Since DLC first arrived on the scene, gamers have been understandably skeptical about it. Complaints have ranged from DLC being overpriced, on disc content being paywalled, and customers being prevented from a full experience unless they bought DLC. Nintendo has proved that gamers are indeed willing to accept all of these things, as long as the DLC is wrapped in a pretty package.
To start off, I am far from a Nintendo hater. I feel it necessary to say that because of how reactive the internet can be. I have posted many positive articles about Nintendo, and I feel they have done DLC right with games like Mario Kart 8 and New Super Mario Bros. U. That being said, when they do something that is incredibly anti-consumer, I’ll call them out on it.
So, I bought Codename S.T.E.A.M. recently, which was an absolutely fantastic game. After playing the game, I was eager to extend the experience with some Fire Emblem inspired DLC. Of course, if I wanted to play as Robin, Chrom, Lucina, or Marth, I would have to spend $12 bucks a pop to unlock them. Twelve dollars for a character is ridiculous in any game, especially a turn based strategy game with limited animation.
Amiibo had potential as an idea that could really enhance and connect your experiences over a number of games, but it has primarily been used as a form of DLC. You want to be able to use the spinner weapon in Hyrule Warriors? Twelve dollars please. You want to play the bonus missions in Splatoon? Twelve dollars please. Care to look for pixel Toad? Twelve dollars please.
Oh, but you also get the figurine, you say? Well, I don’t really care. I have bought several Amiibos as a collector’s item when I liked the way they looked. If people like Amiibos, and would like to buy an
Amiibo/DLC bundle for $12 than alright. The fact that I have to buy an Amiibo to get DLC is not alright. The data for Robin is on my cartridge of Codename S.T.E.A.M. (the storage capacity of NFC is 8kb or less). It’s bad enough that I have to pay for content already on the Amiibo at all. The fact that I can’t unlock the data unless I pay an extra 10 dollars for a figure I may or may not want is a pure rip off.
That’s assuming I could find the Amiibo I want. If Amiibos were merely figurines, I wouldn’t have a problem with Nintendo making them scarce, intentionally or otherwise. When the figurines are tied to gameplay features, scarcity is absolutely unacceptable. You want to unlock features that are locked on your games but can’t secure one of the preorders that sell out within an hour? Well, sucks to be you then. You can pay $40+ dollars or the content is locked forever.
You can compare Amiibos to other NFC figurines, but there is a key difference. If I want to buy Skylanders, I know well in advance that my experience will be intrinsically tied to figurine collecting. If I’m not down with that, I wouldn’t buy the game. When buying something like Hyrule Warriors, Codename S.T.E.A.M., or Captain Toad, I don’t implicitly accept the figurine model when I make my purchase.
You can point out that Amiibos work over multiple games, that they are generally nice looking, or that the content they unlock isn’t essential for gaming. None of that matters. I should not have to spend 10 dollars for a hard to find chunk of plastic that I don’t want to unlock content that is on my game cartridge. If content was available without the plastic for a lower price, that’d be one thing. As it stands, Amiibos are a total rip off.