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Toytalk targets wider audience, rebrands as PullString

Kids no longer the sole focus as Pixar vets' interactive entertainment startup moves into emerging chatbot market

ToyTalk, the interactive entertainment company founded by veterans of Pixar, has rebranded as PullString Inc. as it seeks to broaden the audience for its technology.

The technology on which the company is built focuses on language processing and AI to simulate conversation, with applications in a range of products, from video games to physical toys. The company closed a $15 million series B round back in December 2014, taking its lifetime funding past $30 million.

At that time, it was targeting the kids market, but the company has changed its name and branding to suit a change in strategy. Specifically, it's adopting the name of its core technology platform, PullString, while ToyTalk will continue its focus on younger demographics as a distinct brand within the the larger company.

According to a post on the Pullstring blog, a key motivator is the, "rapid emergence of the chatbot marketplace." The company is working towards releasing the Pullstring platform as a commercial product for, "chatbot developers and companies to create and host entertainment, customer care, and brand experiences on communication and messaging services such as Skype, Slack, and Facebook Messenger."

More information on that release will be announced soon, but Pullstring has just released a conversation-based narrative game that illustrates the potential of its platform: Humani: Jessie's Story, featuring dialogue authored by Pullstring's creative team, under the supervision of its chief creative officer, former EA and Linden Lab executive Rod Humble.

Humani: Jessie's Story is available now, and playable via Facebook Messenger.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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