A range of Mario-themed figures will use near field communication have been unveiled by Nintendo.
Going under the name NFP (NFC Featured Platform or Nintendo Figurine Platform), the range will use a base station peripheral that is compatible with both Wii U and 3DS. It will use infra-red to talk with the handheld and the Wii U GamePad's in-built NFC tech for the console.
Much as with Skylanders, the figures will be able to store data themselves.
What is especially unique about NFP is that it is not classed as an accessory product of a certain software title but as a platform itself,” Nintendo boss Saturo Iwata stated. 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 has a lot of well-known character IP that has originated in video games, and we have been regularly releasing titles from game franchises that make use of this character IP. This is why I believe a brand-new type of platform will be born when the character IP becomes compatible with NFP.
I understand that some of you may be worried that the market for NFP, a platform that will work with a number of software titles, will not grow large enough when it is compatible only with Wii U. If we can make a good use of Nintendo 3DS, which has already sold over 43m units, however, this assumption will greatly change.
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.”
NFP figures are due out later this year for Wii U, with the reader/writer base needed for 3DS out in the first half of 2015, although the compatible figures will make an appearance at E3.