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What's New in Toyland? “Amplified Reality”

January 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm by Ted Mininni

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in early January always generates “oohs and aahs” among industry aficionados and the press. This year is no different, but what I love is that there is a new interactive category in the toy industry that’s pumping excitement – and new sales – into the business. It merges real toys with virtual apps.

In fact, industry insiders have named “AppCessories” “the hottest toy category in 2012”. And the interface of real toys in virtual worlds is now creating what WowWee refers to as “Amplified Reality”.

WowWee has taken the CES show as an opportunity to unveil a new line of collectible toys that interact with free downloadable apps known as AppGear™ at CES 2012. Other leading toy manufacturers have been getting into the business as well. I recently wrote about this in on

There can be no doubt that real toys and virtual playscapes have merged; they’re hot and they represent a staggering new growth opportunity for manufacturers and retailers. This is important because up until recently, apps did not enable kids to engage them with real toys. That is changing – fast. And it’s a huge boon to retailers who have been left out of the meteoric success of apps in the past.

According to a recent press release, App sales exceeded 5.2 billion dollars in sales in 2011. Sales are expected to top 15 billion in 2012. By 2014, the number is expected to increase to a staggering 185 billion in sales. Why shouldn’t the toy industry get into the act and generate meaningful business from apps since this is the way kids are entertaining themselves now?  

What’s cool about AppGear is that it’s easily affordable – priced at $9.99 to $19.99, so it promises to be an experience for thousands of kids. And, eventually, likely millions! Every AppGear product – collectibles, interactive playsets and customizable toys – will connect with the free downloaded app and they’re compatible with every IOS platform, including iPhones, iPads and Android, too. Smart thinking.

  • What do you think about WowWee’s approach to debut its new AppGear toys at the CES Show? Great idea or not?
  • What’s your take on the whole idea of connecting free downloaded apps to real toys for kids’ entertainment?
  • Will this new “AppCessories” category eclipse all other toy categories in time or will kids’ basic and electronic toys and games still be in high demand?

Please let us know your thoughts. We'd love to hear from you.


Consumer Products, Entertainment, Marketing to Kids, Marketing Thought Leadership

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