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Toys R Us launches AR app to drive footfall into struggling stores

Play Chase being trialled in 23 US locations before going national later this month

In a bid to win back customers and halt the debt spiral, retailer Toys R Us has released an augmented reality game.

Partnering with UK-based developer PlayFusion, the studio behind toys-to-life game Lightseekers, Toys R Us is looking to transform its failing stores by encouraging customers to make the pilgrimage in order to play the game.

The retailer, which operates 1,694 stores internationally, filed for bankruptcy protection last month announcing that is has more than $5bn in long-term debt.

Play Chaser is free-to-play and has no microtransactions, meaning all hope rests on the idea that the app will turn Toys R Us into a destination. Users who download the app will be able to interact with points around the store to play games and earn currency.

Play Chaser is currently being trialled in 23 US stores with a view to go nationwide on October 21st.

Nicole Hayes, senior corporate communications manager said: "We are clearly all about bringing our stores to life and making them a place for kids to play... We also know our customers want more than just a place to shop. They want something different, like experiences and toys out of the box."

With physical retailers everywhere struggling, Toys R Us joins GAME in its bid to turn stores into a destination. Last year GAME rested its future in the hands of Belong gaming arenas, now boasting 18 locations across the UK.

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