COMMENTARY: As Play Gets Smarter, More Toys Come to Life Digitally

It’s official: Smart toys are taking over the toy space.

Gone are the days in which kids are content with traditional methods of play. Books, activities, and games are all available for kids on mobile devices, and they expect their toys to be no different. But although the mediums that kids are interacting with daily are changing, the one thing that won’t ever change is that kids love play.

Angry Birds Stella Telepods

Angry Birds Stella Telepods

Smart toys integrate physical toys and technology—essentially giving digital life to toys. Manufacturers are starting to realize the added value in these products and how wildly popular they can be. More than 72 million kids say they want smart toys, according to market research firm Interpret in a GameByte study.

In addition, kids are using mobile devices more than ever before. Seventy-one percent of households with a child age 4 to 14 reported owning a smartphone in 2014, already up from 55 percent in 2012, according to The NPD Group. Also, kids who own tablets doubled from 2012 to 2014, growing from 21 percent to 43 percent, respectively. [Read more...]

Skylanders Trap Team Gameplay Truck Tour Arrives at New York Comic-Con

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoActivision Publishing Inc.’s nationwide Skylanders Trap Team First-to-Play Tour includes a lengthy stop at New York Comic-Con. Attendees and kids can play Skylanders Trap Team within a customized Game Truck, a mobile video game media room. Guests will also be treated to Skylanders-branded activities, photo opportunities with costumed characters, and giveaway items.

The Game Truck will be on-hand at New York Comic-Con, taking place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, today until 7 p.m., as well as on the following dates and times: [Read more...]

Skylanders Trap Team, Toy Exclusives Available at Retailers Everywhere

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoSkylanders Trap Team, from Activision Publishing Inc., is available now at major retailers nationwide on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo Wii U consoles. In addition, the complete console gaming experience is available on iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets, while a unique Skylanders adventure has launched for the Nintendo 3DS.

The new Skylanders game lets fans seek out and battle villains in Skylands, and once they’ve defeated them, players can place a Trap into the new Traptanium Portal to capture them. Players will be able to hear the villains inside the Traps, and can send the villains back into the game to fight as heroes.

To celebrate the release of Skylanders Trap Team, exclusive Skylanders products are available at retailers nationwide. Toys “R” Us stores in North America and online at toysrus.com are the only places to find the limited edition Legendary Series of Skylanders toys at launch. The Legendary Series features alternative versions of new Trap Master characters and packs such as Jawbreaker, Déjà Vu, and the Nightmare Express Adventure Pack, all of which feature in-game stat boosts. [Read more...]

Toys “R” Us Celebrates Skylanders Trap Team’s Arrival with Special Events, Early Opening, and More

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoToys “R” Us is celebrating the debut of the latest Skylanders game, Skylanders Trap Team, with special events, an early opening, exclusive figures, and more.

On Saturday, October 4 and Sunday, October 5, the Toys “R” Us flagship store in New York City will host unique in-store Skylanders-themed experiences. Customers who visit Toys “R” Us Times Square from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on either day can be among the first to play the new game at dedicated kiosks throughout the store.

ToysRUsLogo copyThey can also receive complimentary giveaways while supplies last, as well as have the opportunity to be digitally teleported into a Skylanders Trap Team “Most Wanted” photo alongside some of the game’s villains, including Kaos and Chompy Mage.

When Skylanders Trap Team releases on October 5, all Toys “R” Us stores nationwide will open one hour earlier at 8 a.m., and select stores will open at midnight. A full list of stores opening at midnight can be found at toysrus.com/midnightskylanders. Meanwhile, the Skylanders villain Kaos will be taking over the Toys “R” Us Twitter channel (@Toysrus) on Saturday, October 4, from 11 to 11:50 p.m. to interact with fans and build anticipation for the midnight release. [Read more...]

Winner Announced in Skylanders Choose and Name a New Hero Contest

SkylandersLogoPhylicia Nakamoto, from Elk Grove, Calif., is the fan-selected winner of the Skylanders Choose and Name a New Hero promotion. Her winning entry, High Five, is a royal dragonfly that is able to fly higher and faster than any other hero in Skylands. Phylicia will receive a $100,000 scholarship and High Five will be featured in the Skylanders franchise.

Earlier this year, Frito-Lay North America and Activision Publishing Inc. gave fans the opportunity to choose and name a new hero that would appear in the upcoming Skylanders Trap Team game, which will be released on October 5 in North America. Along with High Five, the other two finalist characters—Bat Spin, a female bat with magical powers, and Flip Wreck, an adventurous dolphin—will also have roles in the new game.

The three finalists were revealed in May, and consumers were invited to visit www.fritolay.com/skylanders to vote for their favorite. This marks the third Skylanders promotion between Activision and Frito-Lay.

Special Version of Skylanders Trap Team Launching on Nintendo 3DS

SkylanderTrapTeam3DSThis fall, Skylanders Trap Team, from Activision Publishing Inc., will arrive on Nintendo 3DS with an adventure exclusive to the platform. Developed by Beenox and launching on October 5 alongside the console and tablet versions, Skylanders Trap Team for 3DS will utilize the special features of the system: For instance, after villains are defeated in combat, players can use the bottom touch screen to pull them out of the game and trap them in the Traptanium Vault. Then, once captured, players can use the touch screen and microphone to poke, tickle, and spin villains to make them dizzy.

Using the portal included in the Skylanders Trap Team Nintendo 3DS Starter Pack, players can load Skylanders characters directly into their system. Additionally, two Skylanders characters, Gusto and Barkley, will be available at launch only via the Nintendo 3DS Starter Pack.

Skylanders Trap Team for Nintendo 3DS will also introduce a multi-player version of the card game Skylanders Skystones, which uses wi-fi connectivity.

Skylanders Trap Team to Feature Special Gameplay Mode for Emperor Kaos

SkylandersTrapTeam.KaosModeActivision Publishing Inc. has announced a new game play mode in Skylanders Trap Team for Emperor Kaos, the villain of its Skylanders franchise. In Kaos Doom Challenge, players can battle through increasingly difficult waves of minions, build defensive towers, and utilize both Skylanders and trapped villains from their collections.

Kaos Doom Challenge will also feature the Mystery Box of Doom, which when opened, spits out gigantic villains.

The Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack will be available October 5 in North America and October 10 in Europe for Nintendo’s Wii and Wii U systems; a variety of iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets; Xbox One and Xbox 360 games; and the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 systems. A unique adventure also will be available on the Nintendo 3DS hand-held system.

Smallest Skylanders Make Big Debut with Skylanders Minis

SkylandersMinis.SpryFans attending the recent Gamescom 2014 in Cologne, Germany, got a hands-on opportunity to play Skylanders Trap Team with cute, pocket-sized characters called Skylanders Minis. The new line of 16 characters, from Activision Publishing Inc., is playable with upgrades and abilities just like any other Skylanders, including the ability to trap villains.

The figures are roughly one-third the size of regular Skylanders playable with Skylanders Trap Team. The Skylanders Minis available for play at the Gamescom booth were Spry, Mini Jini, Drobit, Trigger Snappy, and Hijinx.

Skylanders Minis will be sold in two-packs and will be available at Wal-Mart.

Skylanders Trap Team Will Be Unleashed on Tablets

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoActivision Publishing Inc. will bring the complete Skylanders Trap Team video game to tablets at launch, marking the first time a full Skylanders game will be available on iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets day-and-date with the console version. The tablet version of the game delivers the same experience with console-quality graphics and comes with its own high-performance controller.

The Skylanders Trap Team Tablet Starter Pack will include a Bluetooth Traptanium Portal, an embedded Bluetooth controller, a built-in tablet stand, two Skylanders characters, two Traps, and a display tray that lets Portal Masters keep track of the Traps they’ve collected and which villains they have trapped. [Read more...]

Skylanders Trap Team First-To-Play Tour Launches at Comic-Con International: San Diego

SkylandersLogoActivision Publishing Inc. is kicking off a four-month, nationwide Skylanders Trap Team First-to-Play Tour, in which attendees can play Skylanders Trap Team inside a customized Game Truck, which serves as a mobile video game media room.

The tour will give fans a hands-on experience of the game prior to its North American launch on October 5. The first stops coincide with Comic-Con International: San Diego, and are scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fans can visit the Game Truck at Interactive Zone, located at Petco Park’s Lexus Premier Lot, Imperial Avenue at 11th Avenue.