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Is figure collecting the future of gaming?

Skylanders fan Marti Bennett on the postives and negatives of NFC

Near Field Communication (often shortened to NFC) is a way of devices communicating using radio frequency at a close range. It's actually nothing new, wuith the public taking advantage of the technology to swipe Oyster Cards on the London Underground or making a quick purchase on a credit card and mobile phones. Yes, in gaming it is taking off. First we had Skylanders and this summer Disney will be asking fans to pay for figures in Disney Infinity. But is this a good thing.

Skylanders

Going back to the beginning, in October 2011, Skylanders Spyro's Adventure introduced a wide range of collectible figures which, when placed on the Portal of Power, allowed you to play with your figure in game. Using NFC technology, all level up data and collectibles would be stored on the figure.

It was followed up by Skylanders Giants which heralded advanced 'lightcore' figures which glow up (without batteries) when placed near or on the portal of power. While getting generally decent reviews, many reviewers felt the expense of collecting of real toys to play the game was unacceptable.

Before it was officially announced that the Wii U GamePad would support NFC technology, a leaked Rayman Legends trailer teased the possibilities of this feature by showing us figures such as a Rabbid and Assassins Creed's Ezio being placed on the Wii U gamepad. Sadly this was an internal demonstration video and NFC features do not feature in the final game. Nintendo have been very quiet regarding the NFC feature of the Wii U, probably because none of the launch games use the feature. Hopefully Nintendo will show off their plans to use NFC soon.

Could Pokemon be next?

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But what will they show? Well, one idea that is often mentioned is Pokemon. Could Nintendo jump on the Skylanders bandwagon and release NFC Pokemon figures? There are well over six hundred Pokemon now and with more to come when Pokemon X and Y are released later this year, some say that it could be a huge money making scheme for Nintendo.

Having said that, it's hard to see that Nintendo would produce such a large amount of NFC toys. The cost of such a task would be bank breaking not only for Nintendo but the fans also. However I could see a spin-off Pokemon game will use this feature, but nothing to the scale of over six hundred figures.

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  1. LOZanges Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 08:33

    I LOVED Skylanders, not because the the characters had catchphrases or because Spyro was in it, I loved it because it was NEW. That's why I didn't buy Giants, 'cause it didn't justify another Ł50 spent. Disney Infinity is an exception. :)

  2. Lego master Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 08:43

    "Is figure collecting the future of gaming?"
    If it is I may cry....

  3. MartinIsAwesome Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 10:57

    It better not be, especially considering the cost for each figure. I'm not against the idea of games with NFC support, just as as it adds an extra feeling of immersion and as long as the physical item(s) you need are boxed in with the game so that you have everything you need to start playing, and you get an acceptable amount of content and play-time already in the game.

  4. vix_chan Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 11:23

    I could see it becoming a big thing.
    A big money maker for companys, and bank breaker for us.

    In a way, i kind of hope it dosn't. because i can see it puting me off of buying games because of all the add-ons.

  5. Layton link Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 11:54

    Dear god I hope not..if it does i think i might just..stop,buying new games..

  6. King Slazo Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 12:10

    Pokémon figure collecting? You do remember the Trading Figure Game right? And how quickly that tanked.

    Far more likely is it'll be used with cards of some sort. Kid Icarus Uprising already proved how viable that was.

  7. AquaMisty Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 12:51

    Does no one seem to see that Pokemon would be completely ruined by NFC because there would be no skill at all in catching Pokemon ,it would be about who is willing to spend the most money.

  8. fisher2007 Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 13:03

    I hope not and if it does happen stop buying new games.

  9. Tuckforce Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 13:47

    I think Pokemon could easily dominate this market.

    Perhaps a more likely avenue could be releasing a special chain of Pokemon cards with NFC capabilities? They would be separate from the trading card game and different to the models that are being used in Skylanders and Disney Infinity AND would be more cost effective to manufacture. This could make them much cheaper to purchase than the ridiculously over priced skylander figurines.

    It could bring the excitement of collecting rare cards from the trading card game to the computer game series, just imagine how much more satisfying it would be to get a rare Pokemon if it was a physical object which you could only get through buying/trading and luck.

    Also with the small memory storage in these NFC devices you would be be able to level up that card and make it your own, the more I think about this the more possibilities there are!

  10. Yinyanreshiram Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 14:04

    It would be cool if Pokemon went the Skylanders route but it would be so expensive.I'd rather just catch my Pokemon using a pokeball rather than spending €10 every time I want to add a new Pokemon to my team >.<

  11. KH81314 Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 14:10

    I'm already having trouble buying the games I want. If they make more games with figure collecting thatn i'm gonna have to give up some great game.

  12. Tinstar5 Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 15:15

    There are two problems with figure collecting. 1) It can be very expensive and 2) It can be hard to store them somewhere if you've got loads of them. But it can work if the figures are realtively small and cheap.

  13. 1steagle Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 15:28

    so the future of gaming is making us buy a game and then spending another Ł50 to complete the fricking thing

  14. IPecksU Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 15:44

    The figure collecting thing is the reason I'm not getting disney infinite...

    I wouldn't mind them using NFC for an online pokemon trading card game off the wii u eshop though. Maybe you could scan non nfc cards with the camera or use a download code from the decks or boosters you buy

  15. neko paul Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 15:56

    oh god, I hope not. I'm not forking out extra money for something just to play a video game

  16. PokeMarti Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 17:55

    Just to make clear, I think NFC is a very exciting area for games to get into, not just with figures. I look forward to seeing how the technology can be used in other ways to add to the gaming experience.

  17. madbox Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 19:45

    I always keep thinking Smash Bros would be perfect for this knowing the fanbase is way more hardcore and die hard.

    though not really the most liked idea imagine buying rare trophies, coming across someone online using it and how this would be awesome on display :) who knows not the perfect evolution of the series but still not a bad thought :D

  18. HaydnRhys Saturday 2nd Feb 2013 at 22:44

    the thing about disney infinity is that you get a bit more for your money because they unlock complete new levels rather than just allowing you access to a couple of treasures and areas. So maybe the small extra cost is worth it.

  19. Pyron12 Sunday 3rd Feb 2013 at 09:34

    I don't want that to happen to Pokemon. Otherwise that would ruin the franchise and so many of the iconic gameplay elements.

  20. Scraggy man Sunday 3rd Feb 2013 at 16:04

    Does no one seem to see that Pokemon would be completely ruined by NFC because there would be no skill at all in catching Pokemon ,it would be about who is willing to spend the most money.


    Pokemon got to spend it all! Pokemon! :D

  21. Cinaclov Sunday 3rd Feb 2013 at 16:18

    You remember how Pokemon Cards in the GBA era all had e-card bar-codes along the edge? I think that's an almost perfect example of how it should work. If they worked NFC into an already existing product (there are still Pokemon toys out there :P) then have it unlock similar things as the e-cards in R/S/E/FR/LG then it shouldn't matter.

    Extra trainer battles, rare Pokemon swarming in areas they otherwise wouldn't, cosmetic changes, if they repeat stuff like that again then it'll be fine (after all, did any of you even notice that that kind of stuff was in your games but we couldn't access it? The only indication I got before researching was that the Sevii islands seemed really barren and rubbish :P).

    I'm still undecided on whether this system should be used for event Pokemon or not. I think it'd be cool if they had a real-life download event where you got given a toy rather than just the download, and then you get that as a keep sake, or maybe just one Pokemon per gen could be via figure, but if everything started going that route then we'll have a problem.

    I always keep thinking Smash Bros would be perfect for this knowing the fanbase is way more hardcore and die hard.

    though not really the most liked idea imagine buying rare trophies, coming across someone online using it and how this would be awesome on display :) who knows not the perfect evolution of the series but still not a bad thought :D


    I've thought before how fantastic it'd be to have collectable Gashapon figures for Smash Bros. Provided they were cheap and only had superficial value in game (unlocking extra info on the trophy for example) than I'd be all for it.

  22. Ioannis83 Sunday 3rd Feb 2013 at 16:27

    Wasn't there one of the trailers for Rayman Legends showing something like NFC use?A guy placed a heart toy on the gamepad and Rayman got an extra heart in the game if I remember correctly.

  23. VinceLovesToast Sunday 3rd Feb 2013 at 20:52

    they could do pokemon having the starters so you can receive the other starters for your dex, unobtainable legendaries (instead of having events) and pokemon who do not feature in the game!!!!

  24. Riverlution Sunday 3rd Feb 2013 at 21:00

    Its not the future of my gaming.

  25. 9 Times Tuesday 5th Feb 2013 at 16:38

    Does no one seem to see that Pokemon would be completely ruined by NFC because there would be no skill at all in catching Pokemon ,it would be about who is willing to spend the most money.


    Yeah...That's actually a pretty decent point.

    But the likelihood of Pokemon doing the whole 'buy n' play' scheme following is small to nothing...

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