Nintendo announces Skylanders-like NFC reader for 3DS to bring figurine data into games

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During its most recent quarterly financial results briefing, Nintendo has announced a Near Field Communication (NFC) device for the 3DS, as well as a range of games and figurines, for something the company is calling the ‘Nintendo Figurine Platform’ that will launch for both the 3DS and Wii U.


Working similarly to games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity that use special peripherals to read and write data to and from a ‘smart toy’ figurine, the Nintendo Figurine Platform will allow players on both 3DS and Wii U to “customize your NFP to raise or train your own Nintendo characters,” according to translations of the announcement by industry analyst David Gibson.

The technology was demonstrated during Nintendo’s investor briefing with the use of a Mario figurine, showing how data stored on the toy could be accessed by various games. On 3DS, a special NFC reader device will be necessary to read and write data on the toys, but on Wii U toys can be read using the console’s GamePad for the same functionality.

Exploiting Your Favourite Nintendo Characters

“Nintendo has a lot of well-known character [intellectual property] that has originated in videogames, and we have been regularly releasing titles from game franchises that make use of this character IP,” Iwata said during the briefing. “This is why I believe a brand-new type of platform will be born when the character IP becomes compatible with [Nintendo Figurine Platform].”

“[NFP] has been designed to be compatible with multiple software titles for Nintendo platforms,” Iwata said. “In other words, the figurines, which consumers can buy and collect, are going to work with multiple software titles to be released in the future, and we are aiming to develop more software titles compatible with the figurines.”

Nintendo says that Wii U games and software will be compatible with Nintendo Figurine Platform as soon as the end of 2014, with support for 3DS software coming in 2015, with toy data able to be accessed across both platforms. Nintendo is aiming to further unveil the technology at E3 2014 in June.

Not Just a Pretty Box

The results of the Nintendo Figurine Platform won’t only be beneficial to games, Iwata claimed, saying that “there are not only going to be decorative boxes for videogame hardware and packages for software, but also Nintendo character figurines displayed on store shelves. This will provide exposure for Nintendo, play a great role in raising our brand awareness and create more opportunities for consumers to play video games.”

Do you think Nintendo’s plan to make use of their characters on the Nintendo Figurine Platform is a good idea considering the hold that Skylanders and Disney Infinity has on this segment of the market, or is it too late to take advantage of the craze?

Will Nintendo ultimately be successful with this platform, and how do you think character data will be used across different games?

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