Leave it to a toy company to play the digital game. Rather than roll over and die, Toys ‘R’ Us is betting on augmented reality to bring itself back from the dead. I’m sure you all read that the retailer just declared bankruptcy.
Many of my family and friends were already crying the blues for the retailer that was once a major part of their social life, especially with their children. Eliot, Whitney and I would drive to the Toys ‘R’ Us in Douglaston, Queens, from Manhattan. to spend our Saturday afternoons. Eliot would run to Legos, Whitney to Barbies, and I would be walking the aisles looking for other friends who were visiting the toy store at the same time.
Those were the days, long before the Internet. No one wants to go shopping anymore. People spend hours online searching for their dream buys. The days of hanging out at Toys ‘R’ Us are long gone.
At least I thought so. Then we all got a big surprise. The retailer has just announced Play Chaser, a free augmented reality app that turns stores into virtual playgrounds. All you have to is point the app at the star icons all around the stores and you can play games and win prizes.
Geoffrey the Giraffe, is still around and will be playing games with you and your children and grandchildren.
A company press release says Play Chaser is currently in 23 stores in California, New York and North Carolina. However, it should be available across the country as of October 21st
The New York Times recently did a story about the refinancing of Toys ‘R’ Us. After you read it here, you might be more hopeful for the future of bricks and mortar.