LeapFrog Hops into Console Space with LeapTV, First Educational and Active Gaming System

It’s been a rough summer for Nintendo. First, Sony’s console sales exceeded Nintendo’s, breaking a decade-long winning streak, and then Philips won an important patent infringement case against Nintendo related to its Wii U controllers. Now, Nintendo is facing a new competitor in a segment of the game console market that Nintendo has traditionally dominated: games for kids. The challenger is LeapFrog, which announced its new LeapTV console today.

LeapFrog's new LeapTV console, geared towards kids ages 3 to 8. It has a motion camera for active games.

LeapFrog has been making LeapPad educational tablets for kids for years, and while the move from mobile devices to TV consoles is the opposite of what other game manufacturers have been doing of late, the move makes sense: LeapFrog has plenty of experience creating games for kids, and today’s consoles are generally better fits for older kids than the preschool set that LeapFrog caters to.

Let’s be clear: the LeapTV isn’t a challenger to the PlayStation or Xbox One, which are more likely to appeal to older kids. LeapFrog is targeting kids ages 3 to 8, and it designed the console for kids who haven’t played video games before.

LeapFrog has kept hardware specs close to its chest, but we know that the system will come with a motion-sensing camera, the console itself, and a controller that is designed for small hands. The console will have 16GB of memory and an HDMI port for connecting to the TV.

Interestingly, the controller can be transformed into a pointer for certain games that rely more on motion than buttons. LeapFrog plans to have the console out in time for the holidays. The console will sell for $149.99 and game cartridges will go for $29.99.  Thanks to Wi-Fi connectivity, you’ll be able to download apps for the console, with prices starting at $5. LeapFrog expects to have a library of more than 100 titles available at launch.