It’s been a heck of a start to the holiday season for Nintendo. The company has managed to reach a new milestone for the Wii title New Super Smash Bros. Wii, which has now sold over 10 million copies since its release in 2009; and the latest in the series, Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U, is gaining both critical acclaim and high sales marks in retailers. The separately sold GameCube Adapter and special edition Smash Bros. bundle (with adapter and GameCube controller) are already completely out of stock at retailers.

However, that isn’t enough, as Nintendo is looking to conquer a different sort of market – interactive toys. In an effort to realize some of the success of both Disney’s Infinity line-up (regular and Marvel licensed) and Activision’s Skylanders franchise (which has generated over $2 billion in its two years), Nintendo has launched its new Amiibo toys. These toys include an NFC (near-field communication) chip which works with the builtin NFC reader in the Wii U’s Gamepad, and an upcoming NFC reader accessory for the 3DS. The toys are automatically recognized by several games on the Wii U, including Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8, with further compatibility set to come for new games in 2015, according to Time.


 The figurines enable players to “activate” special features within certain games, such as leveling up to unlock new abilities in Smash, or gaining a speedier car in Mario Kart 8.Toys currently sell for $12.99, and the “first wave” includes such popular heroes as Mario, Link from The Legend of Zelda, Pikachu from the Pokemon series and others. A second wave is currently scheduled to arrive in December featuring more characters, including Luigi, Little Mac from Punch-Out!! and Bowser. After that, more will come in 2015, including iconic favorites Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog.Activision has noted the great success the pioneering Skylanders interactive toys have had. “By combining the immersive world of video games with the physical connection that kids have with action figures, it was incredibly powerful,” said John Coyne, Activision’s senior vice president of consumer marketing, regarding the power of “come-to-life” figurine sales.Skylanders originally brought forth the model of interactive toys, with figurines placed on an included portal to be included in the game. Disney took it one step further with last year’s Infinity, as well as this year’s sequel, Marvel Super Heroes, which is doing fairly well in sales.”It’s very much about building things in there and kind of telling your own stories,” said John Blackburn, senior vice president and general manager for Disney Infinity.The games also have a way of bringing a child’s imagination to life, giving them literally no bounds to do what they please with them. “It’s really an extension of what kids want naturally, which is to not really have parameters in how they play,” explained Liam Callahan, an analyst for NPD. “It’s about breaking down that barrier.”With both Skylanders and Infinity contributing to $600 million in software sales and over $1 billion in figurine sales this year, it’s a healthy market to get into – one that Nintendo can easily make a dent in considering its recognizable characters.”These characters have tremendous fan bases already,” said Scott Moffitt, executive vice president for sales and marketing for Nintendo of America.While early reviews have been mixed, it won’t be until after the holiday season that we’ll see how well Amiibos have sold for Nintendo, and if they have had an impact on console sales. The future potential for the Amiibo line is tremendous if fans respond well to them, with more than 700 Pokemon alone as potential toys, let alone the rest of Nintendo’s characters. We certainly wish Nintendo the best of luck.