Since the 2011 release of the first Skylanders platform game, hybrid toy/gaming components have become an interesting subgenre in the video game world. The opportunity to get something concrete and physical along with some additional for-pay content is a nice idea, but the mechanic leads to a collectibility aspect that is a major turn-off for some gamers. Despite that concern, the trend has continued this year, not just with the recently announced Marvel expansion to Disney Infinity, but now with a new addition to the world of the Nintendo Wii, as well.
Nintendo announced the brand new line of amiibo toys today during its E3 2013 digital presentation. The figures contain similar technology to those of the Skylanders or Infinity characters and can be scanned by the Wii U's GamePad in order to drop into games like Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8. The first line of amiibos will be in stores for the 2014 holiday season.
After the amiibos touch the Wii U GamePad and work their magic, the toys appear as avatars in compatible games. In Super Smash Bros. the toys level up as they compete against enemies and win matches. The first lineup of Amiibos will be released alongside the Nintendo brawling game to capitalize on that franchise's popularity.
Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime explained a bit more about how the leveling up works, while he showed how the figures look in action...
"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... 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.
"For example, your own figure with its own unique stats and fighting style, will not only appear, but also evolve as a fighter in Super Smash Bros. on Wii U. In fact, Super Smash Bros. on Wii U will indeed be the first game to support amiibo. In other words, this holiday, we're not only releasing the game you've been waiting for, but also amiibo, that literally gives you new ways to play.
When you use an amiibo in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, that character will appear as a fighter in the game and compete in battles, developing its own unique attributes and skills. You can fight against them yourself, have them square off against other amiibo. They can even join you and fight on the same team."
Reggie confirmed that another line of amiibos is on the way for Mario Kart 8 and that we can expect to see other series released for use with different Nintendo titles over the next year. There are also plans for a 3DS peripheral that will allow the handheld platform to interact with the amiibos, as well. Price will likely be a major deciding point for gamers when it comes to picking up amiibos, so we are interested to see how much the figures will cost.
Will you be picking up any amiibos or do you think the toy/gaming hybrids are a passing trend? How much would you be willing to pay for one of the amiibos? Let us know in the comments.
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