Nintendo's Figurine Platform was revealed in earnest during the console giant's E3 Digital Event briefing. Now offiically dubbed "amiibo", this Wii U and 3DS feature uses NFC (near field communication) enabled figures (also collectively coined amiibo) to import and export game data from supporting titles through wireless and physical contact.
One prominent example will be Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. amiibo figurines can be used to store customized character data which you can then export later, say when you're at a friend's house for local multiplayer. The idea is that even if more than one player shares the same amiibo, the character data that's actually inside each will likely be different. Upcoming amiibo-compatible titles will include Mario Kart 8 and Mario Party 10.
amiibo-like functionality is already present in titles Pokémon Rumble U and of course third-party titles like Skylanders and Disney Infinity. It's worth noting that amiibo is not intended to replace the NFC functionality already present in the Nintendo versions of the last two franchises. As a matter of fact, amiibo will serve to supplement them with "unique features and functionality" exclusive to Nintendo platforms.
According to Nintendo, amiibo will launch alongside Super Smash Bros. this holiday season.