Can AR tech revive ailing Toys R Us?

In addition to the new augmented reality activities that can now be had on their selected branches, Toys "R" Us has also revamped their online shopping website by encouraging customers to do more stuff with them other than just shop.

Augmented reality, which overlays computer-generated images on real world environments, sparked a worldwide craze with Pokemon Go past year, USA Today noted.

Toys R is trying augmented realty or AR to get out of bankruptcy.

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 United States starting today, with plans to roll out to all stores by October 21st. The question remains, though, why haven't other reeling bricks-and-mortar retailers like Sears used it to save themselves from online competition?

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The retailer plans on developing AR experiences that will be interactive in stores through an app. The AR experience will become available on all Toys "R" Us branches in the USA by October 21. "We believe that's going to drive a lot more traffic into our stores which will ultimately put us in a position where we can be more successful at growing our sales and our company". The room will act as a place for kids to play with toys and gadgets - with the help of a demonstrator - before purchase, much like the area in Toys R Us' popup Times Square holiday store. 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. Most of the stores now using the app now are in California, New York and North Carolina, Engadget said.

Toys R filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 18 as it had to pay off hundreds of millions in debt.

Those challenges predate the 2005 leveraged buyout, and the huge debt load has weakened Toys R Us' ability to adapt to a changing retail climate.