While Nintendo decisively won the last console battle with the innovative Wii, the novelty has since then been worn out. You can only swing the remote controller around for so long before it becomes repetitive and mundane. Industy experts believe that the Wii was a gimmick that would only work once. As a result, no one expected the Wii’s successor WiiU to stand a chance In the sixth console war. All bets were on Xbox One and PS4
The total unit sales of WiiU has been underwhelming and there are many reasons for it. First, the WiiU’s hardware is massively underpowered, especially against Sony’s state of the art PS4. Second, its multiplayer service is no match against Microsoft’s Xbox live service. Third, the lack of third-party support continues to haunt Nintendo ever since their N64 days.
If you are a multi-platform developer it’s simply not worth it to devote any resources to the WiiU because of its weak hardware and because of the fact that third party games never really sell that well on Nintendo’s console to begin with. With lagging-sales behind their rivals, the WiiU seems to be a dead fish in the water. This all changed with the arrivals of various AAA games and amiibos. WiiU sales has hit record highs.
Amiibos will keep Nintendo competitive
Amiibos are a series of figurines produced for 3DS and WiiU. The amibos are modelled after characters from Nintendo’s various gaming franchises. It uses near field communication (NFC) to interact with the game. Currently, amiibos has the capability to “learn” from humans and the game’s AI to improve its skill level — provided that the game supports amiibos interaction.
Amiibo is supported in the new Super Smash Bros. so that you can constantly play with it to level up its skill level. It would eventually learn your habits and then exploit your weaknesses to endlessly defeat you. Its ability to compete is no joke.
Recently, a fox amiibo called WaveShine nearly won a local Smash Bros. tournament when it was randomly entered as a joke. WaveShine took everyone by surprise and attendants thought it was hilarious that it advanced that far into the tournament. At this rate it’s only a matter of time before Amiibos become self-aware and rise to become Skynet.
The first of Amiibo figurines were released in November 2014 for $15. It instantly soldout everywhere in America partly due to it’s collectible value and partly because of its future possibilities. The sky is the limit for this AI—there might be Super Smash Bros tournaments dedicated to amiibos only. There might even be games based on Amiibos only. This phenomenon is similar to the joy of collecting pokemons and leveling it up to be a monster that destroys everything in its path. Nintendo is well aware of their early success and they are working hard to incorporate these figurines into their new games.
The secret weapon of war
The best part about Amiibos for Nintendo is that the concept cannot be successfully duplicated by Sony and Microsoft. This earned Amiibos’s status as the secret weapon of the console war. Other gaming companies can copy Nintendo’s wireless controller and other innovative game ideas in the past, but simply copying is not going to work this time. Nintendo has way too many iconic gaming character compared to other companies in the world: Mario, Luigi, Link, Pikachu, Samus, Peach, Donkey Kong, Fox, MegaMan, Marth, etc. Who does Microsoft and Sony have in comparison to that all-star line up? Crash? Master Chief? Leon from Resident Evil? It simply won’t work.
Furthermore, Nintendo mostly produces their games in-house. They own the right to all these characters so they can do cross-over between games without any problems. Moreover, it’s not that hard to incorporate amiibos in the game as long as the game has a functionable multiplayer mode. Expect future zelda, starfox, and mario games to be fully supported by the amiibos in some form or another.
With their secret weapon amiibos, Nintendo once again defied everyone’s expectation by their sheer ability to innovate. Nintendo might no longer have the resources to create the most powerful hardware or the best multiplayer platform, but the company always makes up for its shortcomings by constantly pushing the gaming industry forward to places where no other gaming companies could.
Read More: A Look At The World Of Nintendo Amiibos