Nintendo has announced "Amiibo", a Skylanders-esque toy peripheral system for Wii U. Various Nintendo figurines can communicate with the Wii U console in games to create new gameplay aspects, and vice-versa, with each Amiibo growing and changing over the course of use.
Nintendo briefly showed off use of a Mario Amiibo during their E3 Direct demonstration of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U gameplay's, scanning the Mario Amiibo into the Wii U gamepad, calling Mario into the game.
Smash Bros. for Wii U will be first game to support Amiibo, with upcoming Nintendo titles to offer support as well. Nintendo also announced that Mario Kart 8 will be getting Amiibo support, though details will be coming later.
It will be interesting to see how Amiibo evolves in the coming weeks and over the course of the Wii U's lifespan, but color me interested.