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Nintendo Makes NFC Technology Vendors Say "Wiiiiii!!"

Nintendo’s Wii platform revolutionized the home videogame console with its motion-sensing controller, thereby enabling a more interactive gaming experience.  With its latest version of this platform, the Wii U, Nintendo is looking to push the envelope once again…and this time, NFC (Near Field Communication) is positioned as the big differentiator.  The Wii U features a NFC-enabled touch-screen controller, and will initially leverage its NFC capability for payment, player profile creation, game card management, and/or avatar/character creation and storage.  For example, a player can use NFC to pay for access to new game levels/features and save their progress. Provided the NFC concept is intelligently designed and executed, and well-supported from the developer community perspective, we view this as a very positive development for the overall NFC market for four reasons:

  • The integration of NFC into the Wii U will introduce more consumers to the technology—resulting in increased awareness and market growth. The opportunities for growth and exposure are significant—Nintendo sold approximately 20 million Wii consoles in 2010 (4 years after its introduction). For many customers, the Wii U console will be their first exposure to NFC applications.  Furthermore, based on our end user research, the demographics of videogamers are well-aligned with those of early adopters of NFC. We think a positive experience with NFC gaming will pique consumer interest in other NFC devices and applications, thereby driving growth in the broader market.
  • Nintendo offers application developers an entirely new platform for innovation and experimentation. We believe one of the keys to NFC market growth is a robust and engaged developer community that creates the applications that bring NFC technology to life. The emergence of NFC in videogames brings a large and experienced group of developers into the broader NFC ecosystem.
  • If the Wii U follows the successful path of its predecessor, we expect competing platforms (namely, Playstation and Xbox) to follow suit with NFC integration. The video game market is highly competitive, and success is defined by innovation and technology advancement. If Nintendo’s integration of NFC is well-received, we think its competitors will be quick to embrace the technology as well—thus driving further awareness and demand for NFC hardware.
  • A positive reception for NFC in videogames will pave the way for the technology to be integrated into other consumer electronics. Time and again, an innovation that takes root in one type of device soon spreads to others—consider gesture recognition and touchscreen technology, for example.

Unless something goes very wrong with Nintendo’s NFC implementation, we see it as a big step forward in NFC adoption, sowing the seeds for future NFC market growth.

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