Mr. Iwata Says Wii U NFC Prototypes Will ‘Probably’ be Available This Year

A lot of people might not remember this fact, since Nintendo hasn’t really talked about it since the Wii U launched, but the GamePad features a NFC reader – the same technology used to power Activision’s mega-popular Skylanders franchise and the recently-announced Disney Infinity. However, Nintendo hasn’t forgotten it – and Mr. Iwata says they’re aiming to make early prototypes available some time this year.

Read on for more details about what they’re thinking of in terms of utilizing NFC.

First of all, there are two main directions when it comes to the use of NFC. One is to use it for video games. For example, we can create cards and figurines with NFC and design our video games to work in conjunction with them. Also, an increasing number of arcade games are utilizing IC cards which can read and write data in order to record users’ scores and it is possible for Wii U games to connect with them.

We are in talks with several software developers regarding such possibilities. We are making preparations and, by the end of this year, we will probably be able to show you some output, tell you about some more concrete examples of the possibilities or even let you try out some tangible examples.

The other direction is e-money. In Japan e-money called FeliCa is widely used, and FeliCa is included in NFC. Technically, it is possible to settle an account by waving an e-money card over the Wii U GamePad.

We are conducting research into this right now as one of this technology’s future possibilities. We will make an announcement when we are ready to discuss a more detailed plan. Since we have made a certain investment in order to install NFC, we will make efforts to at least receive a return on our investment.

Ben recently discussed the possibilities of combining NFC and the existing collectible nature of Pok√©mon, but of course Nintendo doesn’t have to limit itself to its existing franchises. Why not a completely new game that takes advantage of NFC in some way?

Source: Nintendo Third Quarter Financial Results Briefing for the 73rd Fiscal Term Ending March 2013