Nintendo has once again released Amiibo Cards for Animal Crossing: New Horizons and they’ve once again sold out, leading to a second-hand market full of hassle and sky-high mark-ups. It’s perfect timing considering the game’s big 2.0 update and Happy Home Paradise DLC recently went live, and players are desperate to get new villagers onto their islands.
In case you’re unaware, Amiibo Cards are like trading cards that activate virtual goods inSwitch games via NFC (near-field communication) technology. In Animal Crossing’s case, the random cards in each pack correspond to villagers, who will then move to your island when the card is scanned. It beats waiting around to get lucky over the course of the game, especially for players after the rarest and most coveted island residents.
On November 5, Nintendo released the fifth series of Animal Crossing Amiibo Cards, containing some extremely sought-after returning villagers like Shino and Sasha, both of whom currently go for millions of bells (Animal Crossing’s currency) in the in-game multiplayer market. At least, it released them in theory. In practice the cards were more or less immediately out of stock online, and if you tried to buy them in person you were much more likely to encounter a confused store clerk or empty shelf than any new packs.
Some fans who tried to get a head start on the mayhem reported long lines outside of places like Target. Others had no choice but to peruse sites like eBay and decide whether or not the prices being charged by scalpers were worth it.
The packs of six cards normally cost $6 each, but many resellers are currently selling them for $20 or more. “6 PACKS Nintendo Animal Crossing Amiibo Character Cards Series 5 – SHIPS TODAY!” reads one listing for $175. On Amazon they’re going for over $40 a pack. Because each pack’s contents are random, players desperate enough to partake could end up paying for mostly duplicates anyway, never even getting the rare villager they want.
“I was lucky enough to get a couple packs because of a few people I follow on Twitter,” wrote one person in the Best Buy reviews section. “These packs are great. I’m really happy with my pulls. I do wish the cards weren’t so hard to get. It baffles me that a multi billion dollar company can’t distribute more Amiibos.” Another simply wrote, “The scalpers ruin another thing that’s supposed to bring small children joy.”
If you’re getting a massive case of déjà vu it’s because the market for ACNH accessories has been a mess since the game launched. As a result, a whole black market around custom hacked Amiibo Cards has risen up on places like Etsy. Unfortunately, Nintendo doesn’t seem eager to expand supply to meet demand.
Earlier this year, Nintendo released Sanrio Amiibo Cards containing Hello Kitty-themed villagers and items. Those, too, sold out immediately and made everyone sad.