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Hasbro figures successfully bridge mobile, real-world play

Hasbro has sold one million Telepods figures allowing kids to blend the physical and virtual by teleporting real-life figures into mobile applications.

Earlier this summer Hasbro launched its first line of Telepods for Rovio Entertainment and Lucasfilm?s Angry Birds Star Wars II, and it is gearing up for a new line of Telepods for Angry Birds Go!, a new Rovio app. When a child buys a set of Telepods, he can then access a feature within the Rovio app, place the Telepod on the device?s camera and teleport the Telepod into the app for play.

?Telepods is an exciting new platform launching with Hasbro's product line for the hot new app Angry Birds Star Wars II,? said Jeff Labovitz, global marketing director of Star Wars and Telepods at Hasbro, Pawtucket, RI.  ?Hasbro looks forward to delivering a wide variety of products featuring Telepods technology to create experiences that can live in both the physical and digital space.

?Telepods lets players ?teleport? your Angry Birds Star Wars figures into the digital Angry Birds Star Wars II gameplay experience, allowing players to choose which Rebel Bird and Imperial Pig characters to launch on each level,? he said.

?Telepods are also the first digitally integrated product line that can be played with apart from the app. Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods let kids launch their Rebel Bird figures in real life to destroy iconic Angry Birds Star Wars structures and topple the evil Pig Empire.?

Teleporting figures
Hasbro is currently selling the Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods Star Destroyer set, which comes with small figures that children can teleport into the Angry Birds Star Wars II app. The set includes figures of more than 30 Rebel Birds and Imperial Pigs characters.

The Angry Birds Star Wars app has a mode that users can access to teleport the figures. Users tap the Telepods icon, place the figure on the Telepods base that comes with the set and place the base on the device?s camera.

Then the mobile device detects which figure the child is using and the figure appears in the app. The user can then play the game with the figure as the avatar.

Each figure has a small code on the bottom that is magnified when placed on top of the Telepods base so that the device?s camera can read it.

Telepods users can also unlock new characters in the app as well as different superpowers.

When Angry Birds Go! launches on Dec. 11, it will also enable Telepods technology. Hasbro is already selling a new line of Telepods in anticipation of the launch.

Rovio is even integrating Telepods into its Countdown to Angry Birds Go! app, which is set to roll out in the end of October.

Physical meets virtual
These Telepods and their quick success point to a growing trend of blending real world experiences with virtual experiences.

Especially for children who are growing up in a mobile world, toys like these connect digital play to real-life play. The fact that they can hold a small figure and then see it appear on a mobile device blurs this line and creates a magic-like experience.

?Angry Birds Star Wars II marks the first time that Rovio has designed an Angry Birds game where players can customize their line-up of birds, and for the first time, pigs, as players can join the ?Pork Side,'? Mr. Labovitz said.

?Being able to change your line-up adds a new layer of strategy and fun to the phenomenally successful Angry Birds gameplay model,? he said. ?Although characters can be purchased to add to your line-up using in-game currency and micro-transactions, characters that a player owns as Telepods can be used over and over, and can be ?Teleported?  into the game once per level with no other limits.

?Plus, the actual experience of placing a character on the device and seeing it Teleport in is incredibly fun and easy.?

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York