Nintendo: amiibo Isn't Mimicking Skylanders, Disney Infinity

Marketing executive Scott Moffitt says, "We didn't just mimic what's been done before with Skylanders and Infinity."

During E3 last week, Nintendo officially unveiled amiibo, the Mario maker's take on the burgeoning "toys-to-life" market. Some immediately likened Nintendo's offering to that of Activision's massive Skylanders series or Disney Infinity, but amiibo is something altogether new, according to Nintendo marketing executive Scott Moffitt.

"We want to be different. We want to create innovation and amiibo is a perfect example," Moffitt told GamesIndustry International. "We didn't just mimic what's been done before with Skylanders and Infinity, we are bringing out a whole new idea in this toys-to-life gaming segment."

One key difference between amiibo and Skylanders or Disney Infinity is that Nintendo's toy characters are compatible with multiple games from different franchises. The toy line launches this year with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, but you'll be able to use the toys with Mario Kart 8, Yoshi's Wooly World, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Mario Party 10. On top of this, third-party publishers can designed their games to work with amiibo figures, and Nintendo will release a peripheral so that the figures can be played on 3DS.

Moffitt says another benefit of amiibo is that you don't need to buy a separate "portal" for the toys to work, like you do for Skylanders or Disney Infinity. This is possible because amiibo works with the Wii U GamePad's near-field communications (NFC) technology.

"It makes ours a great value as parents don't have to buy a starter kit," Moffitt said. "So that's a great value for parents. I don't know how many of those portals people are going to want underneath their TV, if seven different gaming companies come with their own toys-to-life offering. Maybe it's better if we standardize and there's one portal and we hope the GamePad could be that. We're already the destination of choice to play those games. Maybe everyone can align on using the NFC in the GamePad."

Moffitt says the toys-to-life category, which is less than five years old, has roughly doubled in revenue every year. He said he expects this trend to continue, and believes Nintendo is poised for success given its roster of beloved franchises and characters.

"Our IP is so well-known and so beloved by game fans of all ages that I do believe the age demographic for amiibo could potentially be broader than that for the current offerings," he said.

Activision will release its latest Skylanders game, Skylanders: Trap Team, in October. Meanwhile, Disney Infinity 2.0 arrives in September.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

137 comments
jark888
jark888

Great idea to use gamepad as portal to all games.

danusty
danusty

nintendo and their new trend of creating very stupid names! what in the blue hell is a freaking amiibo!


I remember the days when nintendo made products with names that made sense: the nintendo entertainment system, the super nintendo (cause it was much better than the nes), the nintento 64 cause of the hole 64 bit technology which the competition didn't have (not saying that that made their games look better because IMO it really didn't), the gamecube because you know it was a freaking cube you could play games on, the gameboy cause it was aimed for kids, the gameboy advance which again was better than the gameboy, the nintendo ds because you know...... it has dual screens, the 3ds because it's 3d and has dual screens. 


amiibo, wii, wii u, mii, hii, shii, iit, theii, ii, WHAT THE HELL!?

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Yeah, it doesn't sound like Nintendo are mimicking Skylanders or Infinity in the slightest, you know except for the fact that they kind of are. Moffitt's point about appealing to multiple generations probably rings true though, so good luck to Nintendo with this one.

Personally I'd find it more exciting if someone did one of these toys-to-life concepts with actual figures, and not just statues.

Hurvl
Hurvl

That actually does sound like more than a mere imitation of a profitable genre. Not having the figures locked to one game and not needing a peripheral to upload them to the game is a clear advantage. Parent's around the world would truly welcome not having to buy a portal for each franchise, but simply using the Gamepad for each figure and game.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

I'm going to buy some smash brothers characters to fight against, because basic CPU is always a joke. Maybe this will help. I do NOT see myself busting it out against a friend in some overly dramatic fashion like they showed off at e3 though.

Why can't japanese companies understand the finer points of drama?

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

This: " Nintendo will release a peripheral so that the figures can be played on 3DS."

Contradicts, this: "another benefit of amiibo is that you don't need to buy a separate "portal" for the toys to work"


g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

For the record i will buy these figures just to display in my room, nothing more nothing less.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

I know they will have uses for in game stuff but I just wanna collect the set. They better release a special Amiibo for Captain Toad!

somberfox
somberfox

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a goose.

golden1elite
golden1elite

To be honest im a little pi$$ed about Skylanders: Trap Team.  We spend all this money to collect the characters and build them up in the game.  Then bam, here is a new set pretty much making the previous set not as awesome.  Pulls away from collecting the figurines.

meowstan
meowstan

Im not really buying into the Ambiio figures they do look really cool though I want some to display but hopefully they won't be expensive bc from what they showed on Super Smash Bros they didn't do anything for the game?

jer_1
jer_1

Lying liars.

arrow2thekneeXD
arrow2thekneeXD

Now with Amiibos you wont have to take the time to unlock the good characters in our games! :D ...Your only option is to buy them! :D ... You wan't Mewtwo in Pokemon?  That'll be $15! :D ... YAY! But it's okay because you get something physical that looks good :D Yeah! It's for the consumer :D 

Super_C
Super_C

@danusty For better or worse, I remember a lot of effort going into the name "Wii" and I know they want to capitalize on that.  If I recall correctly, for the first time ever, the name of the system is the same (and is pronounceable) in all countries and invokes a similar meaning in Japanese and English.  In English, "Wii" is a homophone of "we" and that's not a mistake (multiplayer/family was/is a very important part of the strategy).  Also, the two lowercase "i"s look like two people standing next to each other.  "Mii" is like "wii" but relates to an individual ("Mii" is a homophone of "me"), so mii is to wii as me is to we.  Amiibo, of course, is a play on "mii".

meatz666
meatz666

@danusty Maybe it makes sense in a different language. You know, English is not the only language in the world. And since you're buying a product designed by Japaneses, maybe you should give it a pass. 

stalepie
stalepie

@danusty what the hell is a koomba? is that like a roomba or something? get out of here Nintendo

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@danusty

Names are much more important now (apparently) than they were back then, which also helps differentiate the product from others and since Amiibo has physical similarities to Skylanders and Disney Infinity, of course Nintendo has to create a name that ties it with the Wii system. Yes the Wii was a funny name but it was simple yet quirky title that quickly became a massively popular system. 

danusty
danusty

@g1rldraco7 same here...... well probably, I'm not sure that I will buy them at all but if I do it will be link, zelda, samus and maybe kirby cause he/she/it is so cute

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@bunchanumbers

Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker is a compatible title I believe so most likely there will be a Toad Amiibo.

tbighorse138
tbighorse138

@somberfox skylanders and disney infinity dont learn how you play and fight. they hold content thats it. amiibo is an external A.I. that does not need traditional programing and coding to dictate it's move set. amiibo looks for patterns in your gameplay to form a battle plan against you or other A.i. does that sound like skylanders or disney infinity to you?

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@somberfox

More like if it looks like duck but behaves differently, then it's something else.

freedom01
freedom01 moderator moderator

@meowstan I dont know about how to use during games, but it will make you a better player, since you can use the amiibos to train yourself to become a better

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@jer_1

You're talking about the community right? The ones who like to jump to conclusions even AFTER the facts have been laid out?

freedom01
freedom01 moderator moderator

@arrow2thekneeXD you should do your research if you want to speak ill of the product. The amiibos are "optional" the character can be unlocked like any previous SSB games. Also the Amiibos does not unlock playable characters, they are your own personal characters (CPU/FP) that can be raised, challenged, and pit a fight against others, the difference between regular CPU and the Amiibos is that CPU max lvl is 9, so those that are really good at the SSB games have no challenge, but the Amiibos can go up to lvl 50 which can bring in a whole new lvl of challenge

Too-DementeD
Too-DementeD

@arrow2thekneeXD What are you talking about? They haven't said anything which sounds remotely like they'll do that.
To be honest, from what they've said so far, the Amiibo don't really do much for the games anyway.

danusty
danusty

@meatz666 @danusty the only thing that would make sense is if they intend on taking the spanish word for friend and add two ii since the two ii thing is the new nintendo thing in which case the name would be amiiGo and even then I wouldn't like it, being a spanish speaker myself with spanish being my 1st language I would dislike with a passion seeing our amigo word changed into amiigo (which would be incorrect) just cause nintendo want's to degrade other people's languages with their hole wii, wii u, mii, amiibo thing.

danusty
danusty

@abHS4L88 @somberfox it behaves pretty much the same, just in various DIFFERENT (that's the key word) games, but it still behaves the same. then again the skylander and infinity toys work in different games too, they are different games none the less, only difference is they are part of the same franchise/series of games.

meowstan
meowstan

That may be true I will prob buy a few just because they look cool lol and maybe they will be a cool addition to SSB. I will just have to wait and see.

danusty
danusty

@abHS4L88 @jer_1 those who jump to conclusion are those who are playing the awesome game Jump to Conclusion invented by the great Tom Smykouski, a game that is way better than this amiibo thing

arrow2thekneeXD
arrow2thekneeXD

@freedom01 Amiibos will be in most new Nintendo games. They are even putting them in Mario Kart 8. And their use will differ between games..

sanchango
sanchango

@VenkmanPHD @sanchango  Please read the next sentence. "This is possible because amiibo works with the Wii U GamePad's near-field communications (NFC) technology."

Therefore, it was pertaining to the WIi U

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@danusty

That's the difference, they ONLY work within that franchise and are REQUIRED to play those games, whereas Amiibo is not required and Nintendo is free to implement them into as many titles as they want so no, it does not behave the same. The only thing that's the same is the technology being used.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@danusty

Amiibo isn't a game, it's a device that's meant to be an addition. It's like saying The Stanley Parable is better than the Kinect, 2 completely different things.


Also I highly doubt those who "jump to conclusions" will be playing "Jump to Conclusions" since they're the type of people to judge things before giving it a chance.

legendofzub
legendofzub

@arrow2thekneeXD @freedom01 Yes, in games like Smash, it will allow you to fight higher level CPU characters that you have already unlocked.  In MK8, it will likely allow you to play against CPUs with specific stats or play as a new model with the same base stats as a different character.  It won't unlock anything that isn't aesthetic.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

@abHS4L88 @VenkmanPHD Stereotypes are there for a reason, and I'm referring to the CULTURE, not a person who is japanese.

JFC

It's called context, read it.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

@sanchango @VenkmanPHD To use this product to it's fullest, you will be using it on both platforms.

Hence, you can not use it to it's fullest without purchasing the 3DS piece.

Therefore it pertains to both systems.

It's called the "Big Picture"

danusty
danusty

@abHS4L88 @danusty difference is using them in the same franchise or different franchises. skylanders are not required to play the games for you can buy the figurines that come bundled with the game, never buy another figurine and there, it's just like playing any other game. in the nintendo case you buy the games with no figurine and play it just the same. obviously it is supposed to be "more fun" to play skylanders and those nintendo games if you buy the other figurines. in the end all they want is your money for those who are into collecting this sort of things

danusty
danusty

@abHS4L88 @danusty you are just jealous because the Jump to Conclusions game is an original game compared to amiibo

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@VenkmanPHD

WOW because that's SO much better right? I've actually never heard of the stereotype that Japanese have a poor sense of humor and I live in Hawai'i, but it's cool, I'll take someone who has an obvious bias towards Nintendo's word for it. 


I can totally see why that stereotype is there, because most people think the Japanese have a "poor sense of humor" when they have successful shows/animes that focus on being funny, some of the funniest videogames created, and are actually more known for having a wacky sense of humor. I'm pretty positive your bias against the Japanese mostly stems from the fact that Nintendo is a Japanese company.

tbighorse138
tbighorse138

@VenkmanPHD @sanchango th new 3ds will have a built in nfc reader so you can quit complaining about nothing.just current 3ds holders will need a external portal to scan amiibo.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@danusty

Do you not read what you're typing? You just said that Skylanders are not required to play the games since you can use the ones that come bundled with the game. That means you still need at least one Skylander to play the game and no it's not like any other game because the Skylander bundles are much more expensive than your average game and if you lose/break those Skylanders, that's it, no more playing your game until you replace it or move on. 


What you're basically saying is that just because it's the same technology is MUST be the same thing. 

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@danusty

I could care less, it's the fact that you're comparing a videogame to a peripheral that's rather stupid. I might as well say that the next Zelda will be much better than the XBoxOne. 

danusty
danusty

@abHS4L88 @danusty do they come bundled with the game? yes. do you have to buy them? no. then they are not required to play the game, you just use the one bundled with the game and that's it. requirement to me is for me to have to buy something else in order for me to enjoy a game or an extra content of it in which case amiibos are required to enjoy extra content of the games they can be used on. if you loose, break or simply not buy the amiibos you don't get to enjoy those extra contents that already come with the game but are not available to use unless you buy the amiibo. kind of like disc locked content. kind of reminds me of the "extra" characters locked in capcom's street fighter x tekken.


if it oks like duck but behaves differently, then it's something else indeed!

danusty
danusty

@abHS4L88 @danusty amiibo uses a peripheral on the 3ds, skylanders uses a peripheral, amiibos are not a game, skylanders are not a game, amiibos are used in games, skylanders are used in games, amiibos are figurines, skylanders are figurines. Jump to Conclusions wins!

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@danusty

It would be fine if the bundle was $60, but it's not, it's $75 so you're technically paying $5 for each Skylander. It's like saying that statue that comes bundled with the $150 collector's edition is nothing extra. 


Once again, if the Skylander breaks/gets lost, you CANNOT play the game at all, with Amiibo, if something happens, you still have access to the complete game minus the features that Amiibo bring. 


That's completely different because characters are very much a part of the game, and Skylanders/Disney Infinity are programmed to feature every single character yet you can only play with the ones you own so if anything, your logic matches more Skylanders than Amiibo.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@danusty

All I can to this is "whatever." By that logic, the PS4 and XBoxOne are the same thing. Wii U wins! :P