Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Disney's got toys that play back

Disney’s goal: Use wireless systems, motion sensors and wearable technology to strike a balance between what children want to do (tap screens and play video games) and what parents would prefer (more running around).

The Walt Disney Company unveiled a resulting toy line on Tuesday called Playmation, which will arrive in stores in October. For about $120, an “Avengers” theme starter pack will include a red Iron Man “repulsor” glove that players wear on their right hand and forearm and four smart toys, including two action figures.

Used together, the parts lead players on villain-destroying missions — run, duck, dodge, jump, shoot. A related app provides access to additional assignments and powers. “It’s physical play for a digital generation,” Thomas O. Staggs, Disney’s chief operating officer, said in an email.

Analysts who have had the opportunity to scrutinize Playmation said it could solve a puzzle that had largely stumped the traditional toy industry: What if toys could play back? The answer could ensure the relevancy of companies like Hasbro and Mattel — and Disney — to future generations of children.

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