Following on from its LeapPad tablets, LeapFrog is introducing the LeapTV games console specifically for younger kids. The new system is designed to encourage learning through active play, and will have access to a library of over 100 educational titles.
Aimed at 3-8 year-olds, the LeapTV has been designed to be easy to control. It uses a simple UI and audio instructions (for those who haven't mastered reading yet) along with a combination of a Kinect-esque motion-sensing camera and Wii-like motion controllers to put children into the games. This allows three modes of play, Body Motion, Pointer Play, and Classic Controller.
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In Body Motion mode, the motion-sensing camera incorporates a child's movement into the game as they dance, jump and kick. Pointer Play games use motion controllers and their LED pointers to convert movement into gameplay, similar to the Wii. Meanwhile, in Classic Controller mode the transforming controller is folded to resemble a more traditional games controller with an analogue stick and buttons.
The LeapFrog LeapTV, connects to a TV via HDMI, and is capable of outputting HD 720p footage. The motion-sensing camera attaches via USB and the motion controllers use Bluetooth. While the console can use game cartridges, it also boasts 16 GB of internal storage, along with Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port, for downloading games and apps from the LeapFrog Learning Library, which is where most of the 100-plus games will be found.
This brings us onto the game selection. While users shouldn't expect to play the likes of Mario Kart 8 on the LeapTV, there will be faces and brands familiar to anyone under the age of seven, and their parents. That's because many of the educator-approved games use characters like Disney's Sofia the First and Jake, of Never Land Pirates fame. There will also be games featuring the gang from Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Spiderman and LeapFrog's own library of characters.
The main focus of LeapTV games is the educational element. That could mean gamers using movement in sports games to answer maths questions, or controlling characters while learning about reading or science. LeapFrog says the games can be set to offer children the right level of challenge for their age or level, and will then automatically adjust as they get better.
The LeapTV system will be available later this year (in time for lists to Santa) for a price of US$150. Game cartridges will set you back $30, while downloadable games and apps start at $5.
You can check out the LeapTV in the promotional video below.
Product page: LeapTV