Nintendo has announced plans to implement NFC (near field communication) technology into the Wii U controller. This will allow Wii U to communicate with other noncontact devices, such as NFC-enabled phones and credit cards.
By adding NFC support into the controller, Nintendo is hoping it will be able to create "cards and figurines" that can exchange data with the system, and even enable direct payments.
NFC is widely used in Japan for payments and metro access. In America, the technology can be found on American Express ExpressPay cards, MasterCard PayPass, and more. While NFC can be found in most modern Japanese phones, only a select American phones currently have the tech embedded. It's expected to become standard in future smartphones in the US. The Wii U will adhere to both FeliCa and MIFARE standards, making it compatible with most NFC devices. Here's a demonstration of NFC tech used in the Nexus S:
Activision's Skylanders game also takes advantage of NFC by embedding the tech into its collectible figurines. It's clear that Nintendo sees value in that lucrative toy/game hybrid market.