By Reyne Rice, Toy Trend Analyst and Trend Spotter, New York, New York, USA
First posted on the YourToyCom.com blog forum and community website serving the toys, games and childrens’ technology industries, on behalf of the Spielwarenmesse. Spielwarenmesse is the leading and largest International ToyFair in the world, held annually in Nuremberg, Germany in early February.
As most of the Spielwarenmesse 2013 attendees and toy industry professionals have noticed, Toys 3.0- The Next Generation at Play- is a hot topic at this Fair and throughout the industry.
With the Special Area of the Fair Toys 3.0 The Next Generation At Play dedicated to this evolving and ever-changing category of products, both retailers and manufacturers can visit these exhibits to stay on top of these digital and tech trends. It is a snapshot in time perspective, since technology will continue to morph and change as consumer behavior changes. Hands-on demonstrations are located in one area, for your convenience in Hall Mitte.
Here is a review of the tech trends and products that are being launched at this year’s 2013 ToyFair:
Tablets for Kids: In an earlier blog post (see Dec 5 2012), I previewed the growing tablet market for kids. These tablets are designed specifically for kids, with ergonomic features, age-appropriate content, and most come pre-loaded with games, learning tools, apps, eBooks and parental controls. Some have Android operating systems, access to WiFi, cameras, and other tools built in. Examples include the Kurio from CIDE Interactive, Xplore MEEP from Oregon Scientific and the Storio 2 tablet from VTech.
Augmented Reality: New options in this emerging technology segment include the Fisher-Price create and Learn Cases for iPad for preschoolers that come with doubled-sided magic augmented reality cards for exploring, creating and learning. Olfacio cards from Cardamundi NV include an app and scent-recognition cards. Mix scents and create new hybrid plants with real scents! The Concept Car from Kosmos is a future car that can be built by kids, and then with the app, comes to life on the screen.
Robotics and devices gain S.T.E.A.M.: The newest version of LEGO Mindstorms EV3 is available, and comes with intelligent bricks, servo motors and plans to build five models in the box. 12 more model designs are available online for free, built by Mindstorm fans. RoboMe, from Sablon, is the ToyAward 2013 Toys 3.0 winner, and offers kids the ability to personalize and customize their robot with facial and speech features. Art has been added to the mix of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to change the STEM moniker to STEAM, in recognition that the Arts also built critical skills and imagination.
Games and RC Remote Control Vehicles: Many Games are available in a Lite version as Apps, and in a more developed version as physical game products. They include board games, dice games and more. Some new examples include iPawn games from Jumbo, Verzis from Identity Games and Dice+, from Q-Workshop, and multiple games from Hasbro including Monopoly CityVille. In remote-controlled vehicles, new examples include the SilverLit Mercedes Benz that not only uses a iDevice to control the racing action, but can also control music, piped right from the car’s dashboard. The DJI innovations Phantom plane has a built-in auto-pilot flight system and an aerial camera.
Hybrid Gaming and new hardware and Software options: The new category of cross-platform tech toys allows kids to use multiple gaming systems to tap into their play. Disney Infinity launches their unique gaming characters and video games at the Special Toys3.0 area of the fair, with favorite Disney characters, Don’t miss this demonstration. Sphero by GoSphero offers physical gaming products with an arsenal of 20 different apps, and more! New Activision Skylanders characters will be revealed within the next week, so stay tuned for more information!
These Toys 3.0 products are not yesterday’s re-incarnations. Most of Toys 3.0 products are innovations that are testing the limits, and this is exciting news!
There is a mind-bending array of options, and we will be discussing what consumers have told us about their personal Toys 3.0 technology usage for their children and their families, in the Toy Business Forum Toys 3.0, on Saturday, Feb 2nd, 2013, In Hall 4, at the Innovations Center. Entrance is free, and beginning at 1PM, we provide snack-sized sessions and fast-paced seminars, using great visual examples. We have the research results of a new exclusive, multi-country consumer research study that you can use, to measure future decisions for your own product directions.
Each day, we are blogging about different Key 2013 trends at www.yourtoycom.com to keep Fair-goers educated and to provide reasons for retailers to seek out new vendors. Products in each of these trend segments are discussed in detail, and specific examples are provided to illustrate the current and emerging trends and play patterns. We invite your comments and additions.
Tomorow’s Trend topic is: Creative Lifestyle: Trendsetters at Play