Like with any successful toy or venture, there is a thriving counterfeit market for Nintendo's Amiibo toys in Japan. And although some kids or collectors might be fooled by them at first glance, the one's spotted recently are inferior in more than just looks.
They don't come with NFC chips for starters. That means that they cannot interact with Wii U or New 3DS games like the real thing. The fakes are purely cosmetic and not even great in that sense either.
The only problem is that you won't know about the lack of connectivity features until you place one on the NFC pad on the Wii U GamePad or on the screen of a New 3DS or New 3DS XL. So here are some other tips on how to spot the counterfeit Amiibos before you dole out your hard-earned cash on them on eBay or in Japanese stores.
The fake Amiibos are more washed out in colour terms than the real thing.
Some of the plastics used in the fake versions are not the same as the real - presumably for cost reasons. This results in different textures, such as on the Mario figure.
The moulding process is also off, with many of the fake Amiibo designs being less defined than their real Nintendo-made counterparts. The arms of the Pikachu model pictured are melded into its body, for example.
Some of the features on the fake Amiibos are just simply wrong. Link's face seems squashed while Samus from the Metroid series has a bizarrely long neck on the counterfeit version.
The packaging that the fake Amiibos come in is totally different to the official Nintendo blister packs. Do be aware though that you might find them pictured without the box on an online auction site.
When buying an Amiibo online, especially when it is pictured without the packaging, make sure you only pay with a payment system that is protected, such as PayPal. That way you can apply for a refund if you discover the purchase to be fake.
Amiibos are extremely popular and can change hands for a lot of money on auction sites. Hopefully these few pointers will ensure that you don't pay good money for a dud.