Like it or not, the Toys-to-Life category is here to stay. Between the financial titan that is Skylanders and the license to print money that is Disney: Infinity – particularly with the new Marvel license and the inevitable Star Wars tie-ins, these collectible cross-media figures aren’t going anywhere.
Nintendo knows its audience, and the cross-section between Nintendo and the above franchises is almost completely congruent – and this is something Nintendo paid attention to. Their response is an incredibly clever and well-thought out line of Nintendo-branded Toys-To-Life products called Amiibo. Amiibo are small figures, styled after the collectible figures in the Super Smash Bros. games, that can interface with major Nintendo releases both past and present, as well as the Skylanders and Disney: Infinity line. The figures may provide a bonus such as a secondary character to fight by your side in the upcoming Super Smash Bros., or providing an exclusive Nintendo character in Disney: Infinity, and so on. Each title will have a different functionality with each Amiibo, and as the Amiibo are used, they will gain levels and distinct abilities that progress as you choose, becoming more effective in their respective roles in each title.