The Wii U is already packed with fun tech features, and now Nintendo has announced that the Wii U tablet controller will also feature NFC (near field communication) technology.
NFC is an old concept that allows two enabled devices to communicate with each other through a radio signal when you touch them together or bring them close to each other, and is most often used for touch payments, such as with Google Wallet or those cards used by transportation services that you pre-load with money and then touch to a machine to deduct fare.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explains that this technology will enable “creat[ing] 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.” Of course, you could still use it to make payments. Just touch an RFID-enabled credit card to the tablet and boom! You’ve just unlocked a feature and was charged five dollars.
So far, the only use of NFC in the gaming space is with the Activision game Skylanders, where you could put an NFC figurine on an NFC platform to make the figures come alive in-game. But the concept has many potential applications — proximity related social networking, for instance, or “touch to share” functionality. It should be interesting to see what Nintendo can make of this feature.