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.
Whether you are using a Smartphone, joining the dialogue on FaceBook or trying your hand at Twitter, your personal life and your business life are affected by the ways we stay connected to each other, both in person, and through social media methods online. And children are watching what we do, and how we do it. They are even more engaged with digital media, since they view it as a way of life, not as a tool. Children, tweens and teens are digital natives and are immersed in their music, with their photos and shared experiences, and engaged with YouTube videos. They regularly share what they find with their tribes, their friends, and their connections via texting and linking. We digital immigrants could learn a thing or two from them.
Just take a look at what we are calling App-ization. With over seven billion apps downloaded in 2010, Apps are here to stay. And yes, we are seeing Toys that are sparked from Apps and Apps that started first as Toys. The iTunes Apple Store online has carved out a whole segment entitled Kids Apps. Have you played in that playground yet?
Here are a few examples of Toys from Apps:
1) Have you played Angry Birds on your Smartphone? Well now you can fling some slingshot plush across the room, or curl up with huge pillow piggy or birdy plush (all from Commonwealth) or engage in hands-on catapult competitions with Mattel’s new Angry Bird Knock on Wood Game.
Maybe you have morphed your voice with the I Am T-Pain App? Now you can use the I Am T-Pain Microphone from Jakks Pacific to hold live performances with your friends and family. Model railway fans can download the Marklin Mobile Station from the App store using their iPad or iPhone and install the application in their equipment. These products are just a few examples of how to expand the experience with fun toys.
And some examples of Apps from Toys:
1) ThinkFun, a thinking games manufacturer that distributes games in over 60 countries worldwide, designs addictively fun games that challenge your mind and inspire creative thinking. Their Award-winning Rush Hour game of logic was their first game in the App Store in 2010. In 2011, they add a Solitaire Chess App and a Chocolate Fix App, to complement their popular board games. Hasbro, in partnership with Electronic Arts has translated classic Hasbro Games into over two dozen successful apps including Boggle, Monopoly, Game of Life, Trivial Pursuit, and Yahtzee. From a newer game inventor, Rory’s StoryCubes has taken their dice game to the App Store, creating a shake-it-and-tell-a-story game that uses the Smartphone accelerometer technology to mimic the hands-on-dice-throwing game dynamics.
What these companies have realized is that Apps don’t take away sales from their classic board, dice and family games. On the contrary, these apps create even more loyal fans that want their favorite games with them on-the-go, as well as in their family rooms. For every dollars spent on Apps, dollars are spent on the physical games and toy complements. That is a solid case for synergy across different platforms!
Go explore the world of Social Connections, join our YourToyCom blog, stop in at the YourToyCom lounge above the Toys Go Green Pavillion, post a comment and start sharing a little of your own social magic!