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Nintendo exploring ability to make payments, save high scores with Wii U's NFC technology

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Nintendo developers are exploring both non-gaming and gaming uses for the NFC technology built into the Wii U and hope to show off some "concrete examples" by the end of the year, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told analysts during a briefing in January.

"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," Iwata said in a response to a question about the tech being put to use.

The most well-known use of NFC in gaming right know is in Skylanders, where the tech is used to import a figure into the game when placed on a portal. The technology will also be used in upcoming Disney Infinity, in a similar way.

When pressed on the absence of Wii U games and apps using NFC, Iwata today explained that the company is looking in two main directions for using the technology.

"One is to use it for video games," he said. "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 would be to use the tech to support e-money. In Japan FeliCa payments are widely used and supports NFC, Iwata pointed out.

"Technically, it is possible to settle an account by waving an e-money card over the Wii U GamePad," he said. "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."

Correction: This story initially incorrectly identified when this question and answer session took place. These statements were made in January.