Jakks Pacific turns to consoles with Kinectimals

Posted by Mike Luttrell

As a move to make its way into the more profitable console world, Jakks Pacific has struck a deal with Microsoft to begin creating special plush animals for the Kinect game Kinectimals.

It will be a new venture for Jakks Pacific, which is mostly known for its plug-and-play TV games that don't require a separate game console. Its first wave of Kinectimals plush toys will include five animals and come out next spring.

Toys R Us currently packs in a cheetah stuffed animal in its copies of Kinectimals, while GameStop has a maltese tiger. Anyone who bought the game anywhere else, though, only has the disc, but it was always in the cards to turn Kinectimals into a full-fledged merchandising opportunity.

They're more than just adorable little cuddly toys, though. By "scanning" them into the Kinect camera, those animals are brought to life in the game.

For Jakks Pacific, it's an opportunity to get into the console business. "We are excited to launch an interactive product based on one of the Kinect for Xbox 360 launch titles and pioneer a new way of gameplay," said Jakks executive VP Jack McGrath.

For Microsoft, it's a way to make Kinect games even more of a realistic experience. "Our goal with 'Kinectimals' was to create a game where players could form a strong emotional bond with animals, so we thought it would be a great extension to have a physical version of our adorable cubs that people could take home, play with and collect," said Kinect studio manager Jorg Neumann.