Where Should Amiibo Go Next?

We brainstorm the potential future of Amiibo!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 04/15/2015 07:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

What makes Amiibo unique is how the the toys scratch so many different itches. As figurines, Amiibo give players physical representations of characters that fans don’t often see outside of import shops. It’s also great how Amiibo can be used across multiple titles, and now even between both Nintendo’s home and handheld platforms, which expands their functionality even more. The value of Amiibo can’t be ignored either, as tallying up all the different game modes, costumes, and other bits of DLC and unlockables the toys provide ultimately almost pays for the cost of each figure– and with more untold uses of each Amiibo coming in the future, that value will only continue to rise.

Keeping all that in mind, what’s really astounding is that Nintendo hasn’t even maximized the potential of Amiibo at this point. The possibilities for Amiibo is still virtually boundless, or at the very least the technology powering the line is. Activision’s Skylanders set the early standard for what toys to life can be, but as Nintendo has already demonstrated, it’s not the be-all, end-all approach. Let’s break down some ways that Nintendo can diversify Amiibo and make the toys into something truly special. I already detailed what I think Nintendo is doing wrong, so I’ll be approaching this without any of the kinks and flaws of the line in mind.

Amiibo Interaction

As Smash Bros. has so effectively demonstrated, Amiibo can learn. Freakishly well, in fact; a Fox Amiibo came in third in a Smash Bros. tournament not that long ago, believe it or not. Insane, I know, but with the right mixture of software and internal wizardry, Nintendo could potentially find even more useful ways of exploiting the toys’ learning capabilities. Imagine if Nintendo distributed the “smarts” of some of its developers’ Amiibo via Nintendo Network? How cool would it be to download Smash creator/developer Sakurai’s Mario or Marth Amiibo data to a player’s own figure at home and duke it out in-game?

It would also be potentially fun to see Nintendo adapt Amiibo intelligence to other games, like Mario Kart 8. Players have actually seen racing titles from other developers like Microsoft’s Forza and its Drivatars, where the game’s AI attempts to mimic a human driver’s techniques and tendencies. What if an Amiibo linked to a particular player profile in Mario Kart 8 could do much the same thing? And like above, Nintendo could find a way to distribute these Amiibo AIs in order to keep competition and interest in Mario Kart 8 strong for a good, long time.

Bridge Games and Franchises

I absolutely loved that Nintendo and Intelligent Systems thought to add the three Fire Emblem representatives of the Amiibo line to Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. While I’m inclined to lean more toward the side of caution when it comes to Nintendo cross-pollinating its various characters, titles like Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8 have proven just what great synergy this can lead to. If Nintendo can find a way to use Amiibo to further integrate certain franchises where it makes sense, or can be a boon to gameplay, I’m all for it.

Imagine leveling up a Bowser, Jr. Amiibo in Smash Bros., and then taking that Amiibo and scanning him into New Super Mario Bros. U 2 (that’s not a sneak-announcement, just a hypothetical). Nintendo could design it so that the higher Bowser, Jr.’s level in Smash, the more crazy-difficult a boss battle players could challenge themselves to in-game. Or maybe scanning a Mario Amiibo into New Super Mario Bros. U 2 could let players transfer coins earned in that game to Super Smash Bros. so that they can unlock more Trophies. The give and take can go in all sorts of directions, and could make for some really interesting new ways to play.

Deal Me In

Amiibo cards, which will utilize the NFC tech that powers the figurines, open another roomful of possibilities. Besides simply scanning a character into a game, as Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer will do, what if Nintendo built an entire competitive game based around these cards? Something along the lines of Pokémon TCG, or Hearthstone, but with an emphasis on the interactive nature of the cards, and Nintendo’s signature ease of play. Maybe create a mat where the cards are placed, and positioning them certain ways or stacking them can unleash attacks. The key would be to make it easy enough for players to build a full deck without having to buy a million packs of cards, but that’s probably more of a pipe dream than I’d care to admit. Still, I could see Nintendo working some magic by making its Amiibo cards a versatile sister line to the actual toys.

What are your thoughts on the future of Amiibo? Any ideas of your own you’d like to share? Sound off below!

One Response to “Where Should Amiibo Go Next?”

  • 849 points
    ejamer says...

    I’ve got a few choice opinions about where Amiibo can go… but that’s related more to the distribution and availability woes than the actual platform… Already discussed, right?

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