Most of us are familiar with “consumer’s itch.”
The itch to replace your perfectly good iPhone 5 with a sparkly new iPhone 6. The itch to trade in your old car for this year’s brand spanking new model. The itch to buy the latest summer fashions released by your favorite name brand. The itch to obtain that shiny new and improved toy that may sometimes offer only a marginal, incremental, and oftentimes negligible improvement to your previous experience. It’s an itch that most of us hungry consumers need to scratch from time to time, whether they’re smart buys or not. As of late, our old and dear friend, Nintendo, has been providing us with a multitude of ways to scratch said itch, including the recently released New Nintendo 3DS, remastered versions of our favorite classics like Wind Waker HD and Majora’s Mask 3D, and the stressful, headache inducing “amiibo Hunt.”
Speaking of amiibo, one of the most widely discussed additions to the ever expanding lineup is Gold Mario. Some argue that it’s ridiculous to offer the same old character with a different coat of paint, which could possibly have the same functionality as your garden variety Mario amiibo (Super Smash Bros. or Super Mario Bros. series). Others claim that it’s great that we’re seeing a wider spectrum of amiibo offerings and are clamoring for more of the same – Pink Gold Peach has been a popular suggestion. I tend to agree with the latter sentiment.
We know that Nintendo has been struggling to turn a profit in recent years. While the Wii U and 3DS are picking up speed, it’s still smart of the Big N to look for additional ways to diversify their sources of income. amiibo have sold much better than anticipated, and Nintendo knows it. I applaud them for realizing this success and for taking advantage of an increasingly lucrative product. I’m quite positive that the Gold and Silver Mario amiibo were conceived after news of the stellar sales reached headquarters, so in reality, the creation of these alternate amiibo was just a good business decision. Even the simple paint jobs make sense – the resulting reduction in production costs no doubt increases their profit margin.
To me, the birth of Gold and Silver Mario is a good thing. It gives us “itchy” consumers a greater variety to choose from when supporting our favorite game company. We already know that our beloved Ninty wouldn’t require us to purchase EVERY amiibo figure in existence to enjoy the full experiences in their games. Why not look at it as an opportunity to expand our personal Nintendo collections? Let’s get that Pink Gold Peach, or how about a Rose Gold Daisy? Give us a Legend of Zelda series, a Star Fox series, a Metroid series, and a Fire Emblem series. Heck, how about a Paper Mario series, or even a Mario Kart series?
Do we grumble when our favorite designer releases MORE styles than originally announced? No, not really. Do we complain when our preferred car company offers more optional add-ons to choose from at purchase? Hardly. Do we lament an expanded menu at our regular coffee shop? No way. We, as consumers, thrive on choices. In the end, the money Nintendo makes from all these different amiibo will, in turn, support the company’s growth; which will – in an ideal world – lead to better video games, improved hardware, and a bright future for the venerable company that we all love (and sometimes love to hate).
Those who lament the limited availability of certain figures might forget that these are new and uncharted waters for Nintendo. They’ve already promised us better availability for upcoming releases, including the Gold Mario (see an article about this here – Nintendo: Gold Mario amiibo pre-orders ‘represent just a small fraction of product made available’). It’s a little glimmer of hope that could eventually eradicate those unscrupulous amiibo scalpers. We could help this along by refusing to buy those ridiculously priced amiibo popping up on eBay, Amazon, and Craig’s List. Instead, speak out on Twitter and social media. Let Nintendo hear about your frustrations and how annoyed you are. Hey, Marth is being restocked, right? There’s always the possibility of others following suit.
Let Gold Mario live and thrive so that many more can follow, bolstering our own personal collections, elevating Nintendo’s success as a gaming giant, and giving us more ways to relieve that nasty itch. How about an Emerald Green Luigi, eh?