Nintendo will release a line of Skylanders-style near field communication action figurines and video games for Wii U and 3DS codenamed Nintendo Figurine Platform this year-end sales season, president Satoru Iwata announced during its financial results briefing today.
The figurine can read and write game data across many titles, enabling players to "customize your NFP to raise or train your own Nintendo characters." According to tweets by analyst David Gibson in attendance at the briefing, the company demonstrated technology by showing a Mario figurine being used across several games.
"And it has been designed to be compatible with multiple software titles for Nintendo platforms," Iwata said. "In other words, the figurines, which consumers can buy and collect, are going to work with multiple software titles to be released in the future, and we are aiming to develop more software titles compatible with the figurines.
"Nintendo has a lot of well-known character IP that has originated in video games, and we have been regularly releasing titles from game franchises that make use of this character IP," he added. "This is why I believe a brand-new type of platform will be born when the character IP becomes compatible with NFP."
NFP will be compatible with Wii U software from this year-end, according to Iwata, and will support 3DS software from next year. Nintendo will launch an NFP infrared reader for the 3DS first half of the next calendar year so figurines can be used across both the Wii U and 3DS. In development since last year, Nintendo hopes to showcase NFP related games and figurines in development for the Wii U and 3DS at E3 2014 in June.
"With the launch of this new product genre, NFP, which will be compatible with Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, is going to serve as the first example of actively utilizing our own character IP," Iwata said. "At the same time, there are not only going to be decorative boxes for video game hardware and packages for software, but also Nintendo character figurines displayed on store shelves. This will provide exposure for Nintendo, play a great role in raising our brand awareness and create more opportunities for consumers to play video games.'
Posting a 46.4 billion yen operating loss ($456 million), the company repeated in its fiscal year earnings today that it will focus on stimulating Wii U sales, which continue to have a "negative impact on Nintendo's profits." The company aims to boost sales by further demonstrating the GamePad's value and providing software that takes advantage of the GamePad and its NFC reader/writer functionality.
Nintendo also revealed today that it will launch a smartphone service with its first mobile application tentatively titled Mario Kart TV to coincide with the release of Wii U title Mario Kart 8.