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Indie developer Toca Boca continues to grow with open-play strategy

Despite its free-floating play philosophies, Toca Boca’s business strategy is far from adrift. The Swedish mobile development company spent 2015 re-affirming its leading position in an ever-growing children’s app market while evolving along with it, thanks to the launch of a New York-based video division.
“It’s been a good year and an odd year for kids digital media, but developers like us are coming through in a strong way,” says CEO Bjorn Jeffrey. “Services like Vine and Snapchat are producing and showing different types of video, and for kids, content can be as high-quality as what’s on TV. That’s a principle on how we are going to approach media.” With Sesame Workshop alum J Milligan at the helm as executive producer, Toca’s video service will launch in 2016 as a subscription app that offers a mix of acquired and original content. According to Jeffrey, the company’s continual presence atop app rankings around the globe, and its 100 million+ total downloads since launching in 2011, means its brand recognition is ready to bear the load of taking on the video space.
In fact, the importance of video has been evident in the marketing strategy behind Toca Boca’s newest mobile games. This year saw the launch of Toca Life: City and Toca Life: School, the company’s 28th and 29th apps, respectively. The former was created with the help of 10,000 requests from children following the success of 2014’s Toca Town, and both apps are in step with Toca’s mandate not to include in-app purchases or in-game ads. Even with its eyes on video, expect more open-ended toy apps like those in the Toca Life series to emerge from the company and its Toronto-based subsidiary Sago Sago through 2016.

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