One of the core features of the Wii U, are the the potentialities of asymmetric play granted by the console’s secondary screen. Nintendo focused its efforts to valorize that feature during the launch period of the hardware. Maybe a bit too much, admitted Shigeru Miyamoto in last week’s financial briefing.
The Wii U has many features that he felt they did not make the most of. One of the biggest ones is the NFC capability of the console. Nintendo, said Miyamoto, will make more efforts to do the NFC system justice. The obvious way is to make more intensive use of the amiibo cards and Nintendo figures, but he promises new ways to use it as well.
That doesn’t mean that the two screens feature will be ignored. New titles that make wide use of the secondary screen will be announced in the next E3 and some will come out during the next year.
Here’s Miyamoto’s full comment:
As Mr. Iwata said, Wii U has so many attractive features, and we have not been able to communicate all of its charms yet. We are still making efforts to demonstrate the potential of Wii U even today. When we started our planning for Wii U, we were focusing on the unique ways to make use of the TV screen and the smaller screen on the GamePad. We also wanted to demonstrate that Wii U could be started even without turning on your TV set so that the console experience of Wii U is closer to that of Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo DS. The quick boot-up of Wii U has been realized (through a Wii U system update), and we are currently developing a number of Wii U games we announced at E3 2014 that take advantage of the second screen on the GamePad. We will be releasing a number of these Wii U games next year.
On the other hand, we have to admit that we might have focused too much on the unique uses of the two screens. We should have put more effort into using the NFC functionality much earlier, but we are now moving forward with projects that make use of NFC in a variety of unique ways. Nintendo is known as a video game company, but in fact, it is also a toy company. Toys must make consumers feel a “sense of wonder.” In that sense, with video game software, we can think about many different ways to emulate that feeling by creating virtual experiences for the users.
When it comes to video game hardware, the hardware-development companies tend to take the similar and rather unified course of aiming to beef up the machines’ functionalities. In our efforts to differentiate our hardware from others, I believe it is important that users experience that feeling that they have played with a new toy. To that end, the fact that we can reproduce in our entertainment the experiences that people today can only have at a few limited places (mainly for business purposes outside the home) such as train ticket gates, namely, some results are shown instantaneously on the screen as soon as you pass something over somewhere, is very attractive.
In the past, Nintendo creatively used the accessory called “Nintendo e-Reader” (a card reader for Game Boy Advance). Today, with NFC functionality, the unique entertainment we were trying to create at that time will be more easily realized for our consumers. Although I know that many people wanted to purchase Nintendo character figures in the past, all we did to make figures was grant licenses to other companies. Now that we also have decided to make high-quality figures ourselves, we keep making more characters that we think would please our fans. With quality workmanship and attention to even the tiniest of details, amiibo have their own distinct appeal just as a figure. In addition, unique functionality has been installed in amiibo that can be used in games. amiibo can take forms other than figures, too. I just talked about cards (“Nintendo e-Reader”), and the amiibo product range will also include cards in the future.
For example, when amiibo become cards, we can create a game which can be played only by passing several cards over the NFC reader/writer, and the results will be stored in the amiibo card. I cannot discuss any of the details today, but amiibo has the potential to propose new ways to play card games. We will also launch smaller and even more affordable amiibo figures in the future, so we hope that with this variety of price points, consumers will be able to enjoy a number of amiibo. By using amiibo in different forms, we are internally discussing the possibility of using amiibo with, for example, an “Animal Crossing” game and other games in some unique ways.
I hope you look forward to our future announcements. We plan to use amiibo to create new ways to play. Since the already-released “Mario Kart 8” is also compatible with amiibo, you can see what unique features can be realized.