Monday, November 23, 2015

Smart Toys

Looking for this holiday season’s it-toy? Then it’s time to get smart.

That may not be as simple as it sounds, considering the new cadre of characters buzzing and whirring their way on to wish lists.

The big add-on this year isn’t accessories — it’s personality. (Some even talk back.)

As technology spills over into the toy market, manufacturers have moved light years beyond simple battery-powered fare and into the cloud, using the same tech that powers your smartphone. And as toys grow more like other gadgets in our lives, privacy concerns follow.

Front and center is the category known as “toys-to-life.” The Skylanders franchise, published by Activision, has dominated this category after pioneering the concept of making a video game that works with real-life figures. When connected, the figures can summon a character to life on the screen. Over time, the toy will remember each action it’s taken in a game, essentially growing smarter with every use — and offering more personalized play.

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