Gone are the days when television and movies were the keys to creating popular toys - now kids want what to play with real versions of the characters they encounter first on the computer. Whether it's Moshi Monsters, Club Penguin, the newest Skylanders series or another, 55% of kids in the UK are reported to own at least one real life toy based on a video game's virtual world, according to Gamasutra. Based on popularity at ToyWiz.com, we'd expect a similar result for kids in the US as well.
[caption id="attachment_1627" align="alignleft" width="110" caption="Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure"][/caption]
The options range from toys that are simply real world representations of in-game characters, like the very popular Angry Birds, to toys that actually "plug in" and come to life on the computer to be played and saved. Many of the toys like Webkinz, Club Penguin and Moshi Monsters also offer in-game items or bonuses based on codes that come with the toys. That makes these a double-treat for players: a real toy and a virtual one that they can use online.
For the uninitiated, here's a quick look at some of the hottest game-and-toy offerings currently available:
- Angry Birds:
The most popular game in the world has it's own line of plush, offline games and magnets, keychains and more. With over 500,000,000 downloads of the game, it's a sure bet that kids who like games have tried this one.
- Club Penguin:
A Disney offering, "CP" has the quality and adorable eye-appeal you'd expect from the leader in family-friendly entertainment. It is a role-playing game, where you interact as a penguin in a beautiful snowy world. The Club Penguin toys offer coin codes to use in exchange for unique in-game items.
- Moshi Monsters:
Combining the fun of an online game and the popularity of virtual pets, Moshi Monsters lets you adopt a monster and solve puzzles to buy items like food, clothing and decorations for it. It's popularity has grown quickly, and now the real world toys released this year are in great demand. These include trading cards, plush and figures with codes for in-game items.
Available for all gaming platforms, Skylanders is a unique new gaming experience. For this one, the figures are a must - they are placed on the "portal" and come to life in-game. These toys actually save the character's progression, and can even be taken to a friend's house to play together on the same console.
- Poptropica: Developed by the Family Education Network, Poptropica lets players travel, play games, compete and communicate together to complete islands. The codes in Poptropica toys give players unique costumes to wear in the game too.
- Webkinz: Incredibly popular stuffed animals (plush) that all have access to the "Webkinz World" website. These range from common housepets to wild or fantasy animals. The code on each Webkin allows that pet to be adopted in the virtual world, where your stuffed animal gets to come to life.
[caption id="attachment_1630" align="alignleft" width="63" caption="Sonic the Hedgehog"][/caption]
Not only are these toys hot, we have seen merchandise for pretty much every game on the market. From Assassin's Creed to World of Warcraft, and classic-to-modern versions of Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, there is no end to the now-complete tie in of computer gaming and toys.
So what do you think of these? Do you or your family own any toys that tie in to video games? Would you buy an item that came with a bonus for online use?