Nintendo to launch NFC products for Wii U and 3DS

Satoru Iwata tees up E3 showing for "Nintendo Figurine Platform"

Nintendo will launch a new line of products based on the near-field communication technology found in the popular Skylanders and Disney Infinity franchises.

In a briefing to accompany Nintendo's full-year financial results, president Satoru Iwata described the NFC concept as part of a broader move to find new ways to use the company's enviable stable of IP.

"Other than using character IP in Nintendo's video game software, we need to start a new business that will someday become one of our core activities," Iwata said.

"As Nintendo's first step We have decided to release character figurines with built-in NFC functionality that are compatible with video games starting from this year-end sales season."

The new line of products will be released for the Wii U - they will work in conjunction with the GamePad - under the banner "NFP" (Nintendo Figurine Platform). Each figurine will be compatible with multiple games, and will contain NFC technology that can both read and write information, allowing players to change and evolve their characters.

Nintendo is also working on an NFC reader/writer for the 3DS, which will open up the audience for its NFP products to another 43 million potential customers.


Nintendo Figurine Platform is expected to launch at the end of this year, but Iwata confirmed that it will be a significant part of the company's offering at E3 in June. The 3DS NFC reader/writer scheduled to follow in the first half of 2015.

"With the launch of this new product genre, NFP, which will be compatible with Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, is going to serve as the first example of actively utilizing our own character IP," Iwata concluded.

"At the same time, there are not only going to be decorative boxes for video game 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."

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Latest comments (10)

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments3 years ago
This is presumably what caused the "new hardware" rumours.

Seems like a good idea, as long as they market it right.
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University3 years ago
Smart move, but a move that they should have made at Wii U's launch. Better late than never. Also worthy of note they're making a cheap console aimed specifically at middle class markets in emerging countries, as another part of their business expansion plan.
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Nate Ballantyne QA Manager, Aardman Animations3 years ago
Good to see Nintendo jumping on the NFC band-wagon. They have a massive library of characters that could be included, I look forward to potentially seeing some characters from some of the older Nintendo titles.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nate Ballantyne on 8th May 2014 11:33am

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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 3 years ago
Like everyone else for me "it's about time" to properly implement a console feature.

I'm extremely concerned that Nintendo will botch the implementation. Take for example the difference between the console and the DS implementation of Skylanders. With the console version, the NFC figure has to stay on the pedestal or the "character" can't be used. On the DS, it only had to be scanned once, meaning that people could go into GAME and just scan the figures whilst they were still in the box on the rack.

Considering where the plate for the tag is on the controller then which system do you see them using? What stops the figure from being put up for sale as soon as it has been scanned? There are huge potential flaws in the model. Fingers crossed that Nintendo has it's act together and forces you to touch the character on the plate every time you want to save or quit the game as well and that the save data is stored on the toy itself ala Skylanders.
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Russ Cogman Senior Game Artist, Serious Games International3 years ago
Personally I hope that Nintendo do whatever is most friendly to the end user. Your proposed method sounds like some horrible DRM.
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Jim Burns Research Asisstant 3 years ago
They can make so much money if done right.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 3 years ago
Russ, I'm only suggesting a possibility as a solution to a gaping possible problem. If they copy the system that they used for the Pokemon NFC system then this is going to miss the mark. Nothing stops me from scanning a tag and then selling it on to someone else. There's no incentive for someone to keep them.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd3 years ago
It'll be interesting to see how this works out. Theoretically it's much more interesting than Activision's and Disney's solutions because it's not limited to one genre and one rehashed annual release.
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Steve Peterson Marketing Consultant 3 years ago
It's an appealing idea, which I suggested before (most recently in January: [link url=""][/link]). Ideally it should have been done for the launch of the Wii U, as Daniel pointed out, but better late than never. Of course, the idea depends on the implementation, but it's the sort of thing Nintendo should be able to do very well. Assuming it's a fun game, Nintendo should eventually bundle a toy (Mario? Pikachu?) in with every Wii U sold, along with a playable demo, to really make this idea reach the biggest possible audience. Gotta catch 'em all... and with over 700 Pokemon (not to mention the rest of Nintendo's characters), there's plenty of upside potential here.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 3 years ago
Well with all the IP and characters they own Its a good opportunity to make massive amounts of money, if they can market this well. It would be cool to see a Samus figurine and Fire emblem Characters. And with over 700 pokemon I doubt their isnt money to be made.
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