COMMENTARY: Tech Toys That Extend Beyond the Screen

TT12This year, for the first time ever, the Toy Insider released a list of top tech toys for the holiday season in its gift guide called the Top Tech 12. This list promotes the belief that we have here about a “well-balanced toy box.” In a world that has new technology each day—and tons of digital, innovative toys for kids—it’s easy to get caught up in buying the newest, most glamorous toys out there without really knowing if it’s the right toy for your kid. The Toy Insider’s goal with this list is to help shoppers sift through all of the options out there for forward-thinking and impressive tech-based toys that incorporate the latest in digital play, creativity, and innovation.

Shameless self-promotion aside, tech toys are becoming harder and harder to sift through, so finding the perfect one for every kid can be difficult.  Of course, many in the industry, wandering the shopping aisles, and generally existing around toys know about Skylanders Swap Force and Disney Infinity, two new innovative video game platforms that mix digital and physical play, but they aren’t the only toys out there with exciting new technology. All of the toys on our Top Tech 12 list are great, but I picked a few favorites that are not only great technology innovations, but they also give kids other options of physical play—so they aren’t glued to a screen all day.

robodog_dalmatian_p9_go_pee_copy (1)Zoomer, from Spin Master, is a trainable robotic dog that is the perfect option for kids that want a pet and parents that want a clean house. Zoomer can be trained to respond to a bunch of different commands and tricks in three different languages (English, Spanish, and French). Zoomer learns kids’ voices and how to respond to these commands. He is adorably cute and lifelike. Left to his own devices, he’ll wander around the room, just like a real puppy. Zoomer’s LED lights blink and react making him seem more alive than your typical robots. [Read more...]

Activision, Treyarch, and Xbox Partner to Help Veterans Through the Call of Duty Endowment

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Activision Publishing Inc., its studio Treyarch, and Xbox have partnered to support the Call of Duty Endowment. Through October 14, U.S. fans can purchase any of the 17 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Personalization Packs that are currently available on Xbox Live for a 25 percent discount. Additionally, Activision, Treyarch, and Xbox will donate all profits from the packs sold to the Call of Duty Endowment.

Personalization Packs in Call of Duty: Black Ops II offer fans more options to customize and expand their experience. Each themed Personalization Pack contains one unique weapon camo, three targeting reticules, and a player calling card.

Swaptober Kicks into Gear in Anticipation of Skylanders Swap Force

Skylanders-SWAP-Force_NightIn anticipation of the Skylanders Swap Force launch, Activision Publishing Inc. is using the month of October, or “Swaptober” to get gamers ready for the game’s launch on October 13. Lucky Portal Masters will have chances to win copies of the Skylanders Swap Force game, explore the world of Skylanders in Times Square, and more during the month-long activities.

To kick off Swaptober, Activision will be giving away one Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack per day beginning October 1 and going to October 31 via the official Skylanders Twitter channel (@SkylandersGame). For a chance to win, portal masters can visit Skylanders.com to mix and match their favorite character combination and then tweet it along with a suggested catch phrase using hashtags #SWAPtober and #Skylanders.

There are even more ways to celebrate on  October 10, when Skylanders partners with Toys “R” Us to bring Skylanders to life with “Swaptoberfest”—a celebration in Times Square where fans will have the chance to be among the very first to play the game before it’s available at retail. This Times Square takeover will feature Skylanders Swap Force-themed activities, photos with Skylanders costumed characters, and chances to win Starter Packs and Skylanders-themed merchandise from companies, including Mega Brands, Rubie’s Costume Co., Hybrid Apparel, and Power A. [Read more...]

Activision’s Call of Duty and Eminem Come Together for Ultimate Fan Offer

Call-of-DutyActivistion’s most anticipated game, Call of Duty: Ghosts and music icon, Eminem’s new The Marshall Mathers LP 2 will both drop on November 5. In collaboration with GameStop, anyone who pre-orders Call of Duty: Ghosts at GameStop will get his or her copy at the launch, which will include a code to download a special edition of The Marshall Mathers LP 2, featuring the track “Survival” plus a bonus studio track for a discounted price.

The ongoing collaboration between Activision and Eminem will continue later this month with a music video trailer featuring “Survival” and Call of Duty: Ghosts, and will extend throughout the launch of the title. The offer is redeemable through Monday, November 19, 11:59 p.m. EST.

The news of this limited-time offer follows additional pre-order headlines from last week, in which Activision and GameStop revealed that gamers who pre-order Call of Duty: Ghosts at GameStop will receive a pack of content that includes the bonus classic Simon “Ghost” Riley multiplayer character. Made famous in the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the return of one of the most iconic characters in Call of Duty history as a playable multiplayer character is a first for the series and is a pre-order incentive only available at GameStop.

Call of Duty: Ghosts will release on Xbox 360 game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, PC, and Wii U on November 5. The title will also release on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year. Call of Duty: Ghosts is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

 

Nintendo Announces Special-Edition Legend of Zelda Wii U Bundle, 2DS Portable

legendofzeldaAt a GameStop managers show in Las Vegas, Nintendo announced its holiday slate as well as a price drop of $50 for the Wii U Deluxe Set that will go into effect on September 20. On the same day, the company will also launch a limited-edition Wii U bundle featuring The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.

The limited-edition Wii U bundle includes a black deluxe Wii U console, a controller adorned with gold lettering and symbols from the game, and download code for a digital version of Hyrule Historia, a book detailing the history of The Legend of Zelda franchise. The digital version of the game itself will also be available September 20, while the packaged version arrives on October 4.

Meanwhile, the company’s Nintendo 2DS, a portable gaming system that plays Nintendo 3DS and DS games, albeit in 2-D, launches on October 12. Nintendo’s slate for both the Wii U and 3DS in the coming months includes third-party titles such as Scribblenauts Unmasked-A DC Comics Adventure from Warner Bros. Interactive and Skylanders Swap Force from Activision.

Call of Duty: Ghosts Live Global Broadcast Shows Off New Features, Call of Duty App

Call of DutyActivision, developer Infinity Ward, and Xbox gave fans worldwide a sneak peek of the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts via a live, streamed world premiere. Call of Duty: Ghosts features extensive customization and new weapons, maps, and game modes. The game includes a Create-a-Soldier system, in which players can customize their soldier’s physical appearance for the first time in the series. More than 20,000 possible combinations are possible from different heads, body types, equipment, gender, and more.

Players can also enter a new mode of play called Squads, where they can play solo, cooperatively up to six players, or competitively for one-on-one matches. The latter mode pits players and their squads against other players and their squads.

In addition, players can now utilize Call of Duty accounts, secured either free in-game or on the web, to carry their profiles with them, including profile change updates between different Xbox systems or different PlayStation systems. [Read more...]

Activision Releases Skylander’s Swap Force Trailer

Skylanders Swap Force introduces the dynamic swapability feature. Kids and gamers explore Skylands and battle Kaos by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys to transform 16 Swap Force characters into more than 250 unique combinations. Skylanders Swap Force has 32 never-before-seen characters with unique powers and personalities. The game also features new abilities—such as flying, climbing, and teleporting—which can be used in special areas of Skylands. Additionally, fans can play with their entire collection of more than 100, forward-compatible toys from both Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders GiantsSkylanders Swap Force is set to release in North America on October 13, Australia on October 16, and Europe on October 18. Fans can pre-order Skylanders Swap Force Starter Packs worldwide beginning on June 7. All games pre-ordered at participating retailers worldwide will come with a free Skylanders toy. The game is developed by Vicarious Visions for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the Wii U.  The Wii version is in development by Beenox, and the portable Nintendo 3DSversion is in development by n-Space. The game is not yet rated by the ESRB.

Activision Unveils New Games at E3

Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc., unveils the next-generation of gaming at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 Expo) at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 11 to 13. The company’s slate includes Call of Duty: Ghosts, Destiny, and Skylanders Swap Force.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is developed by Infinity Ward, creators of the original Call of Duty and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, and delivers a new world, setting, and cast of characters, powered by a new engine. Gamers fight as part of a single squad against an enemy that has superior numbers and firepower. Call of Duty: Ghosts’ next-gen engine delivers several new multiplayer features that will be unveiled in the coming months. The game will be released on November 5 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC. The game is developed for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC. The game is not yet rated by the ESRB.

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Activision and Bungie, creators of Halo, will introduce the new game Destiny. Destiny casts players as Guardians of the last city on Earth, who will traverse the ancient ruins of our solar system. Gamers battle humanity’s enemies and reclaim all that was lost during the collapse of mankind’s Golden Age. Destiny is story-driven and immerses players in a new universe. The game is developed for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 and is not yet rated by the ESRB.

Skylanders Swap Force introduces the dynamic swapability feature. Kids and gamers explore Skylands and battle Kaos by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys to transform 16 Swap Force characters into more than 250 unique combinations. Skylanders Swap Force has 32 never-before-seen characters with unique powers and personalities. The game also features new abilities—such as flying, climbing, and teleporting—which can be used in special areas of Skylands. Additionally, fans can play with their entire collection of more than 100, forward-compatible toys from both Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders GiantsSkylanders Swap Force is set to release in North America on October 13, Australia on October 16, and Europe on October 18. Fans can pre-order Skylanders Swap Force Starter Packs worldwide beginning on June 7. All games pre-ordered at participating retailers worldwide will come with a free Skylanders toy. The game is developed by Vicarious Visions for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the Wii U.  The Wii version is in development by Beenox, and the portable Nintendo 3DSversion is in development by n-Space. The game is not yet rated by the ESRB.

 

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Sakar To Launch New Line of “Skylanders Giants” Electronics and Accessories

Sakar International, manufacturer of tech, toy, and electronic products, partners with Activision to create a line of accessories based on the newest 16 heroes of Skylanders Giants. Skylanders Giants is the sequel to Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure video game. The new line of Skylanders Giants will feature cases for portable devices, an alarm clock radio with dock, molded ear buds and headphones, walkie-talkies, night vision goggles, and more.

Sony Announces Licensing Program for Men In Black 3

Sony Pictures Consumer Products (SPCP) has inked deals with multiple partners around the globe in time for the release of Men In Black 3 on May 25. For global deals, SPCP has teamed up with Activision for video games across multiple platforms; Gameloft for mobile games; SEE for an online game; and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe for digital costumes within the existing Little Big Planet game.
Jakks Pacific, master toy licensee, has created action figures, accompanying accessories, and more. GreenLight has created die-cast MIB cars and vehicle model kits. In collectibles, Enterbay has figurines, Factory Entertainment is making replicas of props and gadgets, Kotobukiya has created PVC statues, and Studio Art & Technology is also making prop replicas. Other licensees have signed on for apparel and accessories.

This post was originally written by Leah Rocketto and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.