Disney has long been at the forefront of pushing boundaries when it comes to kids and their interaction with imaginative toys and experiences. The Disney Infinity toy/game hybrid series has been doing extremely well these last few years, and of course, Disney’s theme parks themselves are essentially one big immersive experience. Now, the company is ready to make another leap: Playmation, wearable smart technology that they hope will blur the lines of gaming and imaginative play all the more.
Part cosplay, part independent storytelling, and part “Tag,” Playmation looks to take the “physical movement recorded via sensor” approach that Microsoft’s Kinect has made popular lately (but cool boxing and police-academy video games in arcades were doing for years prior). The first Playmation set is scheduled to hit stores this October – just in time for the holiday rush, hooray – with pre-orders starting up in early July. The first pack will be Avengers-themed, leaning heavily on Iron Man and Captain America in the core pack with other Avengers available to buy separately; Disney says that future sets are already planned for Star Wars and Frozen.
According to the press release: “Playmation is purposely not tethered to an Internet connection so players can run around and explore each adventure from anywhere they want – a bedroom, living room or yard.” It sounds like this will be a standalone system, not a game that has to be play in your preferred gaming console. Disney says the Starter Pack will cost $120.
The entire Disney press release is included below. What say you, faithful reader: does this sound like something that you – err, your kids, pardon – would be interested in playing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Dreamed up by a team of technologists, Imagineers and storytellers from across The Walt Disney Company, Playmation is the culmination of extensive research into the world of play. A new third party study commissioned by Disney reveals that parents feel nostalgia for the way they used to play growing up and that they also have a desire to keep their kids active. The study also found that children enjoy being active—yet at the same time, they have a growing appetite for technology-infused products.
The online study of 2,000 families across the country shows that while almost all parents believe in the power of active and creative play, they believe technology is also an important part of growing up today. In fact, 9 out of 10 parents are open to new technology that could play a role in keeping their child active.
“The study highlights a major opportunity to meet the needs of both parents and kids with a new way to play,” said Kareem Daniel, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Development. “Playmation uses technology to make active, physical play even more fun. It puts kids at the center of our stories in a way we’ve never been able to before.”
Playmation also marks a new chapter in Disney Consumer Products’ long-term partnership with Hasbro. DCP and Hasbro collaborated on physical product design and manufacturing of Playmation. Hasbro’s record of innovation and consumer insights make them the perfect partner to ensure that Playmation is a truly ground-breaking play experience.
“This is classic play for the millennial generation,” said Jim Silver, editor in chief and CEO of TTPM. “Playmation takes the role play category to a new level of engagement with their breakthrough interactive play. It is the entry point into a new category of toys that bring digital experiences into the real world. With Playmation, Disney Consumer Products is going to raise the bar in the world of play.”
Playmation Marvel’s Avengers is the first in a series of systems in development around Walt Disney Company franchises, and will hit shelves this October. At launch, the Playmation Marvel’s Avengers Starter Pack will include five connected toys: one piece of Avenger Gear (Repulsor), two Power Activators and two Smart Figures – a Super Hero (Captain America) and a Super Villain (Iron Skull). Getting started is easy, strap the high-tech Repulsor Gear onto your arm (it fits adults, too!) and listen closely to JARVIS as he takes you through the tutorial on how to control your new Gear, inspired by Iron Man technology. Other Playmation Marvel’s Avengers connected toys that work with the Starter Pack will also be available separately for purchase at launch, with more on the way.
Also available at launch, is the AvengersNet app where you can register your Avenger Gear to see progress, explore additional locations and characters, and get access to new missions. New recruits to the Avengers can fight Marvel Super Villains including Ultron, Iron Skull, Loki, or join fellow Avengers Super Heroes like Black Widow, Falcon and more as they battle to save the Earth by running, jumping, ducking and dodging – whatever each challenge requires.
“With Playmation Marvel’s Avengers, the very best of Marvel storytelling is infused into every aspect of the system to further spark imaginative, active play,” said Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer, Marvel. “Playmation offers kids a dynamic way to interact with their favorite Super Heroes – I wish it was around when I was a kid!”
Playmation Marvel’s Avengers uses familiar technologies including smart toys, wearables, wireless technology, motion sensors and more, but applies them in ways that are completely new to create an experience that’s never been possible before. The Repulsor Gear connects with the Power Activators and Smart Figures to take you on a variety of adventures through locations around the Marvel Universe, from the Avengers Lab in New York to the jungles of Wakanda. Playmation is purposely not tethered to an Internet connection so players can run around and explore each adventure from anywhere they want – a bedroom, living room or yard. With multiplayer modes, recruits can sync their Avenger Gear to tackle missions and combat arenas together, or face off in competitive play.
The Playmation Marvel’s Avengers Starter Pack will have a suggested retail price of $119.99 and will launch in October 2015 in the United States and Canada at mass and specialty retailers, select Disney Store locations and DisneyStore.com, and will be available for pre-order starting July 7.
Star Wars and Disney Frozen systems are currently in development for 2016 and 2017, respectively. Each will use a range of technologies to create a system based on the different ways that kids play and experience their favorite stories and characters from that franchise.