After long speculation of just what Nintendo would be doing with their NFC capabilities on the Wii U, the company has today announced Amiibo, their long range of figurines specifically designed for the Wii U GamePad.
Interaction with the figurines is simple: by touching the detailed plastic models onto the Wii U GamePad players will find them appear in-game as avatars. These avatars will be able to fight against enemies and level up along the way, making my wallet cry almost instantly at the thought. The first toys are scheduled to be released alongside Super Smash Bros later this year.
Speaking during a Nintendo Direct presentation, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said the toys "have unique features and functionality that can only be found on Wii U." He demonstrated the toys in action.
"There's a special chip that's embedded in every figure," he said. "Any Wii U system will recognize the figures by touching them on the Wii U GamePad, and when that happens, they spring to life in compatible games in cool new ways.
"When you touch amiibo to the GamePad, the character's data is downloaded into the game you're playing, and it's also a two-way street," he said. "We can send information back to the figure. So in other words, your figure's data changes as you play, which opens the door for various new gameplay possibilities."
Fils-Aime said that amiibo would be released for more Nintendo games including Mario Kart 8. "Super Smash Bros. is just the start. Amiibo play is also being prepared right now for a number of other Nintendo games. Check out the announcement trailer below.