By Reyne Rice, Toy Trend Expert and Youth Market Specialist
First posted on the YourToyCom.com blog forum and community website serving the toys, games and childrens’ technology industries, on behalf of the Spielwarenmesse. Spielwarenmesse is the leading and largest International ToyFair in the world, held annually in Nuremberg, Germany in early February.
Over 29 Billion apps were downloaded in 2011. Yes, BILLION. Now, Apps are also associated with physical toys and games in new and innovative ways in 2012. The toys and games industries are quick to develop new technologies and introduce them to kids, and families. With the quick evolution of mobile phone and Smartphone technologies, older devices are being passed down to younger generations, when parents and older siblings trade up for the newest enhanced mobile devices. These entertainment devices are attracting more kids to download apps of their favorite characters, games and more.
Admit it, apps can be fun and engaging, and they certainly are handy when there are a few minutes of idle time to play and reach a new level, defeat a new threat, or better your overall score! The games take advantage of the newest technology with touch screens, imbedded accelerometers and gyroscopes, cameras and even GPS or location-based technologies, and augmented reality. Retailers will be relieved to capitalize on the APP trend with physical products designed for toddlers to teens to grandparents!
Here is a quick round-up of some of the segments and APP-lications that have been announced for 2012. Be forewarned, there will be a not-so-subtle play on words for naming in this category…
APPS-TO-TOYS: Many engaging little mindless games have captured our moments-in-between. The little characters have become beloved buggers that we want to bond with. Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Annoying Orange and Fruit Ninjas, have us catapulting, swinging, slicing and actively engaging with them. These pop culture icons have made their way into plush products, games, puzzles, sporting gear, and more. In addition, already popular toys have created Apps to further their play value with a digital offering that ties to a physical product.
APP-CESSORIES: App-MATes takes a Cars II vehicle and activates a playmat road on the iPad. It is a simple and intuitive approach for kids to understand. App-Finity takes many forms,and the AppDrive uses a steering wheel to astivate the play with an iPhone (both from Spin Master). App-Gear (Wow-Wee/Sablon) takes on six different play options. Foam Fighters rises above the pack with a foam plane that attaches to the iPhone and provides a flight simulator play experience, using augmented reality throught the screen’s viewfinder. APP-tivities (Mattel) incorporates the full range of Mattel brands. The Life of George from LEGO uses physical bricks, and then creating pictures with graphics. A fun building and imaginative play activity that bonds an online community of Lego fans.These are just a few examples of the many options offered by toy and game manufacturers..
APPS-TO GAMES: Innovative game manufacturers, such as Identity Games from the Netherlands created Game Changer, the first game to use an iPad as the central hub of an interactive gaming experience for the whole family. Their new 2012 iPhone GameChanger XS. Multiplayer Electronic Game Board for iPhone makes the game play even more portable. Discovery Bay Games introduced iCade for the iPhone,& DuoPlink. Then Spin Master and Disney Consumer Products developed App MATes Cars II, and captured the hearts of toddlers and preschoolers.
Throughout the 2012 Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nurnberg, we will keep you updated on other Trends across a wide variety of toy categories. If we missed yours, please send us a comment. With over 70,000 new product introductions and over a million products to view at the Toy Fair, your eyes and ears will help us to catch those we may have missed.