Total Immersion Points Way toward New Modes of Digital Game Play via Augmented Reality

With AR Technology in i-TAG Toys, Topps Trading Cards and More, Is Toy Industry Nearing a Tipping Point?

LOS ANGELES (February 11, 2010) – With the holiday season now behind us and Toy Fair opening this week, are we witnessing a revolution in how kids play?

Last fall, in advance of the release of Twentieth Century Fox’s epic action-adventure film, “Avatar,” Mattel launched a new line of action figures based on characters, creatures and vehicles in the film — the first retail toys ever to incorporate augmented reality (AR) technology.

Each toy in the product line includes a 3D web tag, called an i-TAG — developed by Total Immersion (www.t-immersion.com), the global leader in AR — which consumers can display before a webcam.  Scanning the i-TAG reveals special content onscreen unique to the corresponding product.  When the i-TAG for deluxe figures, vehicles or creatures are placed under a webcam, animated 3-D models “come alive” through engaging, evading or defending moves.  Said a CNET correspondent, “I’ve seen the future of toys and it’s augmented reality.”

The i-TAG product line came on the heels of Topps’ 3D Live trading cards for both Major League Baseball and the NFL, which introduced a broad audience to AR and a groundbreaking enhancement to the trading card, a beloved American classic.  Just as AR is beginning to redefine game play, it is also bringing a new dimension to the children’s encyclopedia genre.  Nathan and Total Immersion recently received an LSA Innovation Oscar for the Dokeo Augmented Reality Encyclopedia, dubbed the “best innovative cultural product for 2009” in France.

A year ago, industry pundit Jonathan Samet of Toy Insider identified five trends that he suggested would shape the business:

  • Lower priced toys (toys under $25)
  • Toys based on movie/entertainment properties
  • Science toys
  • Green toys
  • Access to the Internet and digital websites

Similarly, the Toy Association itself echoed those trends, in a report that called out budget toys, green toys, movie toys and interactive and digital toys.  Noted the association: “Computers and web searching abilities have greatly influenced children’s play patterns in recent years.  Links to website and added content will be offered through websites dedicated for this purpose only.”

“By the toy industry’s own assessments, digital forms of game play are ready for prime time, and the Topps cards and Mattel i-TAG toys touch on virtually all of the current industry trends,” said Bruno Uzzan, CEO and co-founder, Total Immersion.  “Augmented reality has gained momentum because of its unique ability to engage consumers in their experience with a brand.  Mattel’s ‘Avatar’ toy line and Topps’ new take on trading cards are truly groundbreaking, by taking key assets of important franchises and placing them in the consumer’s hands, to extend these brands in new environments, in new ways.

“At the same time, these toy lines suggest that digital play patterns are taking their place alongside durable toys,” Uzzan said.  “Digital toys represent an exciting addition to the mix, bringing characters to life and enhancing both the physical toy and the property from which that toy is derived.”

About Total Immersion

Total Immersion (www.t-immersion.com) is the global leader in augmented reality. Through its patented D’Fusion® technology, Total Immersion blurs the line between the virtual world and the real world by integrating real time interactive 3D graphics into a live video stream. Leading the augmented reality category since 1999, the company maintains offices in Europe (France and the UK), Asia and in the U.S., and supports a network of more than 65 partners worldwide.  Find the latest news concerning Total Immersion projects at: http://augmented-reality-news.com.

Marrying The Marketing to The Product, Total Immersion Brings Augmented Reality to Marquee Home Entertainment Releases

AR Gives Movie Buffs Reason for a Double Take – And Marks Company’s First Music Industry Campaign, for Universal

LOS ANGELES (January 20, 2010) – In what may herald a new benchmark in entertainment marketing, augmented reality is beginning to transform the way key brand assets of hot film and music properties – performers, characters, scenes, and more – migrate from the original medium to the consumer’s world.

The just-concluded holiday season affirms the trend.  With the DVD launch an increasingly important coda to tentpole titles, Total Immersion (www.t-immersion.com) has infused augmented reality (AR) into three of this season’s hottest home entertainment packages – for Paramount’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Star Trek (designed by Picture Production Company), and Fox’s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.

At the same time, the company has executed its first campaign for the music industry, for Universal Music TV/All Around The World artists N-Dubz.   As part of its latest release, the platinum-selling band interacts with viewers – and performs in AR.

Total Immersion’s latest applications reveal an evolution in marketing that merges multiple channels and uses the latest in AR technology to engage consumers in the brand experience as never before.  The company supplied AR applications to Paramount and Fox to promote the theatrical release of all three titles.

Among this past holiday season’s biggest movers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen “went AR” in two-disc Blu-ray and DVD sets.   Fans can give life to an augmented reality incarnation of robotic character Optimus Prime by simply displaying DVD or Blu-ray boxes before a webcam.  Viewers can also access a special website, which asks that they assemble the Matrix of Leadership to bring Optimus Prime back to life, fix his armor and calibrate his weapons by controlling his aim during target practice.

Paramount Home Entertainment’s DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases of Star Trek deploy AR to take consumers on a self-guided tour of the U.S.S. Enterprise.  Showing the disc box to a webcam triggers an AR journey of five cabins on the Enterprise — and even enables consumers to fire on foes from the ship’s deck.

20th Century Fox’s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian likewise enables consumers to enter the movie experience. Just as museum wonders come to life in the film, so the DVD and Blu-ray Disc packaging (abetted by a webcam) unleashes Rex the Dinosaur, the giant squid and Amelia Earhart’s plane, among other snippets.  All seemingly pop off the box — and put the consumer at the center of the action.

N-Dubz’ new album, Against All Odds – released on Universal Music TV/All Around the World — features an augmented reality performance by the band, triggered from data embedded within the album artwork.  When displayed before a webcam, the artwork reveals 3-D images of the band chatting with the viewer and then giving an impromptu performance of the hit new single, “I Need You” — all within the palm of the viewer’s hand.  Consumers can turn the sleeve artwork around to view the band from alternative angles.   Band members move as fluidly as they would if they were physically standing on the paper held aloft.

“We’re helping home entertainment marketers engage their audiences on an entirely new level, with experiences from each film crossing from cinematic ‘reality’ to theirs, ” said Bruno Uzzan, CEO and co-founder, Total Immersion.  “After more than a decade in development, augmented reality has moved into prime-time.  Some of the world’s largest brands are using AR to enhance both brand loyalty and the customer experience, by propelling consumers into a unique 3D interaction with their film.   Hollywood is embracing the opportunity to enable fans to explore their handiwork through a process that blends the physical and digital worlds.

“AR is a major technical achievement,” Uzzan said.  “But it’s just as compelling a marketing milestone.  Through AR, we’re taking the equity of the franchise – key assets like characters and scenes – and giving them to consumers.  AR adds value by enabling consumers to explore and experience what amounts to a new entertainment ecosystem.  And this is just the beginning.”

About Total Immersion

Total Immersion (www.t-immersion.com) is the global leader in augmented reality. Through its patented D’Fusion® technology, Total Immersion blurs the line between the virtual world and the real world by integrating real time interactive 3D graphics into a live video stream. Leading the augmented reality category since 1999, the company maintains offices in Europe (France and the UK), Asia and in the U.S., and supports a network of more than 50 partners worldwide.  Find the latest news concerning Total Immersion projects at: http://augmented-reality-news.com.

Total Immersion augmented reality technology is one of most talked-about trends and technologies to have influenced global marketing over the past 12 months

Total Immersion is part of Most Contagious 2009 report in Augmented Reality section. This report talks about all talked-about trends and technologies to have influenced global marketing over the past 12 months.

You can have a look to this report here.

At the other end of the fun spectrum is Topps’ 3D Live Baseball Cards via AR experts Total Immersion. When scanned via a webcam, these produce miniature animated players in the palm of your hand or on your desk, which can then be controlled to play a series of simple batting and pitching mini-games. (See Contagious 19).


Toy manufacturer Mattel also endowed its new range of Avatar action figures with AR i-Tags. These plastic cards, when held in front of a webcam, produce 3D-renderings of that very toy which then spring to life, stomping and leaping across the user’s desktop. See Contagious 21.

Los Angeles Times Looks at the Mattel iTag Line

“Mattel’s Jason Horowitz talks to the L.A. Times about how the Avatar AR-enabled line of iTag action figures weds augmented reality and the fantastic reality of James Cameron’s blockbuster.  In this interview, Horowitz discusses how augmented reality expands upon the remarkable experience of the film.” More

Toys : Video Release of First Mattel Augmented Reality Toys with Avatar Licence and i-Tag technology

The Mattel toy line, developed in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising (Fox Licensing) will feature heroes, creatures and vehicles straight from James Camerons much-anticipated film, which is set for release in December 2009.

The augmented reality technology used for the project was developped by AR world leader Total Immersion. Each action figure, vehicle and creature in the product line will come with a 3-D web tag, called an i-TAG, which consumers can scan using a home computers webcam.

Blog Review (Geek Gestalt) : Augmented reality augurs the future of toys

Please have a look at this article : Augmented reality augurs the future of toys

I have seen the future of toys, and it is augmented reality.

That was my conclusion Monday after seeing Mattel’s i-Tags, new technology that will be included with action figures the company will make for “Titanic” director James Cameron’s new film, “Avatar.”

For those not familiar with augmented reality, it’s an overlay of digital information or imagery on top of real-world objects. AR, as it’s known, “is a field of computer research that deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time,” according to Wikipedia.

Or, as Sean McGowan, a toy industry analyst with Needham & Company in New York called it, AR is “jet fuel for the imagination.”

In the case of the “Avatar” action figures, AR is being implemented in the form of small plastic cards–the i-Tags–that kids can hold up in front of any Webcam. When they do, a fully 3D digital image is superimposed over the card on the screen. This can be anything from a simple set of information about a character from the film to a full-on, five-on-five shooting battle involving large military helicopters and flying dinosaur-like creatures called Leonopteryx.

The i-Tags, along with the “Avatar” action figures they’re based on, will be released in October in advance of the December 18 release of Cameron’s film.

There are five levels of i-TAGs, each of which corresponds to a specific level of interactivity with the AR. At level one–which will cost $8.95 per toy–kids who hold the card up to their Webcam will see some information on their computer screen about the character. At higher levels, though, they’ll be able to “push” buttons on the card, allowing them to manipulate the digital character or vehicle that pops up (see video below).

While AR is beginning to show up in many arenas, from video games to movie advertising to baseball cards to exploratory toys, Mattel said that the i-Tag is the first-ever retail toy implementation of the technology. more

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