Startup Toymail Receives Investment from Amazon, Will Integrate Alexa Voice Service into Toys

ToymailToymail Co., the creator of Mailmen toys and the Toymail app for iOS and Android, has received an investment by Amazon from the Alexa Fund and plans to integrate the Alexa Voice Service into its messaging platform for kids. Toymail will use the investment from the Alexa Fund for product research and to scale its SAS footprint.

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Scopely Rolling with Hasbro, Set to Bring Yahtzee to Mobile Devices Worldwide

YahtzeewithBuddiesScopely, a publisher of free to play games on mobile and tablet devices, has joined with Hasbro Inc. to launch the Yahtzee with Buddies game, an officially licensed and free-to-play Yahtzee experience.

Yahtzee with Buddies boasts a new look and graphics, as well as intuitive game play intended to stay true to the feel of the original Yahtzee. Players can go head-to-head with family and friends, tracking the results through stats, or play on their own. The game also includes daily and weekly tournaments, allowing for competition with fans around the world.

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Hasbro Enlists Fans to Create Massive New Transformers Robot

TransformersCombinerWarsappIn celebration of the theme for its 2015 Transformers Generations line, Combiner Wars, Hasbro is inviting fans to help create a new character for the Transformers brand; specifically, a new team of robots that combine to form one giant new character. [Read more...]

Bandai Namco Launches Ms. Pac-Man Pink Ribbon Campaign

Bandai Namco Games America Inc. has partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) to launch the Ms. Pac-Man Pink Ribbon Campaign in the fight against the second leading cause of cancer among U.S. women.  Ms. Pac-Man will mascot the campaign, which will be anchored with new gameplay incentives across the video game publisher’s line of mobile titles. The campaign will raise funds for NBCF to help women and inspire hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services.

The Ms. Pac-Man Ribbon Campaign will run until Oct. 31 and includes an exclusive new maze for sale across Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man iOS and Android titles. All proceeds from purchases on the new level will go directly to support the NBCF. The in-game user interface and artwork for game will change to a new pink ribbon theme for October alongside the new content.

Minecraft Will Join Microsoft Studios

Minecraft-gamesMicrosoft Corp. has reached an agreement to acquire Mojang, the Stockholm-based game developer behind the popular Minecraft franchise.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Mojang team will join Microsoft Studios. Microsoft will acquire Mojang for $2.5 billion, and expects the acquisition to be break-even in fiscal year 2015 on a GAAP basis. Subject to customary closing conditions and any regulatory review, the acquisition is expected to close later this year.

Available across multiple platforms, players have downloaded Minecraft more than 100 million times, on PC alone, since its launch in 2009. Minecraft is also the most popular online game on Xbox, and the game’s community is among the most active in the industry, with more than 2 billion hours played on Xbox 360 alone in the past two years. [Read more...]

Five Thousand Words Added to Merriam-Webster’s Official Scrabble Players Dictionary

scrabbleUnder license from Hasbro Inc., Merriam-Webster will release the fifth edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, marking the dictionary’s first major update in nearly a decade. More than 5,000 new words will be added to the dictionary–including geocache, a word chosen by fans in the Scrabble Word Showdown earlier this year–making them all officially playable in the game. Players in the U.S. and Canada will now be able to rack up points with geocache and other words that have entered language recently, including beatbox, chillax, frenemy, hashtag, joypad, mixtape, mojito, ponzu, selfie, soju, sudoku, texter, vodcast, vlog, and yuzu. [Read more...]

PlayDate Digital, Hasbro Launch Transformers Rescue Bots: Sky Forest Rescue App

The youngest of Transformers fans can enjoy the Transformers Rescue Bots: Sky Forest Rescue app from PlayDate Digital and Hasbro Inc. This mobile app puts beginner and emergent readers at the center of the story, working as rescue cadets in training to save Griffin Rock from nature gone wild.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Sky Forest Rescue is inspired by the animated series Transformers Rescue Bots by Hasbro Studios and airing on The Hub Network in the U.S.  The app is available on iOS devices.

BREAKING NEWS: Lego Combines Digital and Physical Play with Lego Fusion

Lego Fusion Town MasterLego Systems Inc. has unveiled Lego Fusion, a play experience that combines traditional Lego brick play with app-based mobile games for kids ages 7 and up. The Fusion collection will include four: Lego Fusion Town Master, Lego Fusion Battle Towers, Lego Fusion Create & Race, and Lego Fusion Resort Designer, featuring Lego Friends characters and themes.

Each Lego Fusion kit consists of a distinct set of Lego bricks, a corresponding free downloadable app, and a unique Fusion capture plate, which is a small brick-building plate featuring a printed design that enables a smartphone or tablet’s camera to identify the size, colors, and layout of the Lego bricks built onto the plate. The apps will prompt kids to build a 2-D façade of a building onto the capture plate any way they like. Then, kids can import the façade into the app and transform the creation into a full 3-D building on screen. Once a Lego brick creation has been imported into the game, a series of challenges and interactions will require kids to turn away from the screen and build another façade with their Lego bricks to progress in the game. Each game encourages this back-and-forth between physical and virtual worlds.

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Discovery Communications, Fuzzy Frog Launch Augmented Reality Game

March19.SpiderAppDiscovery Communications, in partnership with app developer Fuzzy Frog, has created Real Scary Spiders, a game that allows users to interact with a pet spider through an augmented reality experience on an app. Players can collect, nurture, and raise spiders, and will eventually unlock new breeds and learn interesting facts through gameplay.

Users can transport their spiders onto a target image in the real world, such as the cover of a magazine or wall, which uses the app’s augmented reality feature. In addition, players can purchase the Animal Planet Web Blasting Tarantula exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide to activate an additional interconnected experience within the app.

The Animal Planet Real Scary Spiders app is available for free across all iOS and Android digital devices.

Spin Master Ltd. Launches Tenkai Knights Gaming App

TenkaiKnightsSpin Master Ltd. has released, Tenkai Knights Battle for Quarton, a free mobile gaming app based on the hit kids’ TV series, Tenkai Knights. The new game-based app is available for download to iOS devices in the App Store.

Players tap and swipe to help their favorite Tenkai warriors to defeat the evil Vilius and his corrupted army to save the planet Quarton. Developed by Game Pill, the app features all four Tenkai Knights as they race through four different levels.