The new Splatoon 3 amiibo look great, but Nintendo needs to stop using them to gate content

It looks like the new Splatoon 3 amiibo have a release date. The three gorgeous and vibrant new figures are due to release on November 11. 

Splatoon amiibo are nothing new, being around since the first game, and Splatoon 3 is now set to continue the longstanding tradition of its predecessors with its tie in collectable figures. Amiibo are more than just ornaments, though. Your Nintendo Switch can scan your Nintendo amiibo, offering you in-game rewards that vary from game to game, and figure to figure.

Three fresh new #amiibo arrive on 11/11! Tap them on a compatible Nintendo Switch controller and they’ll unlock special in-game gear for #Splatoon3. pic.twitter.com/JCBCB7uO08October 11, 2022

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If they’re anything like previous Splatoon amiibo, we can expect the figures to unlock new gear in the game. However, Splatoon 3 amiibo offer more than just cosmetic rewards, granting those fortunate enough to get their hands on one access to unique gear. However, the extent to which this practice has the players’ best interests at heart is very much up for debate.

Figure it out

First off, it’s clear that these amiibo are gorgeous. Splatoon always brings its A-game when it comes to amiibo, and these three new additions to the range are no different. Octoling (Blue), Inkling (Yellow) and Smallfry all boast the kinds of dynamic poses and bold, vibrant colors that make Splatoon’s aesthetic so distinctive and memorable. These is no denying it: these figures would look great on a desk or a mantlepiece.

What isn’t great, however, is how these amiibo give players benefits that go beyond the purely cosmetic. Since previously released Splatoon amiibo can be used in Splatoon 3 to unlock stat-improving gear, it’s safe to say that the gear the new amiibo might get you will do the same. Though far from game-breaking, it’s still sad to see Nintendo gate content behind the purchasing of what are, essentially, accessories. 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Though gear of comparable power can be earned in-game, it is unfair to give certain players access to unique gear because they paid for a collectible. If the gear these new amiibo offered were purely cosmetic, it might be a different story. 

Still not ideal, but they at least wouldn’t offer even the slightest gameplay advantage. At least Splatoon 3’s amiibo aren’t too egregious in their content gating, though. Gear abilities earned from amiibo aren’t anything you can’t find in the game already. And unlike The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD’s amiibo, Splatoon 3 doesn’t dare gate basic gameplay features like fast travel behind a paywall.

In this particular case, it is unlikely that the gear would have a massive effect on the PvP landscape, however, Nintendo’s consistent choice to place content of any kind behind a paywall, does raise concerns about the future. After all, what’s to stop Nintendo from portioning out more powerful upgrades with their next round of amiibo?

Though the new amiibo are gorgeous and there’s no intrinsic harm to Nintendo making a line of collectibles, there’s a slippery slope in taking gear abilities down the exclusive route. Hopefully, Nintendo is smart enough not to fall into that particular trap.

Splatoon 3’s next big event will settle one of the most contentious questions of all time.

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