The Toys To Life genre is a fast growing billion dollar category in the toy marketplace. It uses physical figurines to interact with a video game. The toy figurines are connected to a game console via a USB peripheral. The figurine generates an in game character to interact with. It can also be used to unlock exclusive levels and special perks.
The NPD Group -a global information tracking company- states that over 70 percent of parents are aware of the Toys To Life genre, otherwise known as IGT (Interactive Gaming Toys.) According to their most recent industry tracking poll, 40 percent of parents own at least one of the current competing franchises. Of those, 41 percent own at least two franchises.
There are three major brands competing in the space: Activision’s Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and Nintendo’s Amiibo. In Skylanders and Disney Infinity, there is an interactive world where you can add more playable characters by purchasing more toys. Nintendo's Amiibo range of characters aren't for any specific game, instead, they can interact with a large number of Nintendo’s video game titles.
The Co-Founder of the educational toy company Click-A-Brick Jason Smith regards the trend with enthusiasm. “The Toys To Life category is not only a popular one but definitely growing,” Smith said. “It’s an interesting genre. It allows users to increase what they can do with the toy. I think that consumers are interested in trying new things. It’s an interesting trend and I want to see it developed. In fact, Click-A-Brick may even join the category sometime in the future. We have some interesting plans given our our focus on education.”
The games and toys are designed to offer incentives for children to collect as many of the figures as they can. Each year, new figures are released, and with each purchase, they can discover unique characters and areas. They offer value for money in a way that non-game-linked toys cannot.
The Toys to Life category is not limited to children. The NPD reports that 52 percent of players are adults. Children seem to be incredibly influential in the discovery and purchase of games and subsequent toys. The games appeal to a wide variety, where parents can also join in on the fun.
Georg de Gorostiza, Co-Founder of Click-A-Brick, looks on the category with favor. “I’m a big fan of toys and games that bring families together,” de Gorostiza said. “The Toys To Life category may seem aimed at younger family members, but they are something you can enjoy with your children. It’s part of the philosophy behind our own toy lines. It ensures that everybody has a chance to explore and discover.”
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