Reggie Expects Amiibo to Drive Wii U Sales

He discusses how Nintendo’s NFC figures are unique and why they did not release earlier.

By Kyle England. Posted 06/19/2014 13:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

One of Nintendo’s biggest announcements of E3 this year was the reveal of amiibo, official NFC figures featuring Nintendo characters that could be used across multiple titles. The first batch of figures will launch alongside Super Smash Bros. for Wii U later this year, and will feature fighters from the game. Polygon interviewed Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, where he elaborated on some of the future plans for amiibo, and how it’s different from other NFC figure platforms like Skylanders and Disney Infinity.

Delving into the market of video game with interactive toys has proved very lucrative for Activison and Disney Interactive, so why has Nintendo waited until two years into the Wii U’s lifespan to release amiibo? Reggie indicated that Nintendo wanted to be very thoughtful of its approach to a figure platform, and wanted to launch the concept with a big franchise, something Smash Bros. definitely is. Reggie expects the launch of amiibo to be a great business opportunity for Nintendo, one that can even push more sales of Wii U. “I think Amiibo can have a significant impact on driving the install base for Wii U on the sales of figures themselves,” he said.

Reggie also believes amiibo can differentiate itself with the other established titans in the NFC market. For one, the Wii U GamePad does not require any extra accessories to scan figures, and this helps make the price of entry lower. He also indicated that Nintendo has no plans for a game that revolves around their figures as the other companies do, rather they will be supplemental to many different games. “What I would tell you is that we do believe the cross-game play is a big advantage for us,” Reggie said. “And having a Mario figure that could be potentially used in not only Smash Bros. but also in Mario Kart as well as in Mario Party 10. We think that’s a pretty strong competitive advantage.”

Amiibo figures will also offer many different functions, because developers of Nintendo games can choose whatever type of feature they wish to unlock with the figures. This will really show the true value of amiibo as a figure platform that can do many different things. Reggie said “the specifics of the gameplay will be unique to the game, and it is really up to the developer to program. So you will have a developer create a mechanism like what Mr. Sakurai is doing, where it really is a leveling up mechanic. And you’ll have other developers taking different approaches.”

As for the figures themselves, the fact that they feature widely loved Nintendo characters also doesn’t hurt. Reggie believes that amiibo will have a more diverse ownership base than other figures, due to the recognition of Nintendo properties, and people’s urge to collect their favorite characters. Nintendo is confident that their share in the figure market “is going to be much larger than what the other people in this space have been able to accomplish.”

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will launch alongside around 10 figures this year, and we can expect more figures throughout 2015. Reggie was hesitant to put any numerical limits, as Nintendo’s catalog of potential amiibo figures is admittedly very deep. However, Reggie had nothing to share about possible amiibo and game bundles that we might see.

Source: Polygon

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