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access_time April 19, 2015 at 3:59 PM in Nintendo by Justin Weinblatt

Amiibos Are The Biggest Rip Off Since Horse Armor


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.

Amiibo steam

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.


  • Ramon Aranda April 20, 2015 at 7:43 AM

    And yet I still want to collect them lol

    • Robert Hurkman May 9, 2017 at 12:06 PM

      I agree 100%, it’s actually quite annoying, im the type of gamer that likes to complete games and collect all the items, and with some games the only way is to shell out for amiibos, and to make it worse, most amiibos are game specific, aka, Kirby is great for the new Kirby game, however the limited edition links barely do anything except for breath of the wild. I personally think it’s really tacky to have us spend $60 for a game, then expect us to pay $12+ per amiibo to enhance that same game/unlock all the bonuses. If they want to go that route, I would suggest giving the games for free download, then buy the amiibos. Sorry for the rant, great article

  • smashbrolink April 20, 2015 at 11:41 AM

    I’ve only got two of the things and they’ve already more than surpassed what I paid for them in value.
    In Hyrule Warriors alone, out of just Shulk and Link, I’ve gotten several million Rupees and valuable weapons for use and resell, and gold mats that would have taken a long mission’s worth of time, and substantial luck, to obtain otherwise.

    That’s not even close to being like the horse armor fiasco precisely BECAUSE they continue to offer rewards across multiple games.
    Downplaying that fact by whining about not being able to download FE characters on CNSteam, doesn’t change the fact that those figures will continue rewarding things to their owner beyond the scope of the games they were origionally bought for.
    When you buy Robin, you’re getting a piece of DLC that will change and grow in value from game to game.
    Hell, I can pretty much guarantee you that you’ll get use out of them in the new FE game for 3DS as well as SMT X FE.

    It’s not horse armor.
    Quit trying to spin it as such.

    • Justin Weinblatt April 20, 2015 at 2:47 PM

      First, explain to me why any content on my game cartridge should be blocked.
      Next, explain to me why the only way to unlock that content on my cartridge should require me to buy 10 dollars worth of plastic.

      After that, explain to me why these pieces of plastic that are required to play content that is already on my cartridge should be produced in limited quantities, so that only a certain amount of players with the game can play the content regardless of their willingness to pay.

      Amiibo are not as bad as horse armor. They are worse.

      Horse armor was simple cosmetic flair with no impact on gameplay. Worth 2 bucks? Hell no, but you weren’t missing out by not buying it. Meanwhile Amiibo inherently limits game content to a certain number of people. There is absolutely no reason that everybody who wants to play the content on their game card should not have that ability, even if they don’t want to play it. Even IF I was willing to pay 13 dollars for a character in Codename Steam I couldn’t. That is a viciously anti-consumer policy.

      Suppose Link wasn’t in the default Smash roster, and the only way to play as him was through buying an Amiibo, of which only 10,000 were produced. Can you imagine the backlash Nintendo would get for that? The only difference here is that less people care about Codename S.T.E.A.M., but that in no way means the policy is any less deplorable.

      Maybe the Amiibo will pay off in time, but that in no way excuses preventing customers from getting the content they want, when there is no reason that Nintendo could not offer it to everyone.

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