Toy Companies Drive AR into Mainstream

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Last Updated on December 23, 2019 by Danielle


Toy companies are now starting to embrace the world of AR with digital components.

The Toy Industry Association named augmented reality (AR) the top toy trend for 2016. Toy companies are early adopters of the technology and are helping to drive its use. AR is not as immersive VR and acts as a digital layer enhancing or enabling what’s possible in real life.

A sweet spot for AR on phones and tablets is in the world of toys and games. Apps are designed for entertainment and education. In fact, many are starting to support STEM education. SmartGurlz is one such STEM-themed educational gaming app. It’s an experience tailored to girls with the goal of sparking interest in science and technology. Players learn to code and complete story-driven challenges.

AR is reinspiring learning and it truly is an exciting time. Kids lose interest in STEM because people have failed to generate excitement. You have to capture students’ imagination and then their curiosity, according to Reach Robotics’ CEO. This UK startup combines robotics and AR in the gaming sphere. AR makes it possible to make classrooms more interactive and engaging. It creates new means of visualizing complex information.

Some other examples of AR powered toys and games include Virtual Explorer Antopia Adventure, AirHogs Connect Mission Drone, and Skylanders.

The products and manufacturers that succeed in this space leverage technology to enhance the play value of their products. This ‘digital layer’ creates extra value to the overall business proposition. Nexo Knights was honored as one of the top toys at the London Toy Fair 2016. The AR portion of its gaming ecosystem depends on the expanded product line. Players unlock new features, powers, and game levels with other toy sets in the product line. And if it can drive additional purchases, that’s a good business model. It is sort of like the razor and razor blade – with the digital game representing the razor and the physical toys being the blades.

The digital component embedded within the physical toy allows for the establishment of a stronger narrative and solidifies the way toy companies market, engage, and sell its products. AR serves to enhance and expand toy company’s offerings.

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