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.
On Feb 6th, at the Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair 2011 Toy Business Forum Speech, I presented the topic of how toys and games are branching into the Social Media space. Earlier this week, we presented some of the App-ization of toys in two different formats: Toys to Apps and Apps to Toys products.
But there are even more products that I located walking the Spielwarenmesse Toy Fair 2011 Nurnberg trade show floor this week. Many products fall into the technology connected trend, also called e-Connected products.
Toys using iPad multi-touch sensors: The Dutch company Identity Games has developed the Game Board for iPad, where the iPad becomes the multi-touch connector. All players answer questions simultaneously by touching the screen to provide answers to questions, and pit their skills against each other in real time. The iPad becomes the spinner, generates the questions or activities, keeps score and serves as the central hub. Currently using the popular WildLife games for content, this game uses technology seamlessly, enhancing the game play, but not overwhelming it. The Smurfs game uses the touch screen with visuals for game activations for younger children, where they are not yet reading, and they react to finding the characters and other simpler, more age appropriate games. The basic set comes with the game board and two game board covers, WildLife and Smurfs. You supply the iPad, click it into place in the center of the gameboard, download the App, and are ready to play. A brilliant application for Social Face-to-Face game play, that uses technology as a game-enhancer.
iPads are frequently being considered as a family purchase, and not just a parental business tool. Recent studies show that 85% of iPad purchasers fully intend to use the iPad with their children for family occasions, such as gaming and viewing family photos and films.
Toys using internet links: In many cases the internet is being used as a tool to create unique and personalized experiences. Hasbro’s new JI GA ZO puzzle uses the internet as a tool to generate portraits from photos and then uses the physical puzzle pieces to create a customized physical 300 piece puzzle portrait. The 300 puzzle pieces that are included with the purchase can be rearranged to create millions of face combinations for puzzle portraits of people and even your pets. JI GA ZO’s puzzle pieces use levels of Sepia-colored gradations on one side and distinguishing symbols on the other. When the pieces are locked together, any face can be created. The key to this puzzle is the advanced JI GA ZO software, which produces a unique symbol map that shows where each of the pieces should be placed on the assembly grid. This is genius! Once someone creates a photo of themselves, they can disassemble it and start all over. But I think people will want more than one puzzle, encouraging multiple purchases, for a family of puzzle portraits.
Toys to work with Kinect motion-sensor technology:Toys are also being developed to work with the new motion-sensing Kinect game system from Microsoft. Over 1 Million Kinect systems were purchased worldwide in the first 10 days on the market, and 8 Million within the first 60 days, creating a global buying phenomenom. With so many families engaging in intergenerational play with this new device, it was only a matter of time before physical toys were developed to capture the experience.
Jakks Pacific created Kinectimals Plush, which offer a Cheetah or Tiger plush, with an secret interactive online code. By unlocking the game code in the Kinectimals game, children can literally play with their exclusive onscreen animal character, allowing children to tickle it’s tummy, roll on the ground hugging it, and play hide-and seek games. Very engaging and satisfying play for a child, plus they have the physical plush product as a constant companion.
Just a year ago, we couldn’t even search for the words Kinect or iPad on our spell check in the computer, and today, these products have become game-changers for family play experiences.
Toys connected with Wii and Nintendo DSI for creativity & games: At the Consumer Electronics Show last month in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, internet-enabled televisions were all the rage. These new TV’s will offer families the chance to share photos, videos and other shared content from their laptops , and mobile devices and to view streaming video content like YouTube, on their larger family television screens. Toys are being developed to take advantage of that widescreen opportunity.
Creativity and drawing tools such as the uDraw Game Tablet and the uDraw Studio (THQ Entertainment) are compatible with the Wii gaming system and a separate version is available for the Nintendo DSI handheld gaming platform. The stylus acts like a drawing tool, allowing broadstroke or very detailed drawings. There are also built-in tutorials and games like Pictionary. Both individual drawing experiences or group activities are available, to provide multiple family experiences. This u-Draw Game Tablet, including the u-Draw Studio was one of the nominee finalists in the Spielwarenmesse ToyAward 2011 competition.
Stay tuned for more trend news in the coming days and weeks, as both technology and non-technology products continue to set the stage for innovations in toys and games in 2011.
by Alexander Beck 08. February 2011 Wir versuchen genau das Gegenteil – wir wollen die Generation X – die X-Bos Generation wieder motivieren, sich mehr zu bwegen und Spaß ohne iPad und Co. zu erleben.
Allerdings verteufeln wir diese Entwicklung nicht, sondern verbinden es mit einem Nachhaltigkeitsgedanken. Denn auch bei Sokeiba können die Spieler sich Online mit anderen messen, in dem sie sich unter www.sokieba.org in die Qualifying Liste eintragen.
by Steve Reece 14. January 2012 Hi Reyne, be interested in your thoughts on Leapfrog’s Leapad & VTech’s InnoTab…?
by Karoline Jockel21. February 2012 I saw the game board for iPad in Nuremberg too. This opens iPad games to groups and will be – besides families – be an important thing for education institutions that use iPads with kids, like school and kindergarten.
But will it be a real improvement to traditional board games? I think this will be the task of programmers and game designers.
by Javier Martin 06. March 2012 hi all
Also Diset / Jumbo (Spain-Netherlands toy company) developed & introduced in Nurnberg toy fair 2012 a line of games using the iPad as the main tool, really interesting..
by Reyne Rice 06. March 2012 Thanks for your comments. Please note that the Trend and Technology blogs for 2012 also highlighted new innovations and trends for 2012. This blog was originally written in Feb 2011! To answer some questions,
1) Yes, Steve, The LeapFrog LeapPad and the Vtech InnoTab (Storio 2 in Europe) will have a strong launch in Europe and international markets in 2012 and a following by parents who want to add educational options into their children’s lives. Both LeapFrog and VTech have their proprietary parental overlay programs online, that allow parents to see and track their children’s educational progress, and both sites provide tips and suggestions. The impact of lower-priced Android tablets on the marketplace will also have an impact as tablet technology will become more affordable throughout 2012. LeapPad Explorer won the Toy Of The Year (TOTY) Awards (3 awards) at New York Toy Fair.
See more comments below.
by Reyne Rice 06. March 2012 See also TREND, Day 1, 2012: APPlications for Toys and Games: Apps to Toys, Apps to Games and APPcessories, for more technology Toy Trends for 2012.
2) Karoline, yes, educational institutions, after-school programs, educators and families are adding technology and tablet products into the curriculum to test the interest of children and the impact on their learning. Check out the iLearn study by Joan Ganz Cooney Center, focusing on the APP educational products for children. Fascinating new Jan 2012 research study.
3) Javier, thanks for your attention to a new product line. I will review.
4) Alexander, thanks for your input. The games on your website are certainly alternatives to technology games. There is room for multiple games in a familiy’s game library. This blog shows one aspect of family entertainment. See my 2012 blogs supporting Body Fitness and other sporty trends for 2012, as examples. There are trends from Jan 31-Feb 6th 2012 on many topics.
& More to come in 2012.