Wii U will begin supporting transport e-money cards compatible with Suica, an RFID smart card used for train fare in Japan, as a way of making monetary payments, Nintendo confirmed today.
The company previously only supported credit cards and pre-paid cards to make digital payments before experimenting with the Wii U console's near-field communication function to make payments using e-money cards. This function will be tested out in Japan first before being introduced elsewhere.
"I understand that approximately 250,000 shops where there are more than 450,000 machines that accept Suica at the moment, and I believe that the additional impact of more than one million units of a game console with an e-money payment system suddenly becoming available among families would not be so insignificant," said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata in today's financial results presentation.
Iwata first announced the idea of using the Wii U's NFC functionality last year, stating Nintendo plans to use it to make small payments easy and thereby grow its digital business.
NFC support was available in the GamePad at launch, but no games used the feature at the time. The first, Pokémon Rumble U, came out in Japan in 2013 as Pokémon Scramble U.
"We think that this NFC payment function will help provide more convenience to consumers," Iwata continued. "And at the same time, I think that this will be an opportunity for both Nintendo and our business partners to come up with new ways to do business on Wii U."