During this week's investor meeting, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata let slip a lot of new details about the Wii U
, including that the controller will take advantage of Near Field Communication
. NFC is a technology that allows two devices to interact simply through touch. It has been used to great effect in Skylanders, the toy/video game hybrid based on the Spyro universe. GameXplain has an informative article
about the possibilities, and while they focus on inevitable possibilities of Pokemon and Mario Kart, there's really a lot more you could do with this technology.
Unlike their half-hearted push for motion controls, which usually came off as gimmicky, this is one feature I wouldn't mind Nintendo focusing on. The kid in me is obviously excited that NFC will finally give Nintendo a reason to make action figures for ALL their franchises, not just Mario, but the adult gamer side of my personality is also intrigued by the possibilities.
I've never found augmented reality to be terribly exciting, and Kinect has so far failed to blur the line between the real world and videogames in any significant way. But what if games started coming with cards, items and small props to integrate into the game? What if you could buy gun props and scan them into a zombie shooter, like arcade lightgun games of old? What if you could use real Zelda items like a slingshot, bow or potion bottle? The potential for gimmicks and lots of cluttery game nick-nacks is a problem, but if the NFC tech is handled tastefully and not actually required to play any games, it could be a big feather in the Wii U's cap. Nintendo started out as a playing card and toy company after all.