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Nintendo charts the future of Amiibo: Cards, figurines, third parties

"We do not think Amiibo always needs to take the form of a figure, either. We believe that Amiibo could take a variety of different forms," says Nintendo president Iwata.
In Nintendo's latest investment Q&A, company president Satoru Iwata and game development head Shigeru Miyamoto outline the future of Nintendo's new NFC-powered "figure platform," Amiibo, which is due to launch globally very soon. "We do not think Amiibo always needs to take the form of a figure, either. We believe that Amiibo could take a variety of different forms," Iwata told shareholders. Miyamoto expanded on this thought, saying that the "Amiibo product range will also include cards in the future" that could "propose new ways to play card games" using the company's hardware. The technology in the Wii U NFC reader is compatible with that used for Japanese train-fare cards, suggesting it can exist in a very compact format. The company's redesigned New 3DS hardware also includes an NFC reader below the lower screen; a separate device to allow older 3DS hardware to read Amiibo will be released next year. "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," Miyamoto said. The first wave of Amiibo figurines are $12.99 -- cheaper than Disney Infinity figurines, but more expensive than basic Skylanders toys. One third party publisher has already gained access to the Amiibo platform: Bandai Namco will launch Ace Combat 3D: Cross Rumble Plus in Japan in January with support for Nintendo's toys, as revealed in the Japanese edition of last week's Nintendo Direct. The first game to support Amiibo will be Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which is due to be released on the same day as the toys. More games will support the figurines in the future. The full Q&A is a hefty but interesting read. Gamasutra has also broken out stories from on the company's attitude toward partnerships and acquisitions and its policies on region-locking games.

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