Toymakers gear up for year of the "AppCessory"

Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:59pm EST
 
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By Dhanya Skariachan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Having found this holiday season that they cannot beat iPad, iPhone and iPod, toymakers have decided to join them, lining up a host of playthings that come to life when hooked up to the devices, gadgets that kids love to play with.

Industry insiders call them "AppCessories," and expect a wide array of these items to be on display at the American Toy Fair, which officially kicks off in New York on Sunday.

"The manufacturers have realized this is a hot area, and they are all jumping on it," said TimetoPlayMag.com Editor-in-Chief Jim Silver. "It is an opportunity to extend the ages you are selling to."

The trend comes as companies, scarred by a holiday season when toy sales fell 3 percent in the United States, look beyond traditional toys to woo tech-savvy kids, many of whom have grown up playing on their parents' smartphones or their own gaming consoles.

"Today's gamer is looking for experiences in games that include the marriage of digital and analog, face-to-face, and off the board gaming," Hasbro Chief Executive Brian Goldner said.

For a graphic on 2011 toy industry sales, see: link.reuters.com/rer56s

Hasbro, the maker of G.I. Joe toys and the Monopoly board game plans, to jump on the "AppCessory" bandwagon through its "zAPPed" gaming platform.

When you play with Hasbro's "The Game of Life zAPPed," you will still move your car from space to space and select your path to retirement on a game board, but now you spin, get paid, sue other players and make important decisions on your iPad, after downloading a free app. The game will cost about $25.   Continued...