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.

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.

Trading Cards : Video Release of Topps Bundesliga Augmented Trading Cards Powered By Total Immersion

Licensed collectables publisher Topps Europe Ltd (Topps) has teamed up with Total Immersion to create the world’s first range of 3D football stickers for the German Bundesliga.

Due to be launched this month, Topps 3D Live stickers use augmented reality to give football fans the chance to see their favourite players come to life, make them play special moves and even score goals in a new free kick game on Topps’ Bundesliga website.

Press release : Topps and Total Immersion Huddle Up, Unveil ‘3D Live’ Football Cards: NFL Quarterbacks on Virtual Gridiron Come To Life Via Augmented Reality

Cards Build on Game-Changing Introduction of 3D Live Baseball Cards,

Enable Kids and Collectors to Play Ball with the Pros at ToppsTown.com

topps baseball 

            LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK (September 23, 2009) – If the prospect of being a Monday morning quarterback every day of the week grabs you, you can now get in the game, thanks to the Topps Company, Total Immersion and the magic of augmented reality.

            The two companies today introduced “Topps 3D Live” football trading cards featuring star National Football League quarterbacks who come to play, at www.toppstown.com, Topps’ virtual sports community.

            Building on the success of its groundbreaking 3D Live baseball cards for Topps, Total Immersion, the global leader in augmented reality, is bringing Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Eli and Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb and other star quarterbacks to life in 3D, for  the 2009 NFL season.

Topps, the leading creator and marketer of sports and related cards, is delivering a new level of interactive gameplay via the new football cards, introducing a highly engaging experience where virtual components are merged into a live video stream in real time.

The new Topps 3D Live football cards feature quarterbacks who pop up from specially designated cards to fire passes to virtual receivers, all the while seeking to keep away from defensive obstacles. 

             Every pack of Topps 2009 Football contains one interactive code card.  Fans log on to http://www.toppstown.com/, enter the Topps 3D Live section and select the player on the code card.  Once the player is selected and the program is initialized, it’s time for the snap from center.  When the card is held under a webcam, the quarterback springs to life, onscreen.  Fans control the action with a few keystrokes.             

            “With 3D Live NFL cards, Topps is continuing to innovate, bringing greater interactivity to game play for fans and collectors alike,” said Steve Grimes, Chief Digital Officer, Topps.  “We’re fans of augmented reality, and the quarterback game we’ve developed with Total Immersion is simple, engaging and fun.”

            “Marrying football with augmented reality was a natural after the game-changing success of Topps 3D Live baseball cards,” said Bruno Uzzan, CEO and co-founder, Total Immersion (http://www.t-immersion.com/).  “These cards put fans in the huddle with their favorite NFL quarterback, and demonstrate yet again how augmented reality gets the consumer into the action like nothing else.  That’s the kind of engagement that AR delivers consistently.”

            3D Live augmented reality football cards are the newest attraction at Topps Town, an online sports community. The site was unveiled in June 2008 as part of the iconic company’s plans to expand into the digital space.  Topps was recently named the exclusive card supplier to Major League Baseball.

About The Topps Company, Inc.

Founded in 1938, Topps (www.topps.com) is a leading creator and marketer of sports and related cards, entertainment products, and distinctive confectionery. Topps entertainment products include Major League Baseball, NFL, NBA, and other trading cards, sticker album collections, and collectible games. The company’s confectionary brands include “Bazooka” bubble gum, “Ring Pop,” “Push Pop,” “Baby Bottle Pop,” and “Juicy Drop Pop” lollipops.  In June 2008, Topps unveiled ToppsTown (www.toppstown.com), the first online sports community for kids, bringing the popularity of trading cards with the exploding world of web-based social networking.

 

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 a presence in Europe and the U.S., and supports a network of partners worldwide.

  

Press Release : Topps Team Up With Total Immersion to Launch Football’s First 3D Stickers

Licensed collectables publisher Topps Europe Ltd (Topps) has teamed up with Total Immersion to create the world’s first range of 3D football stickers for the German Bundesliga.

Due to be launched this month, Topps 3D Live stickers use augmented reality to give football fans the chance to see their favourite players come to life, make them play special moves and even score goals in a new free kick game on Topps’ Bundesliga website.

3dlive-promo

The Bundesliga 2009/10 series features 416 collector stickers, with five special Topps 3D Live stickers. To use the interactive animation technology, fans log on to the website and select the player on the sticker. Once the programme has started, users simply place the sticker under their web cam and the player comes to life. Each footballer can be rotated around and their movements controlled with a single key stroke.

“The Bundesliga 3D Live stickers follow on from the huge success we’ve had with similar projects for the American Baseball League and the All Blacks in New Zealand,” Philippe de Passorio, VP Sales & Marketing of Total Immersion, explains.

3dlive-button-home3

“Topps’ 3D Live stickers have taken sports trading cards to a whole new level and made them even more desirable. This is great news for kids, fans and collectors of the Bundesliga who can now get to see, interact, and even score goals with their favourite football players,” he adds.

To accompany the Bundesliga 2009/10 series, Topps have created a special collector album with an augmented reality front cover, as well as a series of augmented reality posters, which are believed to be the first of their kind in the world.

Rod Pearson, Marketing Manager at Topps, comments: “We have a long history of publishing highly successful collections and this new technology adds a very exciting new element for collectors.”

“As an industry, we are seeing a greater convergence between retail and online product offerings that capture a new generation of internet savvy kids, and Bundesliga 3D Live taps in to childrens’ ever growing interest in the internet and new technology,” he said.

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