A severe shortage of Animal Crossing amiibo cards has finally prompted Nintendo to make its depleted supply to order to prevent scalpers from continuing to scam Animal Crossing: New Horizons players out of their money. If there’s anything the publisher has likely learned, it’s that some players feel very strongly about their favorite characters and are willing to pay virtually any price to get them.
In addition to traditional toys-to-life amiibo being compatible with Animal Crossing: New Leaf and New Horizons, Nintendo also produces and sells an entire line of collectible Animal Crossing amiibo cards, which can be used just like the real things to summon villagers for a visit and a chance to invite them to live in their villages or islands permanently. With almost 400 villagers in the latest Switch entry, it’s understandable that those cards have quickly sold out each time that Nintendo has restocked them, creating a third-party market in which sellers are charging absurd amounts of money for simple NFC cards. It’s gotten so bad that players are resorting to making their own cards at home, and Nintendo is evidently aware of the potential sales its scarce production model is throwing down the drain.
At long last, Game WATCH reports that Nintendo’s long-awaited restock is now available for pre-order in Japan, as translated by Siliconera‘s Kazuma Hashimoto. Including amiibo cards “from all four series” of card packs and the “the ‘Welcome Amiibo’ line,” pre-orders for the amiibo card packs are available now through “June 30, 2020.” Most notable is that Nintendo’s usual production approach is being abandoned this time around, as the company’s made the smart choice to “manufacture cards to order” as a means of ensuring that this restock will soundly defeat the recent “price inflation of amiibo cards from third party sellers.” Unfortunately for anyone who might need a refund, that means any pre-orders can’t be cancelled once placed, but that’s a price that must be collectively paid to avoid business as usual.
On the one hand, Nintendo’s consistent underproduction of items like amiibo – which it knows abundantly well to be bestsellers – that initially caused this issue. That characteristic approach to the sale peripherals has become such a signature move for Nintendo that many question if its low supplies of high demand products is due to incompetence, or if it outlines an intentional bid by the company to set up an artificially scarce market in which it can charge players full price for items for as long as it manufactures them. On the other hand, though, Nintendo’s willingness to budge in this case is one of the most pro-consumer things it’s done since the presidency of the late Satoru Iwata. While that’s not saying an incredible amount, it’s still a vital step in the right direction.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons has already solidly cemented itself as one of the most profitable games of this console generation, so Nintendo‘s sudden change of manufacturing habits to ensure that everyone who wants amiibo cards will get them seems clearly driven by that game’s sudden success. Moving forward, it can be hoped the manufacturer adopts similar strategies for maximum mutual benefit for more than just data and cute villager faces on cards.