For well over a year now, Nintendo has been stating that it would utilise the NFC capabilities of the Wii U GamePad to support "Suica" cards in Japan. Typically used on public transport — in Japan and around the world in various forms — these swipe cards will allow gamers to quickly pay for a game on the eShop without inputting credit card details or manually adding funds on the store itself. After quite a delay introducing the functionality, a corporate press release has stated that the cards will be usable from 22nd July.
Various brands of cards will be used to accommodate different regions of Japan, while a neat-sounding loyalty scheme will give users 1 Suica point for every 200 Yen spent. This is a smart move on Nintendo's part, as many people have these cards stocked up with funds for daily commutes and general travel, and now there'll be the option to just hold that same card against the GamePad NFC area to quickly pay. Not only does it promise to be quicker and more convenient than other methods, but also gives parents another option for managing digital money available to children, for example.
We're hopeful that Nintendo is working on similar collaborations and products for the West, whether incorporating existing cards (such as the Oyster card in London) or setting up Nintendo cards that can be quickly and easily topped up online and then scanned into the system. Naturally, utilising existing NFC-enabled travel cards — as is the case in Japan — would be the ideal option.
Do you like the idea of using travel card funds to quickly buy games on the Wii U eShop? Let us know.