What is Nintendo NFC?

Iwata recntly announced the upcoming console WiiU will include something called NFC:

“By installing this functionality, it will become possible to create cards and figurines that can electronically read and write data via noncontact NFC and to expand the new play format in the video game world. Adoption of this functionality will enable various other possibilities such as using it as a means of making micropayments.”

I for one have no idea what that means. It doesn’t sound much more special than the 3DS features of Augmented reality (AR) & QR code reading. One has to assume though it’s something more than that.

Capitalising on Trading cards?

Trading card games are far more popular than one might assume. In Japan they are huge, and Nintendo has been trying to incorporate this craze into their consoles for ages.  I have no doubt this NFC comes with the ability to capitalise on trading cards and perhaps take them to the next level. Data on battle wins and losses could be stored and updated on the cards via NFC – if Im reading what Iwata says right…Im not sure! Needless to say even without that and just considering Augmented reality, how people play trading card games could evolve significantly.

Real life to virtual reality?

Imagine being able to take pictures with the WiiU controller that can be transformed into levels. That might be a bit too much too soon, however the idea that NFC compatable things can be read and transformed into things on screen is pretty much what is being suggested, but its isn’t hard to imagine that by following certain rules peoples drawings of 2d models can be translated and improved upon by the Wiiu. Imagine drawing your own Mario levels that come to life.

Making the mundane Magical

This could be done with existing technology im sure, but imagine and RPG based on collecting unique barcodes, that you level up by scanning everything in your cupbards, and that certain numbers unlock special features. It doesnt have to be barcodes, it could be logos or common patterns/textures from which the technology can derive mathematical patterns from. You could perhaps buy a pack of NFC chips/strips to put onto anything and the player could write their own rules, literally creating your own characters from anything.

Product placement & Special Offers

With with NFC function food companies world wide could unite in a rather bizzare take on Smash bros where NFC tech is placed into their packaging, by reading it the game gets a new charecter, and by the WiiU tranferring data to the NFC chip/strip on the product it can be returned to the store or scanned online for a discount on your next purchase.

Racing game expansions

Imagine a world where cars come with NFC or can be registered on NFC. Take any racing game and imagine you can scan your own car and NFC updates the game with a model of your car. Then you can transfer your game data to the NFC chip in your car, then when driving around using streetpass like technology cars automatically trade data, when you get home you scan ur car again and see who you met to compare achievements and you can be linked up online. Now imagine implementing Google streetview and maps. All these ideas are probably about 20 year premature, but who knows?


That’s your lot

It’s not easy to speculate on something you admit you dont really understand, and I imagine I am well off the mark on everything except trading cards. As a long time fan boy, I’ve heard stuff like this from Nintendo before, such as with the E-reader and it seldom amounts to anything. Features get stapled on last minute or released as new hardware quite often and they almost always fail. NFC certainly fires the imagination even if it’s stunted by a lack of clarity, but it is this lack of clarity that suggests to me NFC will amount to very little. Still one wants to be hopeful it’s the next best thing.

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