Nintendo is now selling more figurines than WiiU games

3 Feb 2016

Oh how times have changed for Nintendo. Following the publication of its Q3 2015 financial results, the company has revealed its best-selling item is a range of plastic figurines called Amiibos.

The quarterly earnings report released by Nintendo yesterday (2 February) appeared to show relatively marginal success with an operating profit of 33.5bn yen (€254m) from its total revenues of 224bn yen (€1.7bn), but when put on a year-by-year perspective shows a decrease of 17pc in revenues on 2014.

The same goes for its end-of-year forecast where it envisions making a total operating profit 50bn yen (€380m) having so far made 42.4bn yen (€350m) with a net profit so far of 29.1bn yen (€220m), which is a 36pc decline on the last financial year.

This obvious worry for the company has come down to the poor sales of its latest console, the WiiU, which is being dwarfed in sales since it launched with a total number of 12.6m units sold, compared with the estimated 36m units sold of the PS4, for example.

But perhaps the biggest surprise to come from Nintendo’s results has been the fact that, if current trends continue, the company might just ditch making video games entirely to focus on its most profitable business, the plastic figurines known as Amiibos.

Changing tack

The small figurines, aside from being collectible items featuring Nintendo’s best-known characters, are designed to be compatible with a number of WiiU games.

In the last quarter alone, Nintendo sold 9.9m of these connectable trinkets compared with 6.5m in the previous quarter and, given it’s a lot cheaper to produce than a video game, will see its range expanded considerably this year.

Compare this with the figure for the WiiU’s best-selling game, Splatoon, which sold around half the amount of Amiibo toys in Q3.

Other new features expected to be rolled out in 2016, Nintendo says, will be its first smartphone game called Miitomo, although, from the first glimpses of it, it seems more like a social media or entertainment app.

Additionally, Nintendo will roll out a mobile app called My Nintendo, which will give Nintendo users a platform to play games, shop in its store and buy gaming points.

After its launch in Japan next month, other Nintendo players globally will get access to it.

Mario image via Barone Firenze/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic