Even a cursory glance of Activision or Disney Interactive‘s yearly financials (released earlier this week) will tell you that toy-based experiences are big money makers. Activision’s Skylanders franchise has been leading the charge with a full suite of NFC (Near Field Communication) powered games, and Disney followed suit with their Disney Infinity brand. And now both are doing extremely well for their respective companies.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Nintendo is trying their hand at NFC-powered toys, only using their own high profile brands as inspiration. They teased as much earlier today, and plan to say more about NFC at E3 2014.
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata showed off the first prototype NFC toy during an investor’s meeting, which, of course, was a figurine of brand ambassador Mario. Iwata reveals that the prototype is part of a new NFC initiative, which Nintendo has given the codename NFP, for NFC Featured Platform and Nintendo Figurine Platform.
While details are fairly slim at this point, the figurine is expected to be the first hint towards Nintendo’s competitor to the Skylanders and Disney Infinity franchises. However, Nintendo is apparently thinking a little bigger with NFP, envisioning their NFC-powered toys as part of a cross-platform and cross-game experience. That means, unlike Infinity and Skylanders, gamers will presumably be able to use these toys in connection with both the Wii U and the 3DS, and with a wide variety of games. Again, details are murky, but Nintendo will reportedly say more on the matter at E3.
With Nintendo’s financials having taken a steep nosedive in 2013, especially as they concern the Wii U’s sales, many figured the company would need to double down on their established brands to bounce back. At one point, some assumed that would involve Nintendo licensing or developing games for other platforms, but that may be a bit premature.
Instead, this NFP program sounds like a great place for Nintendo to start, especially if whatever game they are working on is even half as successful as Skylanders or Disney Infinity. But we suspect that, given the cache of brands like Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong, this will likely be a huge hit for Nintendo and an expensive hobby for us collectors out there.
How do you feel about Nintendo creating their own line of NFC toys? How would you like to see the company implement them into games?