For many our possessions become extensions of the self which we use to signal to others and ourselves who we are and what our interests are. However our relationship with our stuff is in a state of flux. For many book and music collections are stored on the cloud, no longer taking up space on dusty shelves. This flux is no longer confined to mere material possessions but also to our identity, we carefully construct our online profiles; choosing the best pictures, the funniest or most profound status updates and informing everyone of how wonderful (or not) our lives are. The self has become extended into technology, with the different online services acting as a memory bank.
Now unless you have been living under a rock you have probably heard the great furore surrounding Nintendo's Amiibos. For those who have been under said rock Amiibos are the Big N's foray into 'toys-to-life' gaming accessory business that also includes Activision’s Skylanders and Disney’s Infinity. These pieces of plastic have been spectacularly popular, but the issue surrounds supply and how many of the figures were on a limited run and are fetching incredibly high prices, some figures originally cost about $12.99 but are selling on ebay for over $70. Surprisingly, or not maybe, most of the people who purchase Amiibo's are the older males, most in their 30's. Why is that? It can't all be due to resale value or collecting for the future (like Beanie Baby speculators).
What I'm looking at in this article is the demand for the Amiibos and not just the Amiibos, but the rise in just 'stuff' in gaming. Amiibos are just one aspect which has seen a rise in physical products. Many people were proclaiming the end of gaming consumables, what with the move towards a digital only future where entertainment is consumed via online services however this is patently not true. I believe that there is a reason for this rise in demand for stuff. People want to show their affiliation and affection for their hobbies, its the reason I buy physical comics, magazines and games. Also it may be due to Kickstarter and the need to own something tangible, maybe the game will be crap but at least you got a cloth map, figure or limited edition card!
I love Amiibos, its great owning an official Nintendo product but there is also an issue where scalpers, like ticket touts, have artificially led to inflated prices... the issue is exacerbated by the limited run of Amiibos. First world problems for sure but I love the chase of finding certain Amiibos, I don't want all of them but there are definite characters I want. I keep them in a box as I am a collector but am not 'that guy' that buys multiple copies of figures I already have and then resell them at a higher price.
Living in a small apartment with my wife and child I have had to de-clutter, and I'm sure that this is true for many people, but our relationship with our possessions remains as important as ever although the nature of the relationship is changing. I'm sure we all know people who have a huge Steam library of games they have downloaded but never played, or tonnes of albums bought on iTunes which haven't been listened to, or albums purchased on vinyl even though they don't have a record player. We all dream of some halcyon future where our past-times and pleasures will be revisited and so until we can let go we will buy stuff and that's okay.