If you’re looking to get your hands on Nintendo’s new Amiibo figurines, which contain an embedded NFC chip and can be used to build characters in compatible Wii U games, Loot Crate has an option (via Engadget) that’s a little more exciting than just buying them all up at retail as soon as they’re available. The monthly subscription startup has teamed with Nintendo to offer an Amiibo monthly service, which will deliver 10 Amiibos in total across three shipments delivered during the upcoming holiday season.
Right now, Loot Crate and Nintendo are only seeking sign-ups from those interested in the service, without revealing too much about pricing or the “few surprises” teased by the announcement on top of the Amiibo delivery. But we know that Nintendo is charging the going rate for toys-to-life category figurines – around $12.99, on par with both Disney Infinity and Skylanders – for individual units.
Typically, Loot Crate’s offerings, which include various random items aimed to appeal to the sci-fi, video game or general ThinkGeek type consumer, offer a discount vs. buying the stuff they include individually. Subscribers pay between around $12 and $14 per month, depending on their subscription term, plus shipping, and get a themed pack of goodies every month.
The Nintendo deal will likely be more expensive than the normal arrangement, but it’s unclear whether it will also offer subscribers a discount vs. the individual unit price of Amigos themselves. Either way, it will come with a degree of mystery, as you won’t know which figurines you’re getting before they arrive at your doorstep, and there are 18 figurines in total between Waves 1 & 2, both destined for launch before the end of the year, so you’ll be getting some, but not all.
Subscription is actually a great model for selling these things: They’re typically a category that people will pick up over the course of multiple trips, one or two at a time, instead of as a single large purchase. For Nintendo, it’s a way to lock in some guaranteed sales across the holiday, and for buyers, it’s a way to avoid the crowds while also adding in the ingredient of mystery, as well as something to look forward to.
Nintendo is pinning a lot on the success of Amiibo, but if industry trends are any indication, they should have a very good chance of doing well: Even original IP like Skylanders has proven an immensely popular series, and Nintendo’s characters have both appeal with younger gamers and a heavily entrenched nostalgia factor.
Amiibo will launch in the U.S. alongside Super Smash Bros. for Wii U on November 21, and will be compatible with other titles, including Mario Kart 8, shortly after that.