Why I’m Putting My Faith in Nintendo and Amiibo

After a few rumours here and there, Nintendo decided that E3 would be the perfect time to show their hand regarding NFC figurines, and boy, what a hand it is.

Amiibo, as Nintendo is calling these figurines, will be a completely optional feature that games like Super Smash Bros will be able to take advantage of. In fact, Nintendo is launching Amiibo alongside Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, and given what I’ve seen of the way these two products interact, I’m optimistic.

Nintendo is smart to adapt this kind of business model to their games. At the same time, they’re not overstepping themselves and creating games that need Amiibo to function – they’re offering this is a way of expanding your game experience, and with the announcement that games such as Mario Kart 8 will offer Amiibo compatibility, Nintendo is sure to offer players a variety of different ways to modify existing games.

Mario, it's a go! Amiibo will allow figurines such as this to interact with a variety of Nintendo games, the first being Super Smash Bros on Wii U.

Mario, it’s a go! Amiibo will allow figurines such as this to interact with a variety of Nintendo games, the first being Super Smash Bros on Wii U.

You can look at Amiibo as a new kind of downloadable content; one that is tangible and designed for many different products, not just a single game.

For example, I adored what I saw of the way Amiibo works with Super Smash Bros – when you scan a figurine into the game, it can become your ally, training partner, or even a challenger.

As it battles in-game, it will be capable of levelling up – becoming more powerful and learning new abilities as it goes. Players will be able to customize the Amiibo’s profile, which will let them create their own unique movesets and abilities, all of which is stored in the figurine. Battling against other Amiibo will allow yours to grow faster, which will encourage players to use them against each other.

It’s a great system that will add a player’s own unique touch to a game such as Super Smash Bros, and the figurines themselves look like excellent collectibles – they’re nicely sized, detailed, and of course, they’re recognizable Nintendo characters that players will want in miniature form.

Not only that, but Nintendo seems to understand the wariness that comes with the use of NFC figurines – people are worried about the cost of buying a variety of figurines.

As mentioned, Amiibo is an optional feature for the games it will be featured in, but not only that – Nintendo said that a single figurine will have a variety of uses across different games. The same Mario you buy for use in Super Smash Bros will be capable of interacting with a game such as the newly announced Mario Party 10 – in what ways, Nintendo has yet to reveal.

Good enough for Bill Trinen, and certainly good enough for me!

Good enough for Bill Trinen, and certainly good enough for me!

However, it’s very hard to view Amiibo as a poorly conceived cash-in. Nintendo isn’t simply aiming for the Skylanders market – rather, I feel like Amiibo is aimed at a slightly more mature market. Rather than parents buying these figurines for their kids, Amiibo is for the avid Nintendo fan – the one ready to interact with their game on a new level.

Lastly, Nintendo isn’t just committed to making the Wii U its only Amiibo-compatible platform. They want to bring the technology to the 3DS as well, and will be doing so in 2015 via a special adapter. This is great news, and will hopefully lead to a greater synchronization between the Wii U and 3DS in the coming years.

I’ve been interested in how Nintendo would integrate NFC technology – I must say, my interest has been peaked by the announcement of Amiibo, and I’ll say it now. I’ve got great faith in Nintendo to nail this concept, and deliver to us a wonderful new way of interacting with and experiencing some of the finest video games they have to offer.

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