Amiibo have proven to be one of Nintendo’s most fruitful ventures in recent history. Despite gaining an ill reputation due to the exclusivity and limited quantities of certain figurines, it is difficult to debate against the blockbuster nature of Amiibo after they have outperformed even the company’s Wii U with almost 15 million figurines sold worldwide in under a year. Meanwhile, Nintendo has recently published its 2015 Corporate Social Responsibility report, in which the company emphasizes the success of its NFC figures since their unveiling at last year’s E3. The digest version of the report has even gone on to describe the process of molding and testing Amiibo, about which the company had the following to say!
“Nintendo has developed a variety of game systems such as Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. However, amiibo development was extremely challenging because we couldn’t use our existing knowledge at all and had to proceed through everything by trial and error.
“For example, when we make a game system we usually make a mold of each part by cutting the metal directly from 3D data using a drill or some other tool. For a figure, however, you use almost no machinery at all to make the mold, and do everything by hand instead. For amiibo, we started by creating a master. We then took this master apart to consider how to easily coat colors or create each mold. Link, for example, has 24 separate pieces.
“We took a cast of the first mold by pressing clay into each part of the master and then coating it with silicon. Finally, after repeatedly duplicating the mold with harder substances, we used iron to create a metal mold. Although we could not apply our existing knowledge or experiences, we learned along the way as we pursued absolute quality.”
— Nintendo CSR 2015
When it comes to testing the physical models, the report notes how every individual Nintendo character comes in different shapes and sizes, and that each of these models had to be tested in order to be safe for children. Among the tests it has noted are checking for dangerously sharp or pointy edges and whether parts, if pulled or twisted apart, break off safely.
Source: Nintendo Everything