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Disney announces Playmation: Next generation smart toys

by Roy Choi | June 2, 2015June 2, 2015 2:20 pm PST

Show Press Release

Disney Announces Playmation – The Next Step in the Evolution Of Play

Connected toys and wearable technology come together to put kids at the center of the world’s greatest stories from Disney, Marvel and Star Wars.
Glendale, Calif. (June 2, 2015) —Today, Disney Consumer Products (DCP) introduced the world to Playmation – the next step in the evolution of play, where digital gets physical and imagination becomes real. The groundbreaking system of toys and wearables uses smart technology to inspire kids to run around and use their imaginations, as they become the hero or heroine of stories from across The Walt Disney Company.

“Innovation and creativity are the driving forces behind Disney, and our goal is to inspire children to unleash the power of their imaginations through the stories we tell and the experiences we create. With Playmation, we’re taking the next step in that tradition – bringing the worlds of play, storytelling, and technology together – in a new and very exciting way,” said Leslie Ferraro, president of Disney Consumer Products.

She continued: “Playmation takes the best the digital world has to offer and uses it to create supercharged, real world play. This is play updated for today’s kids – bringing their imaginations to life as they go on active adventures alongside their favorite characters.”

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 Disney1 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.

For more information, visit www.playmation.com.

Connect with Playmation on social:
YouTube.com/MyPlaymation
Facebook.com/Playmation
Twitter: @Playmation

1 Source: Third party research of Parents of kids 6-11 and Kids 6-11, conducted by Ipsos, April/May 2015

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About Disney Consumer Products
Disney Consumer Products (DCP) is the business segment of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) that delivers innovative and engaging product experiences across thousands of categories from toys and apparel to books and fine art. As the world’s largest licensor, DCP inspires the imaginations of people around the world by bringing the magic of Disney into consumers’ homes with products they can enjoy year-round. DCP is comprised of three business units: Licensing, Publishing and Disney Store. The Licensing business is aligned around five strategic brand priorities: Disney Media, Classics & Entertainment, Disney & Pixar Animation Studios, Disney Princess & Disney Fairies, Lucasfilm and Marvel. Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) is the world’s largest publisher of children’s books, magazines, and apps, igniting imagination through storytelling in ever-inventive ways. DPW creates and publishes books, magazines, eBooks and apps both vertically in-house and through an extensive worldwide licensing structure. DPW is also committed to the educational development of children around the world through Disney Learning, which includes our flagship learning brand, Disney Imagicademy, as well as Disney English and other Disney-themed learning products. The Disney Store retail chain operates across North America, Europe and Japan with more than 350 stores worldwide and is known for providing consumers with high-quality, unique products. Disney Store operates ecommerce channels in nine countries, which can be found here. For more information, please visit Disney Consumer Products www.DisneyConsumerProducts.com.

About Marvel Entertainment, LLC
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy-five years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information, visit marvel.com.© 2015 MARVEL

About Hasbro, Inc.
Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) is a global company committed to Creating the World’s Best Play Experiences, by leveraging its beloved brands, including LITTLEST PET SHOP, MAGIC: THE GATHERING, MONOPOLY, MY LITTLE PONY, NERF, PLAY-DOH, TRANSFORMERS, and premier partner brands. From toys and games, television programming, motion pictures, digital gaming and a comprehensive lifestyle licensing program, Hasbro fulfills the fundamental need for play and connection for children and families around the world. The Company’s Hasbro Studios creates entertainment brand-driven storytelling across mediums, including television, film and more. Through the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, including philanthropy, Hasbro is helping to build a safe and sustainable world and to positively impact the lives of millions of children and families every year. Learn more at www.hasbro.com and follow us on Twitter (@Hasbro & @HasbroNews).

 

On Tuesday Disney announced Playmation, a next generation smart toy system that combines wearables, Bluetooth, cloud computing, and motion sensors wrapped up in its own universe. It mixes one part video games and one part physical play all under the guise of donning armor or attire of a child’s favorite hero or heroine.

The core idea of this new toy platform is to bring a new way for kids to play out or reenact moments from their favorite movies. Disney Consumer Products president Leslie Ferraro adds, “Playmation takes the best the digital world has to offer and uses it to create supercharged, real world play. This is play updated for today’s kids – bringing their imaginations to life as they go on active adventures alongside their favorite characters.” What child doesn’t want to be the super hero (or villain) and play make-believe with their friends? 

Disney is looking to be on the forefront of the next generation of playtime toys that mixes technology and creativity. We’ve already been introduced to Disney Infinity, Nintendo’s amiibo, and even VR, like Hololens, that aims to update playtime to next generation tech.

Marvel’s Avengers will kick off Playmation as the toy’s first series this fall for $119.99. The first start pack will include five connected toys one piece of Avenger Gear (Repulser), two Power Activators and two Smart Figures (Captain America and Iron Skull). Apparently the Repulsor Gear will fit adults too, just saying. To get started, just listen along to JARVIS to tell you what to do and you’re on your way.  Other Marvel’s Avenger (Ultron, Loki, Black Widow, Falcon, etc.) toys and accessories will be sold separately. All your play activity is registered through the AvengersNet app where you check your progress, explore new maps and obtain new missions.

Star Wars and Disney Frozen systems are already in the works and will be available in 2016 and 2017, respectively. 

What do you think? Is this the next generation of play? Will gameplay jump beyond the screen and into the environment around you?

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Roy Choi

Roy Choi is a Southern California native. He has been infatuated with technology reviews ever since he bought his first crummy laptop in the summer...

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