The Combo Meal: Virtual Worlds & Toys

Playhut, maker of the Playland EZTwist tents and tunnels and Mystikat toys, launched an interactive toys division, GoLive2, with two virtual worlds back in October. The worlds targeted at kids from 6-13, Wowbotz for boys and Mystikats Kutties for girls, now have toys to go with them. The company will release four Kuttiez and four Wowbotz with matching accessory packs in the spring of 2008. Unlike most other meta-toys that just give kids access to the world, GoLive2 is making users work for them. Each toy comes with its own mini-games that in turn unlock passcodes that give users access to new areas in the virtual worlds. “I founded Playhut with the goal to bring a new way of play to the marketplace,” said Brian Zheng, CEO of Playhut. “With GoLive2 we are offering kids and their parents a very different and unique way of playing, based off the question, ‘How do you play?’ GoLive2 innovates play in a way that has not yet been introduced to the Toy Industry.”

Virtual Worlds News: Playhut’s GoLive2 Debuts Virtual World-Connected Toys

Forgive me, I’m not necessarily sold on the name “Mystikats Kuttiez”, and often find myself doing a double take when I see the name. I can’t quite put my finger on it… but that kuttiez part puts a wee glitch in my mental gears. Makes the brain hamster running the wheel of geniosity skip a step. Yadda.

Anyway… Wowbotz is kinda cool for the 6-9 boy demographic. It’s more kid/”twid” (hehe) oriented than the straight-on tweens demographic. It has a VERY young feel to it, although some of the games stump yours truly. Like how Bella Sera has that young 6-9 girl feel to it (which reminds me: one of those ponies must have been rescued from the Rainbow Brite compound… ’cause I’ve seen good ole Starlight standing amongst those other ponies looking well fed and happy to have a career again).

It’ll be “unique” to see how the How do you play play pattern they’ve added to the toy/VW marriage will work. Will it be as successful as that darn rubics cube and it’s uber “will i/won’t i defeat this bad boy…ever?” or will it be frustration-ola and an ultimate ‘set aside’ toy (like Bratz’ Muichiz Virtual Comanion toy?). Mr. Zhengy is right, it’s a concept not yet intro’d to the VW/toy industry and they could be on to something. Crafty people to exceptional things with the confusing.

So, here’s a few off-the-tip-o-me-head VW & Toy combo packs:
Barbie (barbiegirl + mp3 player), Bratz (be-bratz + doll/USB key), Littlest Pet Shop (VW + stuffed animal code), Webkinz (VW + stuffed animal code), Bella Sera (VW + trading cards), Zibbies (VW + stuffed animal code), Shining Stars (VW + stuffed animal code), Build-A-Bear (VW + stuffed animal code), myepet (bratz pets + stuffed animal code), Moshi Monster (VW + cell phone accessory), Ty Girls (Stuffed Doll + Code), etc…

Of that group, only Barbiegirl, Buildabearville, Bella Sera and Moshi Monsters (<as far as I can tell with MM, they’re still in Beta, so this could be a wrong assumption) allow you to roam as a free member w/o buying the product yet.

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  1. January 9, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    hey Izzy. nice post. there’s lots of growth and opportunity in this area – the marriage of offline toys with online worlds. it’s an area i’m really interested in and will be talking about at GDC this year. hopefully see you there!

  2. January 14, 2008 at 4:04 am

    lol on your ‘Rainbow Brite’ horse phraseology…you are hilarious, girl. And if I see one more “Z” in an attempt at clever name generation, I’m going to gag. (not just because I do name generation/product dev. for a living and refuse on principle to ‘go there’ no matter how much clients plead)

    Anyway, my Bella Sara post has been delayed as my dear godchild ripped through it so fast in ‘acquisition mode’ that it didn’t ‘do enough’ to hold her interest regardless how pretty and pontificating those positive messages deemed to be…(I still think it’s a step in the right direction to counter-market sass-n-trash ‘mean girl’ syndrome)

    I’ve folded it into a post on a site by ANOTHER friend, who founded Girls Horse Club (.com) —a brand marketer w/chops from LeapFrog/marcom gaming etc. who’s really making a huge difference in terms of encouraging kids’ literacy/writing talents and sense of community.

    Clearly GHC is for the serious barn goddesses, vs. just casual game play and pretty ponies, but it appeals to the ‘passionista’ in me for community building and appears to be ‘begging for’ a virtual world, imho.

    Check it out! Will post on it soon! (though lately, you’ve been beating me to it…soooooooo swamped, but I have to cut myself slack and remember that you haven’t entered the parenthood realm just yet, in terms of time-sinks on productivity, counter-balanced with joys of ‘Shaping Youth’ firsthand. 😉

  3. January 29, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    and if you have the yorkie the penguin and the monkey go to the spa and theres two games there for the owners that have a yorkie a penguin a monkey and a fluffy cat!!

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