Microsoft toys with itself, again

GeekWire logoA week ago, Microsoft launched its “playful learning” initiative with great fanfare, promising to tie Kinect and the Xbox 360 to, among other things, Sesame Street. It was, Microsoft claimed, a first in making kids’ educational television interactive.

Well, sort of. It had been done before. Nearly fifteen years ago. By Microsoft.

Over at GeekWire, my latest Practical Nerd column recalls the steps and stumbles of the Microsoft ActiMates interactive “early learning system,” a combo plush toy-wireless transmitter tied to broadcasts of the PBS shows Barney & Friends, Arthur and Teletubbies. Toys were discontinued. Lessons were learned.

Read the Practical Nerd column on GeekWire, “Microsoft toys with itself, again.”