Get Connected: Will connected play surpass toys-to-life?
When we first revealed Lightseekers back in October 2016, the appeal of the Toys-To-Life genre was beginning to wane, writes Mark Gerhard – co-founder and CEO of PlayFusion.
While LEGO Dimensions was still going strong, Disney Infinity had closed its doors along with Avalanche Studios. Elsewhere mobile games were growing bigger than ever, with millions of kids logging on to apps like Clash Royale and Pokémon Go every minute.
At PlayFusion, we knew the time was right to debut our flagship project, that would bring the next generation of play to the market.
Lightseekers is the world’s first holistic, mixed-reality entertainment platform, and while that might sound like a lot of jargon, what this means is bringing together the disparate types of media we all consume to form a cohesive and uniquely engaging experience; true ‘Connected Play’.
Toys-to-Life is a very one-dimensional experience. You put your Spider-Man figure down, it reads the serial number from the NFC, he appears on the screen and you move on and play your game.
With Connected Play, we start from a synchronous experience, thinking not only how the figure can affect the game but also how the game can enhance the figure and accessories.
With Lightseekers, the smart figures you buy becomes not only your character in the game, but also the game controller, which in turn interacts with the Augmented Reality enabled Collectable Trading Cards to provide extra items, pets, characters and boosts in the game.
With Connected Play, players can get new content for a game they love to play, without having to pay real money for simply ones and zeroes in a database, while parents can rest assured that the child is playing with something that has depth, longevity and complexity.
Toys-to-Life has this stigma attached – that the category is getting smaller, and this is totally true for current NFC-based technologies. As more entrants came into the market they started eroding each others market share and entirely oversaturating the space.
When Skylanders first kicked off it was a real innovation, but then it quickly became the same thing year after year. That plateauing has come from the lack of innovation, and all these people doing the same thing. We believe we are creating a graduation product from what is currently out there.
The important thing is the kids and parents alike think that it is fun and fundamentally that it’s both magical and delightful to them. When you compare the toys that my generation played with to those of today, there is far greater focus on technology and interactivity that’s something that all toymakers should actively consider.
Moving past Lightseekers, we believe that the mixed reality technology platform we have developed here can serve as a innovative platform for the industry at large.
Our hope is that PlayFusion will be powering many future generations of other people’s smart toys and entertainment experiences.