Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What's your appTITUDE?

When we wrote The Toy and Game Inventor's Handbook, we decided to include a glossary of common words used in the industry. We were not trying to compete with Merriam Webster but just alert our readers to corporate speak and "buzzwords" to avoid potentially "embarrassing semantic ruptures" in future encounters. The toy world is not unique with specialized jargon. Virtually every business has nomenclature that might be quite foreign to "outsiders" unfamiliar with an industry's own lingua franca.

As we plan to do our e-Handbook, we will update the glossary. The industry has grown since we released our original work and so to has the vernacular to describe its products, its commerce, and its consumers. Nothing underscores this more than the hot use of "app" now applied to the latest genre of playthings. In fact, if Toy Fair 2012 is any indication, very key industry words like play may morph to plapp, toy to tapp and game to gapp.

If you were at Javits, you had to be sleepwalking not to notice all the apps and the quick word-smithing to emphasize app domination of many new products. There were add-on products now called appcessories. Mattel juiced up lovable Barbie and classic Hot Wheels with functionality apps. F-P sees baby learning colors, numbers, animals, etc. from an Apptivity Monkey (bib not included?). There was a karaoke app and the Disney Appclix that "lets easy photo transfer even by children". Some of Hasbro Games classics like Life, Monopoly, and Battleship are getting zAPPed for new play experiences.

But my award for emphasizing new-age plapp goes to Spinmaster who coined a real brand catching name, Appfinity and the uses it across a number of items like Applingz, Appfishing, Appdrive, Appblaster, and Appmates. Apps are everywhere!

I appologize if you think I am ignoring all the other thousands of conventional playthings on display at the Javits bazaar. So many applications on new playthings may merely be a show of the industry's reaction to technology so as not to diminish its reputation as a fad/fashion business and a business that does not want "to be caught with its trends down"! Look around...electronic devices are in everyones' hands, and they are hardly a passing fad. I saw a stat that claimed 52 percent of Americans 18 years and older spend 4 to 9 hours daily on such devices. It is doubtful that teens and under are far behind the digital fixation. This is the time for the industry to have applications apptached to plappthings. I just wonder if large numbers of our playful consumers will respond in big numbers and buy all the products at APPS R Us or in the tapps and gapps aisles at Target or Walmart? We'll know more by next NYC Toy Fair! Right?


  1. As usual, more insight. Thanks, Ron.

    A lot of apps. A mixed blessing as toy & game hardware converges to software for a single device. As with everything, including apps, oversupply can lead to greater choice; greater variety; increased innovation; acceptance of the best through market forces; but also negative issues such as profit reduction; consumer confusion and discontent, and diminished overall value. As an industry we live on innovation, so let's go guys.

    What's new?


  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.