What it is
Silicon Valley startup Nukotoys’ new Nuko-powered products merge physical trading cards with tablet and smartphone gameplay. The first two products, which launched in August, are collectible cards that interact with new educational kids apps Animal Planet Wildlands and Monsterology when tapped to the screen of an iDevice. Nuko cards, which look, feel and bend like regular trading cards, are available in the US at Apple Stores, through the corresponding apps, and at Toys ‘R’ Us, Target and Walmart.
How it works
The free-to-play apps instantly import the cards’ content via an invisible electronic code when tapped to iOS touchscreens, rendering 3D versions of animals and monsters from the corresponding cards (US$1.99 for a pack of three, up to US$19.99 for a premium box) on the devices’ screens.
What it means
With Mattel expanding its Apptivity line this holiday season to include toys based on the massively popular mobile properties Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, Nukotoys is hoping to find its own success by tapping into the US$33-billion mobile gaming industry and the US$2-billion trading card market in one go. Having already won the tablet innovation prize at MobileBeat’s 2012 Innovation Competition, Nuko technology may be the best thing to happen to trading cards since Topps began including them in bubble gum packs decades ago.