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.
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?
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.