Whatever good feelings Nintendo had generated from their latest goody-bag-filled Direct announcement on April 1 appears to have been erased in the disaster that was April 2. That was the day Wave 4 of the Amiibo figures officially went up for preorder, and the results were even worse than with previous waves. Reports came in from all over the country of every GameStop (and there is a lot of them) being packed tight with willing Amiibo buyers, who were then forced to wait in a line that didn’t move for an average of 2 hours while the chain’s overwhelmed servers attempted to take orders from every single store at once.
And while their servers were down, of course, no one could buy anything else. Consumers didn’t get to spend money, and GameStop didn’t get to make money. Literally the only player in the market to make a profit that day was Nintendo.
Standing in those lines were many journalists who write for heavy-traffic gaming websites, and when they got home, they unleashed their rage. Some got started WHILE in line:
I think I’ll stop by my local GameStop on my way home. Shouldn’t be too busy OH GOD WHAT IS GOING ON AHHH
— Matthew Green (@PressTheButtons) April 2, 2015
Fire Emblem characters are already sold out after the first 5 people got processed. What a nightmare of a disaster of a farce
— Chris Kohler (@kobunheat) April 2, 2015
What particularly galls them all is the fact that Nintendo already saw this mess happen with Wave 3, they promised to improve service and stock, and that is exactly what DIDN’T happen. Obtaining just one Amiibo from the new line was a bigger headache than it had ever been, and they made sure to let all their readers know:
I’ve said it multiple times, but regardless of “port strikes,” “unforeseen demand,” “retail fumblings,” or other issues not attributed to Nintendo, most of the problems with each wave stem from the mere fact that Nintendo itself is making these exclusivity deals in the US. The shocking thing is that it saw how poorly these deals went down with prior waves and decided “screw it, let’s do more.” —Destructoid
Until this whole stock situation gets under control, I’m done. My collection will sit on my shelf, unfinished, because it’s not worth it. It’s not worth waiting two hours in a store while my fiancée feeds our infant son in our car (I’m so sorry, honey, I had no idea it would take that long. You’re amazing!). It’s not worth dealing with the disappointment that comes from refreshing a website for a half-hour, only to have something disappear completely. And because everything is going to get sold regardless of site issues or consumer mistreatment, no one is going to learn a damn thing from any of this. So yeah, until I can go in a store and buy the thing without subjecting myself to retail torture, this Amiibo fanatic is out. —GamesRadar
Meanwhile, while Nintendo flushes away its friends in the written press, it continues to erode support from those on the video side. Their restrictive “Creators Program” is still severely limiting what can be discussed (or hyped free of charge) about their products, and famously, they earned the wrath of PewDiePie who vowed to never Let’s Play a Nintendo game again. Now he’s been joined by “Angry” Joe Vargas, who recently had his Mario Party 10 video deleted by the company.
While part of this is on Joe for taking footage that wasn’t on their list, the bigger problem is that Nintendo has such a list in the first place. Some of these recent decisions have been appallingly bad, incredibly tone-deaf and anti-consumer in ways that would sink most other companies. What is most annoying is that GamesRadar is right — the likelihood of their learning a thing or changing their ways is very small, given that they’re going to earn a profit anyway. They could live off Pokemon alone if they had to.
The big question is how much fans are willing to put up with before they give up entirely. I got a big sense of “forget Amiibo, I don’t need them anymore” from this week’s whole mess, and if that vibe continues to linger, Nintendo will have no one to blame but themselves for the downward slide in Amiibo sales.