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3DS

Why Are North American Kid Icarus: Uprising Cards So Hard to Collect?

by Justin Berube - September 19, 2012, 9:00 am PDT
Total comments: 22

Nintendo of America isn't making it easy, and doesn't seem to care.

Kid Icarus: Uprising came out in March. Even before the title hit store shelves, the official game trailers teased an AR card collecting element included in the game. Nintendo continued to whet the appetite of players hungry for AR cards by including sample cards with every copy of the game.

In the beginning, things didn’t look so bad for those wishing to collect Kid Icarus: Uprising AR Idol cards in North America. Multiple magazines gave out promo cards. The official Kid Icarus: Uprising strategy guide even included some. To be honest, giving out these cards was a great marketing tool to get people interested in the game.

Not long after the game released Nintendo of America began to give out Series 1 (and more recently, Series 2) card packs at events like ComicCon, PAX, WonderCon, etc. If you couldn’t make it to one of those big events, though, then you were almost screwed. Luckily, NOA gave out Series 1 card packs at different Best Buy and GameStop locations for a limited time a few select days earlier this year. NOA promises to do the same for the Series 2 cards in the near future. The problem is that the Nintendo reps handing out cards received a limited number of packs, and would only hand out one per person at each event. This amounts to 10 random cards, out of over 400 available, per person at each event.

The simple fact is Nintendo of America has made the cards in their region extremely limited in nature; trying to get them all at this point is nearly impossible unless you’re going to spend a ton of money. Anyone keeping tabs on the sale of Kid Icarus: Uprising cards on eBay knows the truth: the demand for these cards exceeds the supply, making some rather simple pieces of cardboard worth more than they should be. One card in particular, Three Sacred Treasures, was only handed out to the first 250 people who purchased the game at Nintendo World, and has been regularly selling for over $200 on eBay.

At PAX a few weeks ago, Nintendo of America even held a Kid Icarus: Uprising tournament with a nearly full set of cards as the grand prize. NOA continued to tease this on their Facebook page with a picture showing the special set, complete with a specially designed box to house all the cards. Great for one person, but what is everyone else supposed to do? With the professional look of the already designed box, I’m sure manufacturing more to sell at various retail outlets wouldn’t be difficult for NOA.

Nintendo has handled the situation in other regions in a completely different way. Card packs can be purchased in both Japan and in Europe. It’s slightly more complicated in Europe, with cards purchased being marked with a rarity and those received at promos not, but that’s another story. The point is that Kid Icarus: Uprising cards aren’t impossible to obtain in these regions.

In the end, Nintendo of America has once again dropped the ball. The company could have used these cards as a way to make more money off a big 3DS release. Instead NOA has opted to make collecting these cards a nightmare for their fans. It’s still not too late for NOA to turn this around and make some money, but I’m sure the demand isn’t as high now as it was immediately following the launch of Kid Icarus: Uprising. Still, I really hope NOA decides to start selling the nearly complete set, or even just packs, in stores. Some people may say it should be a Club Nintendo reward, but I don’t think that’s right; fans shouldn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to fully take advantage of a simple feature in a game they already purchased.

When it comes down to it, I still love Kid Icarus: Uprising. The AR card feature might not be the best, but collecting the cards can be fun and brings fans of the game together. I just hope Nintendo of America does something to make collecting these cards easier. If they don’t, I may pull out all my hair in frustration: I’ve already spent way to much on these cards and only have around 120 so far.

Images

Talkback

xcwarriorSeptember 19, 2012

I love the game. I never see the cards anywhere.

vidsSeptember 19, 2012

i'm a completionist IRL so I opted not to bother with collecting sets of anything anymore. Its also why I'll never play MagicTG or any other collectable anything. Gotta catch em all? Not if I have to pay for it.

ejamerSeptember 19, 2012

I've considered buying Kid Icarus more than once, but every time I do the issue with collecting cards comes to mind and I walk away empty handed. I'm a collector at heart, which is why I buy and own dozens upon dozens of games. If Nintendo refuses to support their own games by making features used to promote and advertise the game available to eager customers, why should I care about that game? Why buy poorly supported products?

Many people are happy with digital versions. Good for them. But having a photograph isn't the same as having an actual, collectible object.

Oddly, I'd care less if they didn't give any cards out. But preorder bonuses were cards, Club Nintendo members could order a small set of cards, the game comes packed with cards - yet after that initial rush you are completely blocked off unless you are very lucky or willing to import from overseas. Going digital would've been acceptable if they actually went digital the whole way... but they didn't.  What was the point of teasing cards?  Why is this the only region that doesn't have a choice in the matter?  Maybe it's good business to not give your core customers options to spend more money, but it feels like a raw deal to me.


Whatever.

Bman87301September 19, 2012

The fact is, there simply isn't a big enough market for the cards here in America-- the market is what it is and you can hardly blame NOA for that. If there was a market for them, NOA would be selling them (they are a business after all)-- it's as simple as that and you're kidding yourself if you believe otherwise. If you want the scans for your in-game idol collection, they're easy enough to find online for free, and you can even print them out if you really want a physical version.

Also, I think you'd better double check your facts because I'm pretty sure the cards aren't being sold in Japan like they are in Europe as you claim. In Japan, they're simply given away for free with packages of candy, and for the most part, the overall distribution is still very limited much like it is here. Europe is the only region with their widespread distribution.

ejamerSeptember 19, 2012


http://nintendoeverything.com/97947/more-kid-icarus-uprising-ar-card-packs-available-in-japan-today/


Hmm... doesn't look like Japan is having that hard a time getting cards. And no candy required, either.


The key questions your post bring up are:
-- What exactly does "big enough" mean when talking about market size? North America is the largest consolidated market, so what statistics are they using to decide it's not big enough compared to, say, Europe.
-- How does refusing to cross-promote your game improve the situation? Maybe Nintendo couldn't find someone to help publish and distribute, maybe they didn't try, maybe just didn't care. It's hard to tell these days.


The market wasn't big enough for Nintendo of America to release Xenoblade Chronicles or The Last Story or Fatal Frame or Pandora's Tower. The market isn't big enough to support these cards being released. The market seems to be getting smaller all the time as Nintendo repeatedly decides not to cater to core fans.

ShyGuySeptember 19, 2012

Does your name mean Just To Be Rude?

Quote from: ShyGuy

Does your name mean Just To Be Rude?

If you're talking to me the answer is no.  It's my real name.  Justin D. Berube.

Kytim89September 19, 2012

Thinks to eBay I have about thirty of these cards, but it is getting harder to keep up because people are cleaning the online stores out like crazy. I should also add that I do not have a 3DS, but I wanted to get as many of these cards as I can before I do get the actual game.

NinSageSeptember 20, 2012

I know, effing NoA... releasing something for free in a market that was never truly going to care about it.  What the hell is that? Some kind of bone they are throwing us? EFF THAT! It's like you said, they should be selling them to "make money" on it.  That way, an extremely small percentage of the audience could "collect 'em all" at prices much more reasonable than eBay.

That way everyone could have them and they wouldn't be collector's items! Win-win!  So, let's give one more middle finger to NoA for "dropping the ball" yet again.  When will they ever learn?

Vita4Life
PeaceI'mOut
*drops mic*

beaks022September 21, 2012

I feel the same way. Nintendo teased us with the prospect of collecting these cards, then they leave us empty handed, and put the cards in the hands of scalpers. I spent alot of time and money collecting series 1 and now there is no way for me to get my hands on any series 2 unless I pay the scalpers top dollar on ebay. I am very upset by this and I have contacted Nintendo many times about it. All they tell me is "it may become more available" but it never does. I would recommend everyone who cares contact Nintendo and tell them to make these more available. And tell them you will boycott the Wii-U if they don't. After all if they are going to screw you on this, then who knows how they will screw you when the Wii-U comes out. How many promises will they make and then break just to get us to buy something?

Is it worth it to collect European or Japanese cards instead of North American ones?

ejamerSeptember 21, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

I know, effing NoA... releasing something for free in a market that was never truly going to care about it.  What the hell is that? Some kind of bone they are throwing us? EFF THAT! It's like you said, they should be selling them to "make money" on it.  That way, an extremely small percentage of the audience could "collect 'em all" at prices much more reasonable than eBay.

That way everyone could have them and they wouldn't be collector's items! Win-win!  So, let's give one more middle finger to NoA for "dropping the ball" yet again.  When will they ever learn?

Vita4Life
PeaceI'mOut
*drops mic*

You miss the point. It's about giving consumers options.

Nintendo of America assume (perhaps rightly so) that not enough people would buy the cards to make it sufficiently profitable to print them en mass, and thus refuses to give people a choice to buy them at all.

In both cases - with Nintendo of America releasing actual cards for sale or just posting photos online - people who don't want to pay will be able to download images that get posted online. That will happen organically, as people who collect the cards scan and share them. But the people who get cut out in this case are the people who actively want to give Nintendo more money. Maybe it's just me, but somehow that seems like a bad choice about who to piss off when you are running a business.

Instead, actual cards have become uber-collector items as Nintendo of America continues to hand them out in extremely limited supply at extremely limited events. Rarity hasn't been removed, it's been enhanced. Community (through sharing/trading/etc) hasn't been established, it's been divided. Promotion value of the cards is at an all-time low because their value is undercut by the company giving them away and interest in the related game has long since faded. And interest in the cards by collectors is low because (a) they instantly have access to all of them in digital format, and (b) that's as good as it gets since there is no hope of getting them all physically.

Quote from: Kairon

Is it worth it to collect European or Japanese cards instead of North American ones?

Depends on how much money you want to spend to collect them. The cards should work, as there doesn't seem to be any regional differences.

NinSageSeptember 22, 2012

@ejamer

um, what? You say yourself that Nintendo's assumption is perhaps justified.  So... that's why they do what they do!

We are lucky we got any cards at all.  Normally stuff like that skips regions that don't care much about them (like ours) all the time.  People should be like "hey, thanks NoA, ya didn't have to do this, and ya didn't try to skim us for any money on it.  Thanks for the solid."

But, instead, articles like this simply encourage folks like beaks022... who wants to boycott the Wii U over something Nintendo gave away for free.  ::)

beaks022September 22, 2012

I would have rather they skip our region than make them impossible to get. I had to spend a fortune to get all series one. And I only started collecting those because I got some free with the game. They don't give them out in my area, so what am I to do? I have no way to continue and collect series 2 unless I pay hundreds of dollars on eBay. I have been a lifelong loyal Nintendo fan, and I don't want to boycott, but I'm tired of being screwed with. Don't hype me on something then not deliver. And this isn't the first time.

beaks022September 22, 2012

My point is they are not free to me and the majority of the general public. You have to pay the scalpers on eBay.

ejamerSeptember 23, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

@ejamer

um, what? You say yourself that Nintendo's assumption is perhaps justified.  So... that's why they do what they do!|
...

I admit that it might be justified because there is no way for me to prove otherwise.


I can guess that improved marketing for the Kid Icarus game/brand would be worthwhile. I can guess that people would be interested in the cards, based on the history of Animal Crossing cards and other Nintendo collectibles. I can guess the relatively low cost of printing cards would be easy to recoup in goodwill alone.  I can guess that finding a third party to handle sales and distribution, and maybe even printing, wouldn't be difficult and would earn at least some revenue with minimal effort. I can guess that NoA has enough resources to make something like this happen because North America is easily one of the biggest regions worldwide. But I can't prove any of that.


However, neither you nor NoA can prove that choosing to release the cards in the manner they have is a good use of resources or effective marketing. 


What we can prove? Other regions get the cards, North America doesn't. Collectors and core gamers want the cards, NoA isn't willing to risk any marketing funds (despite small profits likely in return) to promote the Kid Icarus brand to that group. You can play apologist as much as you want... but I don't like the way this was handled at all.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorSeptember 23, 2012

So, this is part of the e-mail I wrote Nintendo oh-so-long ago on this...

Quote:

This is what it breaks down to:
You've got those lucky enough to attend these special events who actually care about getting the cards.  Yay for them.
You've got those who attend the events, perhaps to participate, but with the complete intention of selling the cards they get on eBay.  Did you know the packs of cards from GDC are going for $50+ right now?  Yeah.  Hope none of the events runs out before those who actually want the cards can get them. :(
You've got those who simply want the content from the cards for the game.  Of course, I fully expect to find the cards scanned in and printable about two days after they're released... so these folks get to enjoy the cards without spending a dime on them or putting any effort into them.

Then, you've got the poor slobs like me - who aren't going to be anywhere near any official events and will have to be buying the cards for inflated prices on eBay. This means I have less disposable income to spend on Nintendo products that actually benefits you, as a company.  This means I'm only encouraging the folks who go to the events for the purpose of getting the cards and re-selling them, potentially hurting others who actually want to get them.

This, alone, isn't what annoys me the most.  I think the worst part is the fact that YOU have the channels necessary to produce and sell these cards through regular methods.  First and foremost, you've got everything set up through your Pokémon Trading Card game.  Everywhere that sells trading cards sells Pokémon cards.  Perfect distribution method for the cards via retail sales.  If that's not good enough, then there's Enter-play.  They've released some really great quality Nintendo cards in the past few years.  They have the retail channels for selling the cards at Target, Toys R Us, Walmart, online, etc.  Aside from the stickers I had to import because they weren't sold in the US, I had *no* issues finding Enter-play's cards.

If none of that works for you, then there's the online Nintendo store - which sold all kinds of e-Reader cards (I think there's still some up there actually).  You could just put the cards up there like you did Xenoblade.

What my bottom line here is... you're killing me.  Slowly and painfully, destroying my soul.

Oh, and...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kid-Icarus-Uprising-AR-Card-COMPLETE-SET-402-CARDS-BRAND-NEW-SEALED-PROMO-ITEM-/190729178274?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c68584ca2

*drool*

Chozo GhostSeptember 23, 2012

They are hard to collect because Uncle Bob keeps buying and hoarding them all. :P

ejamerSeptember 23, 2012

Quote from: Chozo

They are hard to collect because Uncle Bob keeps buying and hoarding them all. :P:

Anyone other than Uncle Bob and this would be hard to believe... but given his penchant for owning multiple copies of everything from Nintendo, I'd almost believe it.
;D

BEINGSeptember 27, 2012

Collecting these cards have been a fun and rewarding Challenge.

This is my first experience with card collecting - well, besides Pokemon in 1999, but thats beside the point.  The feeling of safe card handling, checklists, doubles list, sleeving, hard casing, professional card grading – wow.  Truly enjoyable.

In the end, I in fact agree with the way Nintendo limited its distribution of these cards.  Its not about making money, they have Paninni and AKDJ cards that are raking in the dough.  IMO, of all three sets (AKDP/AKDJ/AKDE) AKDE's are and will retain its value over time.


Forget that 402 card box set on ebay, I have been collecting KI:U (AKDE) Cards since day one and have had little to no problems obtaining the cards to add to my collection.

Part of the fun is wheeling and dealing through the dark regions of the interwebs and connecting with true AKDE collectors (around the world) that have the cards you need and vice versa.

Yes, Ive dropped some bills on ebay like the rest of you.. But that initial investment has paid off with nearly a complete set of all cards and promos.  Feels like I started with a book of matches and have wheeled and dealed into owning a 4 wheel camper.  Then again, this is my experience with trading.  Those 15 or so Series 1 Boosters I bought back in April’12 have more than paid for themselves and have allowed me the leverage card for card trades - successfully completing series 1 and on my way to a complete Series 2.

Also, hardcore fans should knuckle up and actually go to conventions.  First hand, I can say - Nintendo was VERY generous with its distribution of Booster packs.  In fact, I am still sitting on 80 or so unopened Series 2 boosters and nearly 200 S2 doubles with no plans to sell on ebay.  I have stopped opening packs and continuing the tradition of finding global collectors to barter with.  These cards are meant to circulate, not fetch top dollar online. Then again, Supply and Demand right?


Lastly, NOA will not see a retail these cards stateside.  A knowledgeable NOA rep told me first hand after a lengthy discussion about AKDE-025 Three Sacred Treasures.  FYI – If your 3ST card is SEALED, congratulations – KEEP IT THAT WAY.  This is definitively a deciding factor for present and future value of cards.  *that 402 Card boxset contains a 3ST card (unsealed) of course.  I digress. Just wanted to add my 2 cents. Best of Luck and Keep Collecting. 

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorSeptember 27, 2012

What if I have a 3ST opened and a 3ST Sealed? :D

beaks022September 27, 2012

Quote from: BEING

Collecting these cards have been a fun and rewarding Challenge.

This is my first experience with card collecting - well, besides Pokemon in 1999, but thats beside the point.  The feeling of safe card handling, checklists, doubles list, sleeving, hard casing, professional card grading – wow.  Truly enjoyable.

In the end, I in fact agree with the way Nintendo limited its distribution of these cards.  Its not about making money, they have Paninni and AKDJ cards that are raking in the dough.  IMO, of all three sets (AKDP/AKDJ/AKDE) AKDE's are and will retain its value over time.


Forget that 402 card box set on ebay, I have been collecting KI:U (AKDE) Cards since day one and have had little to no problems obtaining the cards to add to my collection.

Part of the fun is wheeling and dealing through the dark regions of the interwebs and connecting with true AKDE collectors (around the world) that have the cards you need and vice versa.

Yes, Ive dropped some bills on ebay like the rest of you.. But that initial investment has paid off with nearly a complete set of all cards and promos.  Feels like I started with a book of matches and have wheeled and dealed into owning a 4 wheel camper.  Then again, this is my experience with trading.  Those 15 or so Series 1 Boosters I bought back in April’12 have more than paid for themselves and have allowed me the leverage card for card trades - successfully completing series 1 and on my way to a complete Series 2.

Also, hardcore fans should knuckle up and actually go to conventions.  First hand, I can say - Nintendo was VERY generous with its distribution of Booster packs.  In fact, I am still sitting on 80 or so unopened Series 2 boosters and nearly 200 S2 doubles with no plans to sell on ebay.  I have stopped opening packs and continuing the tradition of finding global collectors to barter with.  These cards are meant to circulate, not fetch top dollar online. Then again, Supply and Demand right?


Lastly, NOA will not see a retail these cards stateside.  A knowledgeable NOA rep told me first hand after a lengthy discussion about AKDE-025 Three Sacred Treasures.  FYI – If your 3ST card is SEALED, congratulations – KEEP IT THAT WAY.  This is definitively a deciding factor for present and future value of cards.  *that 402 Card boxset contains a 3ST card (unsealed) of course.  I digress. Just wanted to add my 2 cents. Best of Luck and Keep Collecting.


So can you hook me up with some series 2's. I'm a TRUE fan but I live in Canada. There are no conventions here.

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