Toys and Apps Are Yet to Play Nice Together

Efforts to Link Tablets to Dolls and Board Games Falls Short So Far, but Industry Continues to Try

90% toy-industry efforts at combining real-world toys with applications were unsuccessful in 2012 (TimetoPlayMag.com). Jakks Pacific recently unveiled an enhanced-reality app that, through a device’s camera and display, made Disney characters appear to be interacting with toys.

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Mechanics: The DreamPlay line of products use image-recognition software in a tablet app to link to related plastic toys—for instance, when a device’s camera points at the drum set from Disney’s “Little Mermaid,” the crab Sebastian appears to sit at the drums on the tablet screen while banging out a rendition of “Under the Sea.”

But industry observers are split on whether it will be successful, and they are concerned that tacking technology onto old ideas shows desperation.

Read the article here.

Why I am Curious

Last year, trying to show how the toy industry could remain relevant in the tablet age, Hasbro Inc. unveiled an iPad-enhanced version of its classic Game of Life. Instead of spinning a wheel in the center of the board game to take a turn, players spun a wheel on the iPad. The idea bombed.

Among the other flops, Mattel Inc. outfitted Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars with special conductors to control games on a tablet.

The point is, it shouldn’t be about technology, but the way kids use it: “I don’t think children play with toys and look at a screen at the same time,” (Sean McGowan, an analyst at Needham & Co).

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