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Nintendo announces NFC figurine platform for Wii U and 3DS

"New product genre will serve as first example of actively utilising character IP"

Nintendo has announced a new near field communication platform for Wii U and 3DS called Nintendo Figurine Platform (NFP).

Speaking during the company's annual financial results briefing, after Nintendo reported a net loss following disappointing Wii U sales, president Satoru Iwata told investors:

"To establish new and growing areas through the active utilization of character IP, it is important for Nintendo to take risks ourselves and come up with interesting ways to use our character IP.

"In other words, other than using character IP in Nintendo's video game software, we need to start a new business that will someday become one of our core activities."

While Wii U is currently Nintendo's only platform with built-in NFC reader/writer functionality, support for the technology will be introduced for the 3DS family of handhelds in the first half of 2015.

Nintendo will announce a number of NFP compatible games at E3 in June, and plans to release character figurines with built-in NFC functionality beginning this Christmas season. NFP will be compatible with Wii U software from the end of 2014, and with 3DS software from next year.

"What is especially unique about NFP is that it is not classed as an accessory product of a certain software title but as a platform itself," Iwata said.

"NFP has a writer function as well as a reader function, so it can not only tell what character figurine is on the Wii U GamePad, but also a compact amount of data unique to each game can be written into it and read from it. That is to say, you will be able to customize your NFP to raise or train your own Nintendo characters, for example.

"With the launch of this new product genre, NFP is going to serve as the first example of actively utilizing our own character IP.

"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."

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