How The Wii U And Pokémon Could Destroy Wallets Worldwide

Nintendo's upcoming home console, the Wii U, has a killer app. It's not necessarily the feature you'd first figure as the machine's most intriguing element. But it is what could help push the machine past rivals with the help of some cute monsters.

The Wii U is outfitted with NFC (near field communication) that will allow gamers to "scan" in toys and cards. This spring, Ubisoft showed how it might use the tech as did Nintendo earlier today.

In Nintendo's proof-of-concept video, the Kyoto-based game maker used a no-name video game character as a demo NFC item. But Nintendo has big video game characters, which will no doubt find their way into NFC Wii U toys. But forget Mario or Zelda, the biggest Wii U cash cow is perhaps Pokémon.

Skylanders is proof positive that there is mass appeal for NFC toys in video games. If Pokémon does take a page from Skylanders (and Nintendo is stupid not to), there is an endless array of Pocket Monster NFC toys just waiting to overrun your local toy store.

There's already an array of Pokémon collectible figurines (especially in Japan), and it's now just a matter of Nintendo deciding to chip said toys (and release new ones, too!) so that they are compatible with the Wii U.

There is a precedent for chipped Pocket Monster gaming accessories. The kiddy arcade game Pokémon Battrio uses chipped plastic pucks as pieces that are scanned in and then moved around on a NFC matt. Those scanned pucks and their movements correspond in game.

The Wii U's NFC reader can scan in figures or cards. Since Nintendo was originally card marker, the company will no doubt fire up its card printing presses.

While other game companies focus on owning digital items, Skylanders has shown that people want to own physical objects. Owning virtual items is not the same as something you can hold in your hand and put on your shelf. Who better than Nintendo to drive that point home? This is exactly why NFC toys look to be the Wii U's killer app — more so than the tablet Wii U GamePad or even the console's high-powered graphics.

Chipped Pokémon cards and figurines that interact with the newest Wii U Pocket Monster game could grab the attentions of those who are keen to, wait for it, catch 'em all.

(Top photo background: gamingaddictmike125 [Remix: Luke Plunkett )


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    Holy shit! This is scary!!!

    If Nintendo plays there cards right they come be racking it in. Selling cards!!! ... or some other associated merch.

    Hmmm, about a year ago, I was 100% sure that this is the direction the 3DS would take, in regards to AR cards and pokemon. Now, there is yet another pokemon game coming that won't be a 3DS exclusive...

    Could you imagine playing the pokemon TCG using your 3DS's to actually act out the battles? I could. But then Nintendo crushed my dreams.

    I don't know. Nintendo is very protective of pokemon, and by protective i mean they wouldn't change anything about it if they don't hafve to

    I'm pretty sure this would have been the main reason it now has NFC.

    Didn't they try something similar on the GBA with the Gamecube? It was cool, but heavily underutilised.

    Reminds me of the GBA E-Card reader and the pokemon cards that interacted with it..

    All Hail, Lord Nintendo!!!!

    I wonder if the Nintendo die-hard supporters who were lambasting Sony for SASBR being a copy of SSB will likewise reject Nintendo's blatant idea-theft from Skylanders if this turns out to be true?

      Things like this have been around since the 90s. Just not done as well.

      I wouldn't count this as one of Nintendo's most innovative inclusions in the Wii U (and Nintendo wasn't the first with this idea either) however having it as standard in all Wii Us means any game can take advantage of it which in itself is a technical first.

      Oh and the lambasting sony gets for copying Nintendo is mostly warranted, if you look at the list of things copied between them sony would come out on top (in other words they copy more).

      Hey i'm not going to sit here and tell you Nintendo has all original ideas all the time because its not always the case. But lets think for a moment. As technology goes sometimes these sorts of technology arent fully fleshed out at time of a consoles development cycle in the case of NFC the first device to use it was out in 2006 the release year of the Wii. Considering the Wii was all about motion controls having this nifty device which was still so new and its potential not fully explored would have been a big risk, but as Nintendo found out it did very well so hey now they don't need to focus so much on Motion controls because its like 'been there done that' why not integrate it into the system and have games benefit from its inclusion.

      Anyway so yeah its not a Nintendo first, but in terms of console design it is a first.

    Technically Nintendo can already do this with the 3DS, we saw with Mario Tennis how Nintendo used QR codes to unlock hidden characters, there's no reason why they won't do the same with 3DS Pokemon games, plus each QR code can be unique so you can't just scan it and put the QR code online for everyone to use.

      How exactly do you do that with a QR code? You can't make it unique, unless the copy of the game is specifically programmed to accept only one particular QR code. Which would then mean that once that card is removed from that copy of the game, the two are useless.

      A QR code is no different to a barcode, it just has more "lines" to it. Whereas with NFC, you can send back and store information on the scanned item. So like you see with Skylanders, your little figurine actually becomes "your" character that you have used and crafted yourself. Not like e-cards, and whatever you scanned from the card was always going to be exactly the same every time.

      Not entirely sure that would work. From my little understanding of QR codes, they are just code that can be read locally and unless there is a two way verification system (i.e. special seal that cannot be copied like the clear window on bank notes) or constant connection to the internet. On the other hand NFC would be harder to dupe as it's a physical property that you cannot copy over the internet

    If Nintendo made a full on main entry Pokemon for the Wii U it would burst a hole in the gaming world. It's what everyone has wanted since N64 days and this is the right time to do it. I'm praying that this game is at E3 tomorrow!!

      I've always wondered why there hasn't been a pokemon MMO... it would be a money spinner.

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