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Wii U tablet controller to offer NFC support

The Wii U's already innovative tablet controller just got a bit more interesting as Nintendo outlined plans to implement NFC (near field communication) technology into the controller.  Speaking Thursday night during to investors, Nintendo President Saturo Iwata detailed the latest edition added to the Wii U.

The NFC functionality added will allow the Wii U to communicate and exchange data with other devices, like NFC-enabled phones and credit cards.  Adding NFC to the Wii U enables users to create "cards and figurines" that can exchange data with the system, and even enable direct payments.

Though NFC is widely used in Japan, the United States is still getting used to the idea with Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure being one of the first to take full advantage of NFC by embedding the tech into its collectible figurines.  As you can see by our spotlight review, it's a feature that is being widely embraced in America - especially by the younger crowd.  Currently, only a select few American phones have the tech embedded, but it is expected to become standard in future smartphones.

"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," Iwata explained during the investors meeting.

Following the success of Skylanders, Nintendo looks to be following what appears to be a very possible lucrative business model combining toys and video games.  And with already established games like Pokemon, Mario, and Zelda, it shouldn't be hard to come out with a popular hybrid toy/game.

Nintendo isn't the only company to do this.  EA recently announced they are including DLC for Mass Effect 3 with the video game tie-in figurines.  Nintendo is taking it a step further by already integrating this technology into their console.  Both innovative and smart.

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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