Nintendo's handling of their amiibo figures (small, stationary collectible toys that can be used with select Wii U and 3DS games to unlock items and features) has left much to be desired.
It took a long time for Nintendo to really address the issue, much less solve it, but the company finally issued a statement today.
"We appreciate the enthusiasm that our fans continue to show toward amiibo," it begins. "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.
"We're trying to meet the demands of our fans and consumers by increasing the amount of amiibo we manufacture and ship to retail. We may continue to see consumer demand outpace supply levels for certain characters at times, but we will do our best to prevent that from happening."
We'll have to wait and see if this actually happens the way Nintendo says it will, but that's very good to hear. The toys' functionality in games is one thing -- I personally wish it were better, but the amiibo-exclusive features are still fun to have -- but the inability for people to buy figures for their favorite characters is a huge problem. Your kid wants a Ness amiibo because that's their favorite Super Smash Bros. character? Too bad. Their fantastic taste in video games can't be rewarded because Nintendo didn't make nearly enough of those toys to go around.
Aside from a lot of "You snooze you lose"-esque responses Nintendo has previously addressed only one figure's unavailability: the Fire Emblem character Marth, whose figure they've said will make its way back to stores at some point in the future. I've personally been hoping to get my hands on that one, as well as the Fire Emblem character Lucina. She was in my shopping cart on BestBuy.com when they went up for pre-order, but the amiibo sold out before I could process my order.
Thankfully, there's a chance her figure (and others) will come back. "As our library of amiibo continues to grow, some figures will be easier to find than others. We are constantly looking for the opportunity to reissue amiibo and are already making plans to bring back some currently out-of-stock amiibo figures. Stay tuned for details," Nintendo says.
"Nintendo plans to make it easier for consumers to know when new amiibo are on the way, through Nintendo press announcements, timely updates on our social media channels and working closely with retailers." That would help, considering that in the past amiibo collectors have had to rely on Twitter posts of strangers shouting, "Oh my gosh Toys 'R Us pre-orders have gone live!" That doesn't create a very even (or fun) playing field.
"We remain committed to keeping amiibo affordable and easy to access as a platform to enhance game-play experiences," Nintendo says. "These plans include Animal Crossing amiibo cards that will become available by the end of 2015, and a free-to-download app for Wii U called amiibo tap: Nintendo's Greatest Bits that launched on April 30, 2015, that lets consumers enjoy playable scenes from certain NES and Super NES games with amiibo."
I, for one, hope Nintendo is serious about this. It would be great for Nintendo's fans to be able to buy the figures they want without having to resort to paying triple for them on eBay.