Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has attributed some of the success of the Amiibo figures in the West to the success of Skylanders and Disney Infinity figures.
Speaking during Nintendo’s 2015 end of fiscal year earnings call, Iwata said: “When it comes to the figure and video game entertainment category, there are two existing franchises: Activision released Skylanders four years ago, and Disney released Disney Infinity two years ago… However, before we actually launched Amiibo, the number of consumers who were aware of the overall concept of this product category, namely, toy figures are lined up on a store shelf in the video game section and when you buy and use it with a game, something very fun would happen, differed greatly in Japan from the rest of the world.”
Iwata revealed that the Japanese distributors believed Amiibo to be “a little too big” and too costly for a figure in the Japanese market. However, Nintendo went ahead, claiming it was “most appropriate for the global market”.
Now, over 5.7 million Amiibo figures have been sold since they were launched last year.