After a few months of incredible success for Nintendo’s amiibo figures, they officially revealed information on sales numbers just recently. With over 5.7 million sold as of a few weeks ago, there is no doubt Nintendo has found a new moneymaker to help while the Wii U has been struggling. However, according to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, they wouldn’t be anywhere near as successful in the West if it weren’t for two other similar products.
During the end of the fiscal year earnings call for Nintendo, Iwata discussed the popularity of amiibo and just how both Skylanders and Disney Infinity allowed them to find success in the Western markets.
“When it comes to the figure and video game entertainment category, there are two existing franchises: Activision released Skylanders four years ago, and Disney released Disney Infinity two years ago. In contrast to these two franchises, in which each figure is compatible with one software title, amiibo is compatible with multiple software titles. While under development, it was internally referred to as “NFP (Nintendo Figurine Platform).” In other words, we were spreading the message inside the company that amiibo would be a “platform.” What we are offering with one amiibo figure is the ability to experience a range of entertainment with a variety of software.
“However, before we actually launched Amiibo, the number of consumers who were aware of the overall concept of this product category, namely, toy figures are lined up on a store shelf in the video game section and when you buy and use it with a game, something very fun would happen, differed greatly in Japan from the rest of the world.”
Iwata also goes into further detail to explain that Nintendo didn’t know how the figures would fair in Japan at all, because Skylanders and Disney Infinity are not big there like they are in the US. He also said that Japanese distributors were not fans of the larger size and cost for the amiibo at first, but they decided to launch them in the country anyways. Regardless, the amiibo craze just keeps growing, so it looks like Nintendo definitely made a very wise choice.