When Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy protection last month, retail juggernauts like Walmart and Amazon were cited as the reasons behind the company’s woes. Now, in efforts to try and attract more customers to its shops and add a technological edge like its competitors, Toys R Us has released an AR app that lets users interact with its stores. AR has seen a surge in popularity thanks in part to a wave of new iPhone apps developed with Apple’s ARKit. Toys R Us is hoping to ride that wave.
The app, called Play Chaser, works by scanning signs scattered across each Toys R Us shop, which unlocks content like mini-games and other play experiences. They include virtual basketball where a hoop appears on the device’s screen, an interactive feature with the company’s giraffe mascot Geoffrey, and a baby nursery. Players can earn in-app currency (called stars) by completing quests and games. They can also compete with other players locally, or nationally in some games, via an in-app leaderboard that tracks scores.
The app might inspire some to visit their local shop. But the limited features feel a bit gimmicky unless Toys R Us can keep updating or releasing fresh app content. Play Chaser is free and being tested in 23 stores across the US starting today, with plans to roll out to all stores by October 21st.