Upcoming toys-to-life range Amiibo can give Wii U hardware the sales boost it so definitely needs, Nintendo America boss Reggie Fils-AIme has argued.
"I think Amiibo can have a significant impact on driving the install base for Wii U on the sales of figures themselves," he told Polygon. "I think this could be a significant business opportunity.
"We will continue to make new figures available through the balance of holiday 2014 and then we’re going to continuously launch new figures throughout 2015. For us, we’re not putting a numerical limit on how many varied figures we can launch. Our potential catalogue of figures in the space is quite broad."
Reggie also detailed why it has taken two years for Nintendo’s NFC figures to arrive after Wii U launched in 2012 complete with much fanfare about the included tech.
"One, we wanted to be thoughtful in our approach," Fils-Aime explained. "In our view, going down this path you have to have differentiation. Second, we wanted to make sure that we would launch the concept with a big franchise, and certainly Smash (Bros.) fits that bill.
Smash is really perfect. All the various characters, the gameplay that Mr. Sakurai has created is fantastic. So for us it was really making sure we had the right approach and the right method to launch it."
Some onlookers, including MCV, are concerned that consumers who would buy into a Nintendo figure range are exactly the sort who already own Wii U and 3DS and are not in fact part of a broader market.
There are also worries about the possible implications of Nintendo competing with the likes of Skylanders and Disney Infinity – those are two of the very rare third party success on Nintendo’s machines. Is it wise for Nintendo to attack such products with a rival offer of its own? Even if Reggie argues they compete in different spaces.
Of more potential benefit to Wii U’s user base are hit games such as Mario Kart 8, although the boost offered by the highly successful racer is already fading.