July 18, 2014
LeapFrog Enterprises plans to launch its $150 kid-friendly LeapTV game console this fall. The twist? LeapTV will debut with 100 games and videos approved by professional educators, those who ideally know what is best for children. The console will include personalization features and motion-sensing controls similar to those introduced with Nintendo’s Wii. Games will target children ages 3 to 8. At launch there will be nine cartridge titles offered, with additional titles available digitally.
Game cartridges will run $30, and downloadable games will start at $5. Additional controllers will cost $30, and the console touts built-in Wi-Fi and 16 gigabytes of flash memory for storing digital content.
“The new product is a bet that the living room console is here to stay and that LeapFrog itself has a shot to carve out the market for smaller kids who enjoy educational entertainment (or more for their parents, who want their kids to learn while playing games),” writes Dean Takahashi for GamesBeat.
“We are coming in at the younger side of the age range and are bridging the game between fun and learning,” said Dave Perkinson, VP of global content development at LeapFrog. “We will have the best educational games designed from the ground up.”
Takahashi suggests the big question is whether older children will want to play with devices more closely associated with teens, such as iPods, iPads, and consoles including the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Regardless, LeapTV will likely appeal to the parents of young children.
“Back in 2011, LeapFrog introduced its LeapPad Explorer tablet gaming system,” notes Takahashi. “But console makers haven’t addressed the early childhood market. Of 37,000 games rated by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, less than one-tenth of 1 percent are rated ‘early childhood.’”
For more information and tech specifications, visit the LeapTV product page.