In an attempt to redeem themselves from Cars 2, Disney is going to release a line of Cars Appmates toys.
Appmates are toys that interact with tablet computer apps and games as if they were avatars within the apps themselves. You move the toy around the screen, and the tablet reacts accordingly.
According to Bart Decrem, head of Disney Mobile, Disney is using these toys to get ready for the day when kids come home from school and play with their tablets and smartphones, rather than turn on the TV.
The toy is the first to transform the Apple iPad into a virtual play mat for kids. And the app turns ordinary toys into a part of an immersive game world for kids, full of sounds, narration, and music. That transforms a static and boring toy into an interactive experience.
In other words, tablet computers will become virtual board game boards and holodecks for these toys and for the people that use them.
The toys and apps will come out on Oct. 1 via a free iTunes download for both the iPad and iPad 2, but Disney will charge $20 for sets of two cars. The toys will be available in Disney Stores and on DisneyStore.com. No mention of other tablets in this VentureBeat article, but I expect Droid versions of the apps will be released shortly after the iPad versions, especially if this takes off.
The characters included initial launch will include Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater, Finn McMissile, and Holley Shiftwell while Francesco Bernoulli and Shu Todoroki will launch in November.
Disney has said they plan on expanding to other franchises if the Cars toys take off.
Their YouTube video of the apps and toys has been included below, which seems to be showing some kind of racing game.
It is good to see PC games returning to prominence, even if they are coming in the form of tablet apps. Too long has the console dominated gaming. It's time for the real gaming platform take its rightful place.