Amiibos, the insanely popular and infamously low stocked statues that are Nintendo’s answer to Activision’s Skylanders and Disney Infinity. While the statues are really cool and, in my opinion, better crafted than the competition, Activision and Disney have something integral that Nintendo currently does not; a game that takes advantage of the real world figures. As E3 is descending upon us, I have a theory that includes a platform that could skyrocket the value of amiibos and set them uniquely apart from the competition.
The problem Nintendo has positioned itself in is the inability to justifiably make a clone of Skylanders or Disney Infinity. The reason a Nintendo sand box game would be, plainly put, silly is because of how different amiibo of the same line are. Skylanders were made for the specific games of the series and Disney Infinity redesigned their characters to fit the aesthetic of the game Avalanche developed. While Nintendo’s amiibos do share a similar look in that they are all based on the character art in Super Smash Brothers, SSB is the only game where having an incredibly large variety of characters with long, colorful backgrounds works well and makes sense, partly because Smash Bros. also acts as a Nintendo museum. Trying to mesh sets based on Mario with a set based on Greninja may possibly be fantastic, but likely would feel nonsensical and end up being not as well executed as the competition has been developing for years. And age is a factor for Nintendo, the other two figure based games have been around for years, with many expansions and refinements, so the Big N’s game may be rougher than the competitions for a long time. Nintendo isn’t known for copying other developers to make a quick buck, but instead has solidified it’s place by making original games, weather the games are stellar or not, they have always marched to the beat of their own drum.
So what does Nintendo do with amiibos? I propose they develop original content and then connect them to each individual amiibo. That means original games that are about the quality of the Kirby minigames from Triple Deluxe, like Kirby Fighters or King Dedede’s rhythm game, or even games with more content, like Pushmo. Each game should then be connected to each character, for example every Mario amiibo would unlock a specific game, while every Greninja amiibo unlocks a different game. Because of the amiibo shortages, Nintendo cannot offer these games through amiibos alone, especially after apologizing for the limited quantities of amiibo, because it would be unjust of Nintendo to totally cut off a large population of gamers who don’t own a Villager amiibo but still want to play the Villager game. Plus that would leave a ton of money on the table, which is never good for any business. The solution is to offer all amiibo games on the eShop for about $20 and because of their simple nature, the games could be cross buy between Wii U and 3DS. That way, everyone can play the games if they so choose, but owners of the amiibo get the games for only $13 a piece and have a cool statue to boot. With the aforementioned system, everyone gets the game, but people who invest in the physical amiibo are getting the same content for a cheaper price and the feeling of being a premium customer.
Of course, developing 40+ games, even simple ones, would take a lot of time and resources on Nintendo’s part and the final product would end up being free to a fair chunk of people who would normally buy the game. So my idea may end up being more of a pipe dream then anything, but fear not because I have a more realistic idea for Nintendo. The Big N recently rolled out a free app called amiibo tap, pictred above. The premise of the app is every amiibo has a roughly 2 minute demo of a NES or SNES game assigned to it and by tapping the amiibo to the Gamepad, you can then play through the demo. I could see Nintendo rolling out a premium version of amiibo tap in a $20-$30 range and instead of a comically short demo, tapping an amiibo unlocks the whole game Virtual Console game. Nintendo likely doesn’t make a ton of money off of Virtual Console, so they could afford to bolster the worth of amiibo by taking a small hit. The app should definitely be cross platform to promote a unity between systems. I would be willing to pay even more if Nintendo expanded the range of games to include Nintendo 64 games and would go so far as to pay $50 if my amiibo unlocked two games, a console game on Wii U and a portable game on 3DS, but I have quite a few amiibos and would unlock a lot of games, there may not be as much value in that package if you only own 1 or 2 amiibos.
There you go Nintendo, first idea is free, but I’m charging for the next ones! Anyways, what do you think? Would individual games or a premium amiibo tap satisfy you or nah? Let me know down in the comments below, or better yet, bring the conversation on over to Twitter.