Nintendo's rumored NFC action figures have finally appeared at E3. At its streamed press conference, the company showed off a line of figurines called Amiibos, similar to Activision's Skylanders and Disney Infinity. Scan one on the Wii U's gamepad, and the character will appear in Super Smash Bros, with support for Mario Kart 8 and other games on the way. In Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U, characters like Mario show up as new fighters that you can spar against, pit against other Amiibo characters, or team up with in a match — something Nintendo of America CEO Satoru Iwata showed off in a battle with president Reggie Fils-Aime. So far, the figurine line includes Samus Aran, Link, Mario, Pikachu, and Princess Peach, with more on the way. Amiibo support is one of a few newly announced additions to Super Smash Bros., including the ability to bring your Mii into the game in one of three different fighting classes.
The Wii U can also send data to the figurine, preserving things like stats and fighting styles in Super Smash Bros. Similar systems are present in other NFC toys: Disney Infinity, for example, can save character levels. It's not totally clear how Amiibo will interact with other games, but Nintendo seems to be working on relatively wide support, and a puck-like peripheral released next year will let Amiibo work on the 3DS as well. Wii U sales are fairly dismal, but this adds an extra option for people who do own one. Like the touchscreen gamepad, however, it all depends on how much Nintendo's games can do with the Amiibo. We'll find out starting in the 2014 holiday season, when the figurines go on sale.
Update June 10th, 2014 9:45am: Added details from official Nintendo trailer.