Nintendo’s Amiibo are one of the most popular products the company has in the market. While its console (Wii U) isn’t doing too well, Amiibo are generating massive profits for Nintendo.
So, it was only a matter of the time a rival company followed in Nintendo’s footsteps.
Microsoft has filed a patent for a product that many are describing as an Amiibo rip-off. Yes, it will be a cheap toy designed to rip people off, so in that sense I agree, it is Amiibo; but in what other ways is it similar to Nintendo’s product?
The patent describes this device as a wearable bracelet that can be used for gaming applications and experiences akin to the likes of Disney Infinity, Skylanders and Nintendo Amiibo.
A fashion item is described below which comprises two or more smart beads on a connecting element (e.g. a bracelet). A user (who may alternatively be referred to as a wearer) can add, remove and re-arrange the beads on the connecting element. Each smart bead is arranged to store both an ID for the bead and data relating to the bead (i.e. within a storage element in the bead).
In various examples each bead represents a character, environment, object, etc. and the software experience displays an animated story based on the characters, environments, objects, etc. represented by the beads involved in an interaction.
Another interesting thing is that the patent further mentions “physical character toys,” which leads us to believe that we’ll indeed use figurine as well as a bracelet to interact with a custom base to unlock content.
Gameplay is enabled (or unlocked) through the use of physical character toys which are placed on a custom base connected to a games console.
Here’s a breakdown of the wearable device: