To establish new and growing areas through the active utilization of character IP, it is important for Nintendo to take risks ourselves and come up with interesting ways to use our character IP.
In other words, other than using character IP in Nintendo’s video game software, we need to start a new business that will someday become one of our core activities.
As Nintendo’s first step we have decided to release character figurines with built-in NFC functionality that are compatible with video games starting from this year-end sales season.
We are calling the figurines by their development codename, NFP, which comes from “NFC Featured Platform” and “Nintendo Figurine Platform.”
What is especially unique about NFP is that it is not classed as an accessory product of a certain software title but as a platform itself.
And it has been designed to be compatible with multiple software titles for Nintendo platforms.
In other words, the figurines, which consumers can buy and collect, are going to work with multiple software titles to be released in the future, and we are aiming to develop more software titles compatible with the figurines.
Nintendo has a lot of well-known character IP that has originated in video games, and we have been regularly releasing titles from game franchises that make use of this character IP. This is why I believe a brand-new type of platform will be born when the character IP becomes compatible with NFP.
NFP has a writer function as well as a reader function, so it can not only tell what character figurine is on the Wii U GamePad, but also a compact amount of data unique to each game can be written into it and read from it. That is to say, you will be able to customize your NFP to raise or train your own Nintendo characters, for example.
At E3 to be held in L.A. this June, we will announce which titles are compatible with NFP, display NFP products and disclose more specific information about NFP, which will be launched during this year-end sales season.
Currently, Wii U is the only video game platform with a built-in NFC reader/writer function. However, I understand that some of you may be worried that the market for NFP, a platform that will work with a number of software titles, will not grow large enough when it is compatible only with Wii U. If we can make a good use of Nintendo 3DS, which has already sold over 43 million units, however, this assumption will greatly change.
Nintendo has been developing an NFC reader/writer for the Nintendo 3DS family, as you can see on this slide, and we are planning to launch it in the first half of the next calendar year. This will make Nintendo 3DS compatible with the NFC reader/writer via infrared communication, and as a result, you will be able to read and write NFC data with the Nintendo 3DS device in the palm of your hand. That is to say, NFP is going to be compatible with Wii U software from this year-end, and compatible with both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS software from next year.
With the launch of this new product genre, NFP, which will be compatible with Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, is going to serve as the first example of actively utilizing our own character IP.
At the same time, there are not only going to be decorative boxes for video game hardware and packages for software, but also Nintendo character figurines displayed on store shelves. This will provide exposure for Nintendo, play a great role in raising our brand awareness and create more opportunities for consumers to play video games.