E3 2014: Amiibo will Win the NFC Figure War

Sections: Consoles, Conventions, E3, Exclusives, Features, Figures & Toys, Gear, Opinions, Wii U

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Nintendo has decided to capitalize on the NFC figure trend, and they’re going all out. Forget about worrying that Activision has cornered the game on figures, especially with Skylanders Trap Team‘s Pokemon-esque elements. I think Nintendo’s Amiibo may have won the day. Yes, you heard me, Amiibo. That’s the newest line of NFC figures that are going to not work with one, not two, but multiple Wii U games. So far only Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart 8 are confirmed, but that’s just the start. Not that it matters, because Amiibo will win.

There are multiple reasons behind my already adamant and immediate Amiibo backing, and it has nothing to do with how cute the Animal Crossing villager Amiibo is. Okay, maybe a little. Think about it. These are iconic, NFC figures of some of the most popular, iconic, Nintendo characters. The initial product image lineup shows Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Link, Pikachu, Samus, Kirby, Donkey Kong, the Villager, and the Wii Fit Trainer. I feel like I have to own all 10 of these initial characters, and I can’t be alone.

Second is the fact that the Amiibo figures work with multiple games. This isn’t like Skylanders, where the figures only work with a specific kind of kiddie-Diablo style game, and new figures only work with the newest games. Nintendo has already confirmed Amiibo compatibility with Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart 8, two very different kinds of games. They’ve also said figures will work from game to game, so forward compatibility is a given. If someone has one Mario Amiibo, they won’t need another one. That one figure could get them through any Amiibo-compatible game with Mario in it.

Another bonus is, Wii U owners don’t need to buy extra equipment. Everyone has to love that. This isn’t like Skylanders where every installment could mean investing in a new, $75 starter set because the new figures need a specific kind of Portal of Power. The Gamepad reads the Amiibo NFC figures. If you’ve got that and it’s working, you’re set. People will be far more likely to invest in a new Amiibo game if it just means paying for a game and not more figures and peripherals.

Finally, I have a feeling that Nintendo learned a lot from its Pokemon Rumble U fiasco. That was its first attempt at a NFC game. It… didn’t go well. But, the toy Pokemon figures were adorable, affordable at $3.99, and worked pretty well within the game. These figures were basically an Amiibo test run, if you think about it. I know they were flying off the shelves at GameStop at $4 each, so if Nintendo keeps that kind of pricing in mind, keeping Amiibos under the price of Skylanders figures, it could make this even better.

For now, my assertion that the Amiibos are going to win this is pure conjecture. We won’t know for sure until the 2014 holiday season, when the Amiibo figures hit stores, but I have a good feeling about this one.

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  • Polis

    These have also been confirmed for Mario Party 10, Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker and Yoshi’s Wooly World.