Virtual Values Shape Play
More Companies Fall in Line, Online
If a plush toy isn’t tied to a computer, one has to wonder if it will be soon. Using toys in conjunction with the Internet is not a new phenomenon, but Toy Fair 2008 saw a proliferation of products related to virtual worlds like never before. This trend of toys that grant kids online interactivity has largely been marked and fueled by the wildly popular success of Webkinz by Ganz in 2007, during which time the brand was one of four toy properties that saw the most annual growth, according to the NPD Group.
TDmonthly Magazine is now aware of at least eight plush toys with corresponding online worlds, and that’s not counting numerous trading cards and several soon-to-launch die-cast vehicles with virtual capabilities. Here are some examples:
MSRP: $6.50Age Range: All AgesLaunch Date: January 2008Gender: Boys And Girls
Each Beanie Baby comes with its own interactive website. Kids simply scratch off the secret code on the heart tag and unlock a world of fun: chat in different environments, play games for hours, go on a scavenger hunt, care for their virtual Beanie Babies and much more, all in a safe setting. Each Beanie Baby is adorned with a special blue and gold lightning bolt button. Launch date: 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17648 (added 2/20/2008)
Revnjenz® are fast, sleek, and sporty street racers that come to life once you enter your "Secret Code" located on your Revnjenz® drivers license. This "real life" driver's license is an authentic collector's edition. Once in Revnjenz®, you will also receive a title for your own vehicle showing proof of ownership. InRevnjenz®, you can visit many fun places. You can go to the Arcade, Bank, the "Z" Academy, Police Station, Raceway, Gas Station, Z Dealership, Performance Garage, Movie Theater, Car Wash, and "Youth Friendly" Chat lot. In these places you can race and play games to earn BoostBucks® to purchase upgrades and personalize your car along with its very own precious garage you store it in. You will be able to customize your car with items such as turbos, superchargers, spoilers, body kits, wheels, special lighting such as neon kits, cool lifts for your car, and even plasma TVs' for your garage. Come Race and Play Now!
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16440 (added 12/5/2007)
This fierce cuddler has an online counterpart that lets kids access a virtual world full of games, contests and rewards.
— During TDmonthly's Homeschool Roundtable review of Kookeys, 8-year-old Joe Ledford expressed excitement for the online entertainment the plush animals afford. "Can I play the arcade games?" he asked his mom. "They are really fun!"
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15589 (added 10/3/2007)
MSRP: $13.99Age Range: 3 and upSKU or Item #: 100008Launch Date: August 2007Gender: Boys And Girls
This scented plush friend has embroidered facial features and comes with a secret Jellycode that allows kids to unlock the character at the Jellybeanies website, play games, JellyChat with other Jellybeanies members, and find secret messages in Chroma, the Jellybeanies’ magical world. This particular character has a smart and curious personality, and comes with a story card that tells more about him. There are eight Jellybeanies characters in the first series. The scent lasts up to 20 months. Launch date: August 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16359 (added 11/30/2007)
MSRP: $12.00Age Range: 6 and upGender: Girls
Ty Girlz have a new, more wholesome look that should appeal to worried moms everywhere. Though they’re still eye-shadowed, their general expression says more “girl next door” than “girl on the corner.” They still come with an access code for good, clean online fun.
— “We carry Ty Girlz, but they don’t do well,” sighed Joyce Hoover, owner of Doll and Gift Gallery in Rogers, Ariz., in January 2008. She hoped the new line of clothes she’d received recently would improve sales.
— Tricia Cooper, buyer at Le Jouet in Metairie, La., was looking forward to the dolls’ revamped non-vamp look: “They’re more wholesome-looking girls and I think they’ll do much better,” she said. Ty has also just released new poseable Girlz.
— Ty Girlz are one of the three most popular dolls at Playville in Covington, La., according to Owner Stephanie Dupuy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16094 (added 11/13/2007)
MSRP: $2.99Launch Date: March 2008Gender: Girls
Land, sea, and sky - we are all a part of our great, beautiful world. The breathtaking horses of Bella Sara™ Native Lights have arrived, reminding us of our connection to nature and to those who live in harmony with it. Along with the special animal friends who teach them the wisdom of land, sea, and sky, these magical new horses will delight and inspire you - much like the beauty of nature itself. New with Native Lights, each card and corresponding virtual horse also feature an animal companion - a guide and friend linked to the spirit of nature and to the horse - that will join the horse in their online stables and users' cottages. Bella Sara Native Lights includes 72 new cards: 45 regular horse cards (each with a distinctive animal companion), 10 rare energy cards that can be activated for decorating users online-cottages (new Native American digital items include a dreamcatcher, a headdress, moccasins and other artifacts) and 17 extra-rare "shiny" horse cards. Each Bella Sara foil flow-wrapped card pack (MSRP $2.99) contains seven random horse and/or energy cards that can be collected and traded or used to play Bella Sara card games. Launch Date: March 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17543 (added 2/15/2008)
MSRP: $29.99Age Range: 6 and upLaunch Date: September 2008Gender: Girls
Patent-pending Clickables technology magically connects toys with Disney’s virtual worlds, seamlessly bringing online worlds, offline play and real-world friends together. The Pixie Dust eJewelry Collection includes a magical jewelry box, a charm necklace and three exclusive Disney Fairies charms powered by Clickables technology. When a girl touches a charm to the Clickables center of her jewelry box, Pixie Dust sparkles and music plays as the jewelry box comes alive. Each charm unlocks a unique fairy gift at the Pixie Hollow website, including exclusive clothing and décor. Launch date: Fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18143 (added 3/26/2008)
The 10 characters in this collection give kids access to a virtual world in which they can play games, customize their homes, and chat with other players online. Players are awarded with coins and other items through completion of certain missions.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18529 (added 4/22/2008)
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Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author
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