Dr. Seuss Enterprises has commissioned mobile game studio Sugar Creative to produce a series of augmented-reality apps focused on helping kids learn to read.
Set to be released over the next few years, the first app, Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! based on a book with the same name (pictured), will be available on phones and tablets in spring 2020.
It’s Dr. Seuss’s first time incorporating AR technology into its IPs, and it comes as the company embraces emerging tech to grow its brands, president Susan Brandt said in a statement.
On top of stepping into the AR space, it’s been a year of experimentation for Dr. Seuss, which has been working to expand its brands into other new categories. In October, the company partnered with events producer Kilburn Live to create a 15,000 square-foot-interactive live maze. It also hired former BBC Studios VP Julie Dill as VP of global licensing, marketing and communications, with the remit of leading international partnerships and expanding Dr. Seuss into new CP territories. It grew its team further last month by bringing on longtime LEGO manager Tatjana Blanusa to secure new licensing partners and develop eco-friendly initiatives.
The company is jumping onto AR as a number of big brands are bringing augmented reality games back into the spotlight by trying to capitalize on the tech’s popularity this year. Earlier this year, the LEGO Group launched a series of playsets for kids that added a layer of AR, called LEGO Hidden Side. In May, Microsoft revealed it was taking its bestselling game Minecraft to the streets with the AR game Minecraft Earth, then the next month the interactive entertainment arm of Warner Bros. teamed up with AR gaming company Niantic to launch Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
Meanwhile, Sugar Creative is building up a portfolio of kid-skewing AR games and partnered with UK studio Aardman in April to build an immersive multi-user AR experience featuring Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit brand. Launching in 2020, Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up is being produced alongside game makers Potato and Tiny Rebel Games. It’s also developed the learning game Moe the Monkey AR for Welsh educational tech provider Evoke Education.