News Article

Meet LeapTV, The Wii Challenger in 2014

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Targeting the 3-8 year old demographic

The Wii was the first home console to successfully bring motion controls to the mainstream market, capturing the attention of consumers and selling over 100 million units. It naturally led to the arrival of motion controlled rivals, whether directly mimicking the Nintendo setup in the form of PlayStation Move or Microsoft's attempt at controller-free gaming with the Kinect.

As a craze it's certainly died away, however. The Wii U's focus is on combining motion controls with the various capabilities of the GamePad, Sony's Move is almost an irrelevance and Microsoft has reversed course from making Kinect 2.0 mandatory with Xbox One, to releasing a less expensive SKU without the accessory. The public's appetite for motion controls has dissipated.

That doesn't worry LeapFrog, however, the company that is best known for its range of tablet devices designed for young children. Experienced in producing gadgets with apps and features for 3-8 years olds, the company has nevertheless seen demand for its tablets slide, along with it share prices. Its response for the upcoming Holiday season is the LeapTV, its attempt at a game console for that young audience. It seems to blend ideas from the Wii — with motion controllers — and aspects of Kinect utilising the camera.

It should be clear that this is very much being branded as a home console experience — the system will cost $150 / £119.99, and there'll be games (including some with Disney brands such as Sofia the First) that'll sell for around $30. As a result it demands a fairly substantial investment from parents while, arguably, greater quality games can be picked up for less with a last-gen Wii; LeapFrog's angle is a focus on games with educational aspects, however.

Nintendo has recently emphasized that kids are an important demographic, and naturally LeapTV is a potential challenger ahead of the frantic Holiday shopping season. It seems unlikely that this LeapFrog console will have much impact on Nintendo's market, though the success of the company's tablet devices means it shouldn't be disregarded.

Whether LeapTV is mistakenly plugging motion controls after the craze is long over, however, will be for shoppers to decide.

[via bloomberg.com]

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User Comments (32)

HarryK

#1

HarryK said:

The commercial looks nice. I can see some parents falling for it. The "whole family" strategy of the Wii was important, though, so I don't think a "kids only" console can sell well.

And I'm wondering how many patents they will be sued over.

SpookyMeths

#2

SpookyMeths said:

Doesn't seem like it will upset the market too much. They might sell a few to parents of kids who ask for the Wii U for Christmas, and then parents see this $150 thing sitting on the shelf next to it and get that instead.

Stu13

#3

Stu13 said:

My niece used to have a LeapPad that she really enjoyed. That is, she did until I got her a 2DS last christmas. Haha! Take that, LeapFrog.

torotoid64

#5

torotoid64 said:

My brother had a disgraceful leapfrog, he now has a 3DS and has never looked back

TripleGamer3K

#6

TripleGamer3K said:

Ok.Wow.IT'S LIKE KINNECT + SCHOOL + WII SHOVEL WARE + ZONE 40 ALL IN ONE EXCEPTIONALLY BLAND PACKAGE.I mean bloody hell,Aren't teachers supposed to be teaching them these things?Or even computers.but a loving outdated game console?Also I didn't see anything educational in this "trailer". this is just for parents who want there kids to have fun,but don't want to get them a real game system.And i suppose that's good because some parents don't give a rat's donkey about what game there kid shoves in there ps3 or 360,as long as it shuts them up.with this they don't have to worry about their child buying some game they are not supposed to have like halo,cod,or any other game kids shouldn't be playing.But then again,why do i even care? :P

ryanator008

#7

ryanator008 said:

This will only appeal to really young kids. Kids so young that they wouldn't even be able to figure out a Wii U or 3DS. This isn't going to be any serious competition for Nintendo. The only problem is that I can totally picture a stupid Soccer-Mom buy this for somebody outside the range of 2-3 years old (the type that would enjoy this).

Marakuto

#8

Marakuto said:

My little sister got a handheld Leapfrog as a Christmas present back in 2011 and she adores it even up to now, but I hope to God my parents never think of this as the games on Leapfrog's systems aren't that intriguing to say the least which I'd opt to just suggesting an already released or even previously released console/handheld which can still appeal to the younger target audience with select games that have as much fun and value as these do.

I think Disney made a couple of Wii games through it's lifetime that would still be on sale in a lot of retail/online places with deals for 2 for 1 or something iirc.

Kirk

#9

Kirk said:

Yes...because only very young kids, and gullible parents, are going to buy into that marketing bull.

Flash enough buzz words in people's faces and someone's going to drink the Kool-Aid.

Naoiko

#11

Naoiko said:

My nephew had a leap frog w/e its called when he was 4, but by the time he was 5 he got a DS and has never looked back. I think their good for very, very small kids since the games tend to just be learning ones...but as a real gaming system? Nah. I don't think it's gonna hurt Nintendo's profits to much if at all.

KodyDawg

#12

KodyDawg said:

After Leapster and that short-lived Didj, I feel that Leapfrog ha gone downhill. I remember my original LeapPad (the one with books, not the new tablet). Good times...

Caryslan

#14

Caryslan said:

What cheap clickbait! Leapfrog is not trying to tap into Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft's market with this system. They are selling this as a educational system that gets kids active, like their other products! More than likely, this won't even be sold in the Video Game aisle, but rather, will be sold in its own department in the toy section.

People really think this is trying to steal Nintendo's market? Come on guys, you all must also think Plug and Play games and Sega's new Genesis consoles that have built in games are also a threat to Nintendo as well, huh?

I mean, there's a portable Genesis on the market right now! The 3DS must be doomed!

This is cheap clickbait of the highest order. This is a leapfrog product, which means its aimed at little kids and will target parents by touting how educational it is. It kinda makes us look bad when we are sitting here bashing this system, when its clearly not even going for the same market as Nintendo or the other big two.

It's not like Nintendo is pushing out Mario's Alphabet Adventure on the 3DS.

rjejr

#15

rjejr said:

@Caryslan - I don't see it clickbait (Damien writes all those), it's satire, like the Onion. Reread the title - "Wii challenger in 2014". Hes poking fun at it, It's harmless fun.

You are right about people bashing it for the wrong reasons though, this is for parents who bought their kids Leappads in the past who want their kids to be active. And at $150 it is more than the Wii Mini currently selling for $99 so I think it's relevant, same way that Ouya and Amazon fireTV is relevant. No, LeapTV isn't going to hurt Wii U sales any, but it's worth being in the discussion, if only to be dismissed as the joke that it is.

AVahne

#19

AVahne said:

Whut? I understand what market they're going for... But at that price? There better be a Tegra K1 in there.

Inkling

#20

Inkling said:

1 month later:

LeapFrog has filed bankrupsy due to Philips suing a hefty sum of money against the LeapTV

In all seriousness, this is very over priced. The Wii Mini is cheaper and better!

JacketsNest101

#22

JacketsNest101 said:

@TreesenHauser It certainly looked like one, but why was it only shown one time? I imagine there will be one included since these are children and kids can tend to be over enthusiastic when it comes to motion controls. Just imagining the lawsuits/angry parents because of controllers that were thrown into their tvs , is a tad bit frightening. Especially given that the Wii had the same issues.

Parasky

#24

Parasky said:

Motion controls haven't been relevant for about half a decade, so why release this dated rubbish now? I don't hate LeapFrog (edutainment is cool with me) but I feel like this has popped out of a time machine.

FJOJR

#25

FJOJR said:

Kids aren't that stupid once they get past 4 years old. The quality of the games will determine what they want. Uninformed parents on the other hand are susceptible to buy this. If I was 8 I would not want this after seeing anything on Wii U, Xbone or PS4.

FJOJR

#26

FJOJR said:

They should release their answer to the Virtual Boy while they're at copying past gen innovations.

The_Ninja

#30

The_Ninja said:

Coming soon to a internet near you : Leapfrog fanboys.
Seriously though, what kind of parent would buy this for their child?

CrabGats

#32

CrabGats said:

I'm sure it'll still sell. Not as much as the Wii, obviously, but I can see parents falling for this. It happens.

I'm surprised Nintendo doesn't embrace educational games with popular kids show characters, though. Not as a main focus, but it wouldn't hurt to have commercials early in the morning revolving around educational kid friendly games, as well as inviting developers of that... genre? Can it even be called a genre? All I know is that I thought Reader Rabbit and Math Blaster were cool as a kid, and that if Nintendo promoted stuff like this, it could potentially sell Wii Us to families! They have motion controls, they have a tablet controller... there's a lot of neat stuff you could do with educational games on the Wii U.

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