Good news, Amiibo fans! Your new Switch is going to be even more Amiibo-friendly!
While the Wii U itself may not have been a huge moneymaker for Nintendo, there is one part of this experience that exceeded every expectation. In the height of the "Toys to Life" explosion, Nintendo revealed a series of figurines from all of their most popular games that could interact with the game console with a tap. They're called Amiibo, and not only are they coming to Nintendo Switch, but it's clear the company is doubling down on this experience.
Here's how Amiibo will work when you switch (pop!) to Nintendo Switch!
NFC readers are everywhere now
On the Wii U, the only way to send an Amiibo into the digital world was through a little square on the Gamepad. Tapping the base of an Amiibo to this square would send whatever information you had saved to this figurine into the game you were playing. It works well, but if you're playing a multiplayer game or just plain didn't want to use the Gamepad, there was a problem.
Switch is going to do things very differently. The NFC reader is built into the left Joy-Con, which means it will send Amiibo data at any time, no matter how you have it connected. The new Pro Controller for Switch has an NFC reader built in as well, so any player at any time will be able to use Amiibo to interact with the Nintendo Switch.
This new setup resolves a significant user experience bottleneck from the Wii U and will make it much easier for everyone to keep their favorite Amiibo nearby and summon them into games when needed.
What we don't know
As cool as having NFC everywhere is, it's not clear if Nintendo plans to alter the Amiibo system itself in any meaningful way. This could be a big deal, especially for those eager to take their Amiibo with them as the Switch travels. Currently, when you take an Amiibo out of the box, you must first register it to your account before you can use it in a game. This kept people from making super powerful Amiibo and then selling them online fully loaded, since the Amiibo needed to be reset once introduced to a new system.
But the highly portable nature of the Switch means it's significantly more likely players will want to bring their figurines when playing with friends. Perhaps more important, Switch is targeting a demographic highly likely to want to trade Amiibo with friends to get the set they really want. Neither situation was particularly smooth under the Wii U, and we don't yet know what to expect from the new Switch OS.
Collecting time has begun!
The one big thing we do know about Amiibo? They're a ton of fun to collect and display. Nintendo has done an amazing job releasing high-quality figurines for Amiibo, and it's clear this is going to continue to be a significant part of the Nintendo experience as the Switch is released to the world.
Have you started an Amiibo collection yet? Which is your favorite?