The Rise of Internet-Connected Toys

The Rise of Internet-Connected Toys

More and more toys are connected to the Internet.

Today’s kids are playing with toys that are Internet-enabled. These toys teach new skills, inspire creativity, and teach them about their world. According to the NPD Group, a market research company, the market for toys is experiencing growth, with an estimated 7% sales growth across 11 major global markets. License! Global, a licensing industry publication, is predicting that connected toys will be a major trend this year and some of the best christmas toys of 2016.

Some examples of these connected toys include Robo Mama’s Kitchen set and Sphero BB-8, an app-enabled toy. With widespread Internet usage and the pervasiveness of powerful technology, there is a desire from toy creators to create new and engaging ways to play.

About 5 years ago, toy designers decided to update traditional wooden blocks with LCD touchscreens and location-based sensors to create a new updated version of Sifteo Cubes. Sifteo’s design combines both physical play and virtual gaming and this trend quickly caught on soon after.

Interestingly, that very same year, Activision introduced Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. Eventually, the Toys To Life category exploded and saw new entrants from Disney, Nintendo, and Lego. In fact the latest toys to life games are some of the best PS4 games for kids. LEGO Dimensions brings dreams to reality by bringing its bricks to life. Perhaps the coolest aspect of LEGO Dimensions is the ability to build your own toy and watch it come to life in the virtual world. Each different construction serves a unique purpose.

Anki Overdrive is another classic seeing a 21st century makeover. This is a modernized take on slot car racing, which was popular in the 1960s. Now with a smartphone app, kids can customize their Anki Overdrive car, whereas previously kids could only control the speed of their car.

Connected toys come in all shapes, sizes, and forms and they encourage new types of participation that were not possible simply a few years ago. Positioning an action figure on a magical portal allows users to watch it come to life in a virtual world. A kid in the 80’s would roll around R2-D2 and now they can magically utilize their smartphone to control BB-8. This is a real game-changer and it provides kids an opportunity to make choices and visualize the impact of their choices. These new internet-connected toys help children become more familiar with the technology that will shape their future.

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