Dawn of the Transreality Toys

I’ve not bothered to post on much of the recent news surrounding internet-connected dolls, mainly because the news was all over the place and there really wasn’t anything to add. Then again, maybe there is something to add because the New York Times has a story up today (Link) on the “virtual Barbie” offering from Mattel. C|Net is carrying a story today on Webkinz (Link). And I figure it’s only a matter of days or weeks before we hear of an electronically-enhanced Neopet.

So. Anything to add?


Are the stories at least worth reading?

Not if you’re waiting to design your own Spore-critter, have it fabbed, stuff it with the hacked guts of a disemboweled Barbie, upload the image to the Barbie website, and dress it up in Paris Hilton-style clothing (but only while she’s off wearing an orange jumper and her clothes are available, of course).

2 thoughts on “Dawn of the Transreality Toys

  1. there’s an air of desperation about the virtual Barbie thing isn’t there? someone senior in Marketing clearly thought it was a Good Idea, and set up a committee to work out how to implement it. But the idea of unlocking features with a USB stick is different, as far as I know. Do you think they keep user statistics?

  2. While I do also get that sense, I’m not sure it’s accurate. They’ve been fighting that other line of dolls in court (sorry, forget the name of them… saw it on television news show), so maybe they’ve been hunting for an advantage for a while and this was just part of R&D.

    I have an old co-worker acquaintance from way back that currently works in Mattel’s electronic toys and games division. I sent him an email not long ago but haven’t heard back, so I’ve not learned anything insiderish to give me a sense of how this was developed. However, I suspect there will be some stories in the MSM on this one. Barbie is too iconic not to likely get such coverage.

    The USB key is interesting. Sounds familiar somehow; maybe something I read on WMMNA or another site I frequent. And actually, it reminded me a lot of the way Nike iD and the NBA 2k6 videogame unlocked content (reLink), except with that hardware key. As for user stats: of course.

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