One of Nintendo’s most profitable video game franchises is about to unleash a whole new revenue stream.
The video game maker and home console manufacturer revealed today (according to Pokémon news site Serebii) that Pokémon Rumble U for the Wii U home console will utilize physical toys that connect to the game like publisher Activision’s popular Skylanders series. The new Pokémon title will use the built-in near-field-communication (NFC) sensor in the Wii U GamePad. Players will use it to place small action figures, like Pikachu, on to the controller to activate them within the game.
Each figure’s in-game monster is fully trainable, and the toys store the information even when not connected.
Pokémon Rumble U will debut in Japan on April 24 for around $19. Nintendo will sell the interactive toys starting on that same day for around $2 each.
You can see the Pikachu figure sitting on the GamePad in a scan from Japanese magazine CoroCoro below:
GamesBeat contacted Nintendo to determine if and when this game is due out in North America.
Activision introduced this new and extremely successful business model that combines digital video games with physical toys when it released Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure in 2011. Players place an action figure on a sensor called “The Portal of Power” that instantly zaps the character into the game. In February, Activision announced the franchise crossed $1 billion in sales between the games and the toys.
Disney is also getting in on this trend with its Disney Infinity game that brings many of its popular franchise, like Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean, into a digital playground using toys.
It’s a three-way battle for toy-store dominance.