Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Thing of Interest!: Amiiqo,The Piracy Hardware That Surprises No One

Here's a picture of my Amiibo collection:

I have 15 Amiibo. With an MSRP of $12.99 I have spent $194.85 before tax on Nintendo Amiibo figures. By my tally 50 Amiibo have been released with dozens more on the way. If I wanted all of the Amiibo released to date I would spend $649.50 before tax. That number is assuming I can find the Amiibo in a store or for retail price which has been a difficult task due to popularity, shortages, and eBay speculators.

What do these figures add to games? It depends on the figure and which game you are using. Certain figures are more useful than others unlocking more features that other figures can't. It is a physical add-on that seems to aim for quantity over quality. Lots of very small features in different games that add up to an underwhelming value.

Now, cut to the Amiiqo. Nope, that isn't a typo, it is a new product that can store up to 200 characters in a single NFC disk. The official line of the producer seems to be that you can use the functionality of your Amiibo collection without messing them up or even taking them out of the package. All of this for just $55. Sweet deal! Especially if you want to get the Amiibo benefits without purchasing every figure. It would not be too difficult to obtain the information of numerous Amiibo without ever making a purchase meaning that this handy-dandy NFC puck is the piracy device for Amiibo.

I won't be making any judgement calls about whether or not pirating NFC data from Amiibo is right or wrong. I think Amiibo will still sell really well and given my personal background with pirating Nintendo software (I don't do it anymore) I don't think I can claim any moral high-ground. All I will say on the matter is that I am not surprised that Amiiqo exists and I am not surprised that people want to buy it. Nintendo and its retail partners have done a pretty miserable job of meeting Amiibo demand. Every time I pop by a store, I check the games aisle to see if I will get lucky and spot some hidden new figure. That technique worked once. Even if they were fully stocked, I would be unable to purchase all of them due to their cost. It would make a lot of financial, and spatial, sense to shell out the $55 for this device to get all the benefits of the figures without buying all the plastic.

I am very curious to see how Nintendo handles the situation. I don't now if it is possible to lock out these types of devices from consoles, but I know that they will if they can, at least that would be consistent with their reactions to previous piracy hardware. Nintendo could work on stocking more figures, which seems to be their current plan. Increasing supply on the "rare" and exclusive Amiibo would drive down resale prices hopefully assuaging the anger of consumers. The solution I hope for is that Nintendo works on creating and expanding Amiibo cards, like the Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer set. I would much rather have some of these Amiibo in card form to combat the shelf over-stuffing that is currently happening in my apartment. I guess we'll wait and see.

Swashbucklingly yours,

-Peter