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Amiibo Sales Could Be Stronger In Japan Says Nintendo President


During a financial results briefing, Nintendo revealed that Japan only accounts for 11% of all Amiibo figurine sales. During a Q&A with investors, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata touched upon Amiibo sales in Japan and what can be done to increase them.


Iwata explains that when Nintendo first pitched Amiibo to Japanese retailers, they were told that the figurines were too large and expensive in comparison to what was considered the standard size for Japanese toy figurines. However, Nintendo felt that the Amiibo were just right for the global market as a whole and pushed on while maintaining them at the same size.


In addition to this, one of the other reasons that Amiibo figurines haven’t taken off in Japan is because they’re harder to explain, since the functionality of a single Amiibo changes from game to game. Iwata says Nintendo’s next step will be to try and better communicate how Amiibo figurines work to the Japanese audience. One of the ways they’re doing this is by releasing a free Wii U app where you can trial versions of NES and SNES games using Amiibo figurines you own.


Beyond that, Iwata says, the New Nintendo 3DS will contribute to Amiibo sales in Japan as well. According to Iwata, when Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS saw an update patch to make it compatible with the Amiibo figurines, sales of Amiibo saw a slight increase in Japan. Iwata says that the New Nintendo 3DS compatibility with Amiibo and the upcoming NFC adapter for the regular 3DS will help with Amiibo sales as well.


Despite relatively lower sales in Japan, the Amiibo line is doing well globally. Iwata said in his presentation that 5.7 million Amiibo figurines had been shipped worldwide by the end of 2014, and that Australia saw a 90% sell-through of its stock.


Food for thought:

Iwata also explains why Amiibo figurines all cost the same, despite the fact that some are clearly more expensive to manufacture than others. He said to investors: “Since setting different price points could be misinterpreted as the company valuing certain characters more than others, we came to the decision to set an MSRP that would return a profit from the Amiibo platform as a whole.”

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.