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January 09, 2013

Disney and JAKKS Partner Together to Bring Virtual Interaction into Playtime

By Carlos Olivera, TMCnet Content Producer

When people see the now infamous “Mouse Ears” only one thing comes to mind, Disney (News - Alert). Disney’s line of animated toy characters remains a big seller, and in a new partnership just announced with JAKKS Pacific, Disney hopes bring children a new way to bring those characters to life and enjoy virtual interaction.

The partnership with JAKKS Pacific and Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong aims to combine Disney’s physical toys with cloud-based characters to bring young children a new element of playtime. The new technology, called DreamPlay, will work by training specially designed toys on the camera of a tablet or smartphone, which will make one of its thousands of animations come to the life.

At any given moment, everyone’s favorite crustacean Sebastian can pop up and start banging on a pair of bongo drums. The concept is similar to that of a hologram and will be available on Apple Inc devices like the iPad, or smartphones and tablets running Google Inc Android (News - Alert) software.

Image via Shutterstock

"It's a tremendous way to combine great technology and Disney's magical storytelling to extend the time a child can play with a toy," said Bob Chapek, president of Disney's consumer products unit. "Kids find out that playing with their toy doesn't end when they get it home."

The notion of having kids sit still and play with a computer screen as a form of entertainment or playtime may be a hard sell on parents these days, but Soon-Shiong feels it shouldn’t be a problem.

"Technology can help people live better, work better, play better," said Soon-Shiong, as he showed off the line of toys. "This is the way they will play better."

DreamPlay is scheduled to hit shelves in the United States later this fall with the price estimated to be slightly more expensive than regular Disney toys. Disney and JAKKS plan to take DreamPlay international with sales slated for sometime in 2014.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

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