Microsoft Tag® and Build-A-Bear Workshop® Bring Plush Bears to Life through Kinectimals for Xbox 360

Microsoft_Tag_Buildabear_1There’s a new game in town, and it’s sure to be on the wish list of kids across the country and around the world. Adding to the popularity of the interactive Kinect game series, Microsoft Tag® technology is literally going wild with Kinectimals. Kinectimals began as a jungle cat interactive adventure, and has been joined by Kinectimals: Now with Bears, featuring Build-A-Bear Workshop plush toys, each with its own Microsoft Tag that can bring the animal to life on the screen.

The Kinectimals game begins when the player selects one of several breeds of jungle cat or bear. After that, the player interacts with it in various ways through motion control and voice commands. Kinect technology does not require a manual controller; rather, the game-player’s body, hands, voice and facial expressions control the sequence of action and gives kids an interactive experience with the animals. To see a demo video, visit www.xbox.com/kinectimals.

Kinectimals: Now with Bears is the newest addition to the Xbox 360 Kinect series. In partnership with Build-A-Bear Workshop, select stuffed animals sold in all Build-A-Bear Workshop stores and at buildabear.com® can be “imported” into the new game. These bears are Kinect-enabled via a Microsoft Tag. Each bear has a hangtag that features a Microsoft Tag, Microsoft’s proprietary version of a QR code, or 2D bar code. Microsoft Tags can be black-and-white or full-color, including custom images, such as in Build-A-Bear Workshop’s application. Within the photo of the specific animal is a code that identifies the bear by name, color or other characteristics. The Microsoft Tag’s code is then activated when scanned by the Kinect sensor’s camera, which will then render the bear in Kinectimals.

In addition to being read by the Kinect sensor, the Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Microsoft Tag can be scanned with a mobile phone to experience a mobile game with the virtual bear. The free mobile Microsoft Tag Reader app is available for download from gettag.mobi.

The Build-A-Bear Workshop collection that are now Kinectimals, each accompanied with it's own Microsoft Tag, are Champ – A Champion Fur Microsoft_Tag_BuildabearKids™, Colorful Hearts Bear, Endless Hearts Teddy, and Peace & Hearts Bear. Microsoft Tags are linked to data stored on a server, resulting in a robust online experience. Participants can update the content any time without having to change the Microsoft Tag.

Kinectimals was developed by Frontier Developments, a UK-based game company, and was introduced at the Microsoft E3 Entertainment Expo in 2010 with an interactive game featuring the wild cats. The Microsoft Tag enabled Build-A-Bear Workshop bears joined Kinectimals on October 11, 2011.

Kinectimals: Now with Bears, activated by the Microsoft Tag, are available at all Build-A-Bear Workshops, but only a few of their stores carry the actual game console. The Xbox 360 with Kinect is available at most big-box stores, specialty gaming shops and through the Internet. Expect the little ones (and maybe adults, too!) to ask for this special toy for the holidays.

Build-A-Bear Workshops, with corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, was founded in 1997 and has grown to include 400 stores worldwide. For more information visit www.buildabear.com or call 877-789-2327.

For more information on Microsoft’s Kinematics, visit  http://www.xbox.com/en-US/Kinect?xr=shellnav.

For more information on the proprietary Microsoft Tag, see www.tag.microsoft.com


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