We've argued before that amiibo could be crucial for Nintendo's fortunes in the coming months and years; if the company can make them enticing to consumers and as integral to Wii U and 3DS as the games themselves, it could be hugely lucrative. From our perspective as gamers, they also have potential to enhance experiences in interesting ways, too.
The toys launch soon, of course, and Nintendo featured them in its latest Direct broadcast to highlight how they'll work in multiple games. It's a long term project, however, and in its financial results investor Q & A — now officially translated — Shigeru Miyamoto explained some of the ideas being considered for the brand. While more figurines — and smaller options — were mentioned once again, Miyamoto-san made interesting comments in terms of utilising NFC (near field communication) for amiibo-branded cards. Payment NFC cards — for the Wii U eShop — are already used in Japan, but the concept of these as amiibo cards used in games has an obvious appeal; it could take Nintendo back to its trading card roots, while Animal Crossing is also being cited as a franchise currently being considered for amiibo. If Pokémon amiibo trading cards haven't been discussed internally, meanwhile, we'd be astonished. Miyamoto-san said the following:
With quality workmanship and attention to even the tiniest of details, amiibo have their own distinct appeal just as a figure. In addition, unique functionality has been installed in amiibo that can be used in games. amiibo can take forms other than figures, too. I just talked about cards (“Nintendo e-Reader”), and the amiibo product range will also include cards in the future. For example, when amiibo become cards, we can create a game which can be played only by passing several cards over the NFC reader/writer, and the results will be stored in the amiibo card. I cannot discuss any of the details today, but amiibo has the potential to propose new ways to play card games. We will also launch smaller and even more affordable amiibo figures in the future, so we hope that with this variety of price points, consumers will be able to enjoy a number of amiibo. By using amiibo in different forms, we are internally discussing the possibility of using amiibo with, for example, an “Animal Crossing” game and other games in some unique ways. I hope you look forward to our future announcements. We plan to use amiibo to create new ways to play. Since the already-released “Mario Kart 8” is also compatible with amiibo, you can see what unique features can be realized.
Satoru Iwata also pitched in on the subject, emphasizing that the company's goal with the toys is to make them appealing in a variety of ways.
We want consumers to be curious about what will happen when they hold the same amiibo over the NFC reader/writer when playing many different games because we believe that this particular feeling of trying out amiibo in new ways is the “sense of wonder” we were just talking about. Ever since we first came up with the idea of amiibo, we have been repeatedly saying to our internal developers that we are creating a new entertainment category by tapping into that feeling. And our tendency to think about new ways to take advantage of amiibo has been spreading.
Do you like the idea of amiibo cards, and would they work well in a series like Animal Crossing or Pokémon? Let us know what you think.