’t take full advantage of it because they didn’t think of it during development.
It’s hard to see the Amiibo as anything other than a gimmick. Nintendo has had gimmicks that have worked in the past and currently but I can’t see this one working out the way Nintendo expects. What I don’t want to see is Nintendo release Amiibo 2.0 some time in the future but I’m afraid that if they discover potential in the system that they didn’t think of then we will.