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Nintendo adds real-world game figures to Wii U play

Nintendo said it is adding real-world game figures to Wii U play to help boost the popularity of its console, which has lagged rivals in the market.

LOS ANGELES: Nintendo on Tuesday said it is adding real-world game figures to Wii U play to help boost the popularity of its console, which has lagged rivals in the market.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said "amiibo" game pieces embedded with computer chips to swap data with Wii U tablet controllers would debut in the "Mario Smash Brothers" game later this year.

The Japan-based video game stalwart planned to add amiibo characters to a variety of its games, including "Mario Kart."

The move allows players to take a favoured toy or action figure with the embedded hardware and insert that character into the video game.

Nintendo will also be letting players put themselves into games as animated "mii" characters, virtually doing battle with some classic characters from the Japan-based video game company.

As with interactive figures, putting customized "mii" fighters into matches will begin with "Super Smash Brothers," according to Nintendo.

"We are not simply throwing miis into the fray," Fils-Aime said. "We've done some serious work getting them ready for the fight."

Nintendo played to fans of beloved franchises such as "Mario" and "Legend of Zelda" during a media briefing streamed online prior to the opening of the show floor at the E3 video game extravaganza here.

It is the second year in a row that Nintendo has decided to forgo a grand, live presentation to vie for the spotlight at what is considered the industry's premier event.

Nintendo's Wii U, launched in late 2012, has lost some of its lustre to the new-generation PlayStation 4 from Sony and Xbox one from Microsoft, both released last year.

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