Why Does Australia Hate Link?

Okay, so this is interesting. When Nintendo went into details on amiibo sales at its latest investor meeting it created a handy little list of which amiibo was most popular where. There were deviations in different markets. Kirby was more popular in Japan, for example, Pikachu was more important in the US. Who was number 1? In all territories Link from the Legend of Zelda topped the list. He was the most popular amiibo in all territories. All territories except one.

Australia.

Which begs the question: why does Australia hate Link?

Hate might be a strong word. Link wasn’t absent from the list; he just didn’t top the list. Mario did. Link just happened to come a distant third. But it is an anomaly. What happened?

I have a couple of hair-brained theories.


Theory #1

Mario Kart 8 was a big deal in Australia

Yes, I get it. Mario Kart 8 is a big deal in all territories, not just Australia — but hear me out. Mario Kart 8 is a big deal globally, it’s simply a bigger deal in Australia relative to other countries. The reason? Well it’s not necessarily the game per se, but the timing of the release.

Mario Kart 8 was released during a critical period for Australian retail. It was released around the time when local retailers like Big W tend to run massive toy sales. When Mario Kart 8 was released in Australia, the timing was perfect, Nintendo shifted a large number of Mario Kart 8/Wii U bundles during this time. Beforehand the Wii U was really struggling locally. Nintendo themselves even acknowledged this massive sales spike in its presentation.

My theory: a larger percentage of the Wii U install base in Australia own Mario Kart 8 Wii U bundles relative to regular Wii U bundles. People who own Mario Kart 8 are likely to buy Mario as an amiibo. Why would they buy Link if he only appears in the game as a DLC character?


Theory #2

The Wii U Skews Younger In Australia

This one is a little more speculative, but runs on the heels of the sales theory. If, relative to the local population, a large percentage of Wii U owners bought Mario Kart 8 bundles, and bought those bundles as part of, say, a Big W sale, you’d have to think that a large number of these consoles were bought by parents for their children, right?

I’m not saying the Wii U is exclusively for children. Of course not. I’m simply saying that, as a result of that documented Australian sales spike, which was driven by toy sales, a larger percentage of the Australian Wii U owning population are most likely children. Especially when compared to other global markets who didn’t see quite the same sales spike. I’d argue that those children are far more likely to ask for a Mario amiibo than a Link amiibo.


Theory #3

Smash Bros. Isn’t Quite As Popular In Australia

Again, this is speculative.

This whole article is speculative!

Smash Bros. is huge everywhere, but is it as huge in Australia as it is in Japan and the US? That’s the question. It’s difficult to get exact sales figures but, expressed as a percentage, sales of Super Smash Bros. make up more of a percentage in the US and Japanese market than, say, Mario Kart 8.

Therefore, people in the US and Japanese markets are more likely to buy a Link amiibo, since Link is a popular main character in Super Smash Bros., the game most people are using amiibo for at this point. If Smash has been (relatively speaking) more popular in other regions outside Australia, that would also explain why Link isn’t quite so popular here.


Theory #4

Australia’s Retail Situation Is Different

I can’t really speak with any authority on how Wii U’s are sold at retail in the US, but locally? Nintendo products appear to be taking up less and less space at specialist retail. I’m guessing that a large percentage of Wii U’s sold in Australia were bought in Big W, Kmarts, etc.

I also suspect that the majority of amiibos sold were sold in the same stores.

Massive retails outlets targeted at parents make up such a large percentage of money spent at retail here in Australia. Could that have made a difference? Possibly. These companies tend to use video games as a loss leader. Most likely the situation in the US is similar, but could this have had an impact? I think so. If more parents were buying amiibo for their kids they’d be more likely to buy Nintendo’s most recognisable mascot and that is Mario.


Theory #5

An Availability Issue?

Australia is a small market. We also happen to be at the arse-end of the world relative to the US and Europe. This often means we don’t get the same level of stock as other regions. Could it simply be that high sales of the Link amiibo in the US, Europe in Japan meant that there were simply more Mario amiibo to go around? Could Australians have simply been receiving the stock that was immediately available and that stock happened to have more Mario amiibo?

I think that’s very possible. Particularly since amiibo were selling out in every store in Australia almost immediately.

TL;DR: Australia didn’t get much Link amiibo stock.


Any other theories why Mario was more popular than Link in Australia? Let us know!


Comments

    I'd probably go with Theory 2. I have a wii U and enjoy but it seems most people my age think it's for kids and most people I see buying games for it are kids. I also think that the zelda games are generally picked up more by Nintendos older users as well because they can be quite complicated to play for a kid.

    Link is ranked 3rd in Australia, that's hardly 'hate'.

    This is one of the more clickbaity titles I've seen here.

      I just though it would be fun to speculate. It is weird that ALL OVER THE WORLD Link is number one. Only region that's different is Australia.

        Title: "Why Does Australia Hate Link?"
        Detail of article: "Link is not the #1 Amiibo in Australia"
        Not actually proven in article: "Link is hated"

        Clickbait article presents a eyebrow-raising conclusive title followed by a meandering set of "hair-brained theories" to attempt to justify terribly-conclusive title.

        ...this is becoming the A Current Affair of video game journalism.

          It would only be clickbait if the text on the front page had nothing to do with the article, and after reading that you click through to something else entirely.
          The front page clearly says, (before you click through)
          There were deviations in different markets. Kirby was more popular in Japan, for example, Pikachu was more important in the US. Who was number 1? In all territories Link from the Legend of Zelda topped the list. He was the most popular amiibo in all territories. All territories except one.
          I think that is a pretty accurate intro to what the article is about.

            That's a wonderful observation, except for the fact I clicked on the article from an icon at the bottom of either LH or Giz, which provides no such summary to contradict the headline. Just the words "Why Does Australia Hate Link" and a picture, which then - after baiting my click - leads me through to this collection of speculation and self-admitted hair-brained theories.

            Where do you nominate people for Walkleys?

            Last edited 18/02/15 11:21 am

        I'm going with theory 5 on that, because I have never seen an Amiibo other than Mario and Pikachu sold at EB Games here.

        I even remember once seeing some guy at an EB Games store picking an amiibo, and there were only Mario figures. I heard him say to his friend "well I'll just have to go with this one then".

        Last edited 18/02/15 11:56 am

          Exactly this. Until recently I had not seen any in stores other than Mario, Pikachu and Kirby.

        Well, tbh, I would have bought one if I had seen one, heck Link is the only one that interests me. But the only ones I see are Peach, Pikachu and Mario. Perhaps supply couldn't keep up with the demand.

        Edit: then again, others here are saying there are plenty of Links in their area. Lucky lol. Perhaps people are waiting for toon link?

        Last edited 18/02/15 4:11 pm

      I just though it would be fun to speculate. It is weird that ALL OVER THE WORLD Link is number one. Only region that's different is Australia.

        And the boring fact to go hand in hand with that is that Australia was the only region with a 90% sell through rate for all figures, vs 70% in every other region, which possibly indicates a bigger skew in the numbers caused by stock availability.

      I don't think it is vaguely clickbait, it is an interesting bump compared to the world market, and it would be good to know what underlies it.

      I have never played a Zelda game, but have played MK and DK and Smash etc. on the Wii-U, maybe it is just that the Wii-U has been picked up here by a lot of people that didn't come up through the SNES and the DS etc. and they don't know link as there isn't a Zelda game for the Wii-U (or is there, I honestly don't know)

      No. For noice clickbait it should be titled: "30% of Australians HATE him! Find out why!..." :)

      Ha, I immediately took the title as intentional hyperbole. Lucky, because I was right and you were wrong.

      I was also gonna say I have Link, and I was lucky because it had limited stock compared to what was more popular (Mario more popular, or just more in stock??)

    Not sure on Theory #5, at least in my locality. I was at Target recently and there was only one Amiibo available, 30+ Link's all sitting on the shelf.

      Same. 15 amiibos at target forest lake. 5 pikachus 10 links.

        Gonna need to check that out. I've only been able to find Pikachu and Mario in Brisbane. Didn't even think to check locally.

          Not sure where in Brisbane you are, but I was in Target at Buranda on the weekend buying the new LoZ game and saw a heap ton of link amiibos sitting on their shelves, so if you're still looking for one, check that store out!

      I was actually going to say I thought it was #5. I've been seeing tons of Mario & Pikachu since the launch, only found a Link in the last few weeks (though now they seem to be everywhere).

      In Sydney CBD, not a single JB or EB had Link, but they all had at least 5 Marios (or Mario was the only amiibo left)

    Theory #6

    The ugly piss-coloured piece of plastic that holds him in place.

      Yeah this is my reason for not collecting a lot of the amiibos (just want them as little figurines).
      The ugly colour plastics that hold them in place put me off, especially the Link one

        Yeah I am in the same boat. It's sad that I have had to base my purchases on this, because I love the Fox, Link, and Captain Falcon figurines but just couldn't bring myself to purchase them due to the ugly stands ( and the terrible and inconsistent paint job on all of the Captain Falcon figurines I found).

        Luckily a lot of them I think are really well made. I happened to get my hands on Mega Man and Toon Link and they are both really impressive, as are Donkey Kong, Samus, and Mario.

          Yep, I'm the same. I only buy ones that aren't ruined by ugly plastic stands. I couldn't bring myself to get Fox, Link, Captain Falcon, Zelda, Wii Fit Trainer, or Villager because of this. It's a pity :(

      Yes! I saw a Link Amiibo in Kmart today and thought about buying it but I couldn't deal with the ugly yellow piss plastic.

    He goes from island to island in his little boat smashing our jars and taking our rupees. There should be a law against it!

      He's a boat person!! Maybe Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison have detained all Link amiibos and shipped them off to PNG under suspicion of corrupting the kids :-P

      A more serious theory is that Australia has a higher rate of collectors vs people buying one or two Amiibos. It's first impact is that it pumps up the sale of all Amiibos, everyone who owns Link owns all the others effectively negating any lead a single character would have. It also leaves a lot of Links on the shelf simply because more Links were here. Second it means that the ones people target more aggressively are the rare ones. If you're going for the set and you buy two per week, you're going to chase Wii Fit Trainer before you even think about picking up Link.

    How can these figures even begin to measure popularity when the reality of it is that all units of all different Amiibos sold out nearly straight away at all retailers? More Mario sold in Australia because he was the highest supplied character in the region. As a retailer, I know for a fact that retailers could not order individual characters to meet customer demand. They were sold by Nintendo as set assortments. Assortment 1, had more of Mario than any other character.

    HELL of a lot of speculation in this article.

    But it was fun. My kid love Link and uses him almost exclusively in both Smash Bros and Mario Kart. I don't like link personally though, he's too vanilla and 'good' for me.

    And since I make the purchasing decisions around here we are NOT buying amiibos. I'm not opening the door to that stuff. Once you get a couple, before you know it you're surrounded by glass display cases in every room of your house dedicated to little plastic statues that noone's allowed to play with.

    NOT HAPPENING!

    My guess is that it is down to what was available to purchase here. They all pretty much sold through immediately.

    Or maybe we are just to macho for link :P

    Now come on, let's not pick on Mark here, obviously it's a slow news day today.

    A more realistic theory is that the Wii-U doesn't have much in the way of LoZ content yet. Its first mainline Zelda game is still on the way, and in the meantime people are left to be content with a Dynasty Warriors spin-off, which while I love them I'll concede isn't everyone's cup of red potion. Make more Zelda games, Nintendo, jeez.

    Last edited 18/02/15 10:24 am

      Real reason: I ran out of phone battery on the bus and started writing instead.

    I saw 3 links just sitting there on the store shelf the other day. Still didn't buy it.

    I went out of my way to buy Toon Link but regular Link is just boring to me.

    It is theory 5 since the only things on the list above link have fairly consistently been on shelves when everything else sold out.
    For that matter, everything below #2 on the chart can just be taken as a list of how much stock was shipped to Australia.

    The reason is a social one - Link wears a skirt and looks like a girl. I think Aussies skew to more exact gender stereotypes - men wearing skirts is not a common thing here and is still kind of shunned. Seriously - skirts, tights and long blonde hair and effeminate features - he's not exactly our idea of manly... Think about it.

    I like Link... him and Yoshi were the only two I wanted (until Toon Link came out).

    With regard to Theory #3, I'd invite Mark to check out local fighting games meet ups. Even as little as a few years ago, Smash had little to no presence at events like Battle Arena Melbourne or Shadowloo Showdown; today, while interest in more traditional fighters is easing up, Smash 4 has been a real shot in the arm for Aussie Smash Bros. players.

    While that doesn't really address a numbers issue compared to other regions' Smash communities, there's no shortage of love for Smash amongst the fans that do represent at events.

    Not sure that it's that we hate Link and more that up until lately he has been hard to get a hold of. Sold out quick in wave 1 and no restocks at all until maybe a month ago.

    It's all simple really.
    Fact: Link has a green outfit and yellow hair.
    Fact: Australia's colours are green and yellow.
    Conclusion: Link is Hyrulian, not Australian so people see his chosen colour co-ordination as mocking the Australian identity and thus shun the infidel.

    Last edited 18/02/15 11:22 am

      Yeah he's like those dang British backpackers that try to fit in by saying in bad Australian accents "g'day mate" and "flaming galah".
      We can get back at him by telling him about drop bears.

    Too long, don't read.
    Usually used as a warning by other users on a forum to not bother.

    Mark, I think your theories are spot on. Especially No. 1, 2 and 5. In fact, I'm going to say that theory 5 is most likely more realistic than all the others. I've never seen an amiibo in store as of yet. And other people on here when I commented about the most popular amiibo's article last night said they have seen one or two in store. Giving that we are a small market makes me believe that Nintendo are sending retailers less of a supply than say retailers in the US or UK.

    Also, theory No. 6: the younger generation has not grown up with the Zelda series like us older gamers. Therefor they don't know of Link or Zelda.

    Last edited 18/02/15 11:36 am

    My theory as to why Mario is most popular here.

    He's recognized as a harmless and family friendly video game character to basically everyone, even grandma's and other people who may never play video games. This means he becomes the default, safe option for anyone to buy as a gift for someone who is even vaguely into video games. And even if it's just being bought as a figurine that point stands even more so.

    I think all of your theories are pretty solid Mark and not really 'harebrained' but your modesty is noted. ;-)

    I'd also like to say that this article is certainly not 'click-baity' it is an entertaining and relevant title. If you want clickbaiting read articles from Kotaku US where you won't find as much of Mark's integrity or entertaining stylings. ;-)

    Definitely down to stock availability. We've (the company I work for) sold exactly as many Link (and the other characters) figures as Nintendo have supplied us with. All of the figures are consistently sold out as we get them, so, at least within our company, the figures that sold the most are literally just the ones we got the most of.

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