Per Nintendo Everything, Bandai Namco Games has signed a deal to have Amiibo figurine support for a third-party published video game. The upcoming video game from Bandai Namco Games, One Piece: Super Grand Battle X, will be Amiibo compatible. Previously, the Nintendo brass discussed the possibility of third-party publishers, as well as indie developers, signing up for Amiibo. It is nice to see Nintendo keep its word regarding that statement. However, I would like to see the Bandai Namco Games relationship take some steps further. Bandai Namco Games publishes the video games based on popular anime and manga titles such as One Piece, Dragon Ball Z and Naruto. These games should not only be compatible with existing Amiibo figurines. Bandai Namco Games should partner with Nintendo to make Amiibos based on the likes of Dragon Ball Z, One Piece and Naruto characters.
The One Piece game is a good start. I imagine this will be an experiment to test the waters of Amiibo compatibility and working with a third-party publisher. The Nintendo Amiibo figurines will help unlock Nintendo themed costumes for the One Piece game. For example, players can unlock Mario and Luigi costumes for Monkey D. Luffy. Sanji can don an optional Fox McCloud Outfit. Fittingly, Zoro will have the option of a Link outfit. The Amiibos unlocking of alternate costume skin is a fun, unique idea. However, Bandai Namco Games and Nintendo should not stop there. Bandai Namco Games and Nintendo are leaving piles of money on the table by not producing special compatible Amiibos of the roster for the One Piece, Naruto or Dragon Ball Z games.
One Piece, Naruto and Dragon Ball Z are properties that are very easy to exploit in terms of merchandise. The anime and manga versions of these properties have legions of fans, both young and adult. Fans would certainly be excited by the prospect of a game that allows for Amiibos with the likes of Goku, Naruto or Luffy. The Amiibo figurines for the Nintendo characters are already selling through the roof. Even the rare production defected versions have become collectors’ items that are selling in auction for over $24,000 on eBay. This simply means that Nintendo is sitting on an untapped goldmine of potential in terms of bringing in other characters into the Amiibo family. Is there a risk of saturation? The answer is yes. However, look at how deftly Activision has handled Skylanders. There are a ton of characters for Skylanders, and the games can become an expensive hobby to collect all the proper characters to unlock all the content in a game. The key for Amiibo is to continue offering deals such as the releasing of the figurines through Loot Crate; or simply just spacing out the releases in waves. Do not dump all the characters out at once.
Since the door is open with Bandai Namco Games, I hope the relationship with Nintendo for Amiibos will continue and become even bigger. In addition, I want to see other third-party publishers partner with Nintendo for Amiibos. If indie developers seize the opportunity as well, it could help merchandise and brand a game.