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.
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.”
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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).