Over this past weekend I got the chance to check out a pretty cool convention in Calgary Alberta called Otafest – which is held annually at the University of Calgary. Amongst the collectable pins, wall-scrolls, figures, videogames and other regular convention merchandise one particular thing caught my eye – the absolute absurd amount of money scalpers were asking for some of the rarer amiibos. Is it time for Nintendo to step in and begin producing some of harder to find miniature figures?
Tucked near the end of one of the rows in the vendor’s area a display of amiibo caught my eye almost immediately. I have been looking for a Link amiibo for the past two or three weeks and when I saw one sitting there unsold on the rack I couldn’t help but be a little excited. My surprise quickly faded into disappointment when I read the price tag, Link could be mine if I was willing to part with $60. This particular dealer even had the rare pre-order only golden Mario amiibo for sale if I was willing to part with over $80.
How can scalpers get away with charging triple and even quadruple the MSRP of some amiibo? Nintendo hasn’t exactly been forward with fans in the past few months about which figures are, for the time being, only available as limited prints. Fans rushed to GameStop’s website to pre-order Xenoblade Chronicle’s Shulk earlier this year resulting in the website crashing. First and second wave figures like Marth and Link are still scarce and up until recently Nintendo has refused to admit that maybe they misjudged the popularity of their latest hit.
If Nintendo isn’t producing enough figures to meet the demand than what is the problem with scalpers like the ones I saw at Otafest? Well, a quick google search shows that I could quickly purchase a Link amiibo for about $26.00 CDN, still higher than the MSRP but a far cry from the over double the secondary market price online. What about those pre-order only golden Mario amiibo that Wal-Mart sold out of almost immediately? They certainly aren’t anywhere near $80… the going rate is about $42.00 CDN with shipping, yet again the scalpers at this particular convention where asking double the current secondary market price.
In the end it is ultimately Nintendo that could help alleviate this price gouging by producing more figures. I’m not even asking them to produce lesser known characters like Shulk but when a franchise mainstay like Link goes missing in action on store shelves there is clearly a problem. As for those scalpers in the row-end booth I hope their amiibos went unsold because it is not Nintendo’s hardcore fans who should be paying outrageous prices.
As for the rest of the convention – it went splendidly but my desk still feels a little bare without Link protecting it.
Check out a gallery of some of the cooler cosplay costumes I observed at Otafest below: