Tag Archives: metaverse toys

Does The Impending Growth Of The Metaverse Threaten The Toy Industry?

Does The Impending Growth Of The Metaverse Threaten The Toy Industry?

Any further immersion of human beings into the virtual realm tends to create concerns and worries about whether that will negatively impact on the toy industry, which is a real-world consumer products business.

At this stage we don’t really know just where the Metaverse is going to take us, but we can presume that this is going to be yet another gigantic tech revolution. Facebook’s change of name to Meta is a serious statement from a company worth $500billion+ (at the time of writing). Tech companies across the world from the U.S. behemoths like Facebook, through to China’s mighty players including ByteDance, Tencent & Alibaba are researching, investing and acquiring to try to maximise their future participation in and profit from the Metaverse. So, we can fairly certainly predict that this thing called Metaverse is coming in a very big way.

But what does this mean for the toy industry? The first point to note is that despite the massive advancements in technology in the lives of children, despite the massive growth in screen time addiction and gaming time, the toy business has thrived nevertheless. How can this be? Surely children have less play time available to toys due to all their screen time, and surely they want to be gifted in the virtual realm nowadays? The reality is that children still love being given toys and playing with them, even if they spend less time with their toys versus past generations. For parents, toys are ever more important as they offer a potential antidote to screen time and aid their child’s development.

The nature of big technology companies is to build up huge data on users and general usage, and then to maximise the elements which create maximum usage and engagement. The Metaverse, in essence, is going to add additional elements of immersive virtual reality and interaction to what we already have. While children can have Netflix playing and still play with toys, it is less likely they will be able to be lost in a VR world and play with normal toys simultaneously, so that may represent a further loss in potential play time for toys, but toys developed specifically to be immersed in the Metaverse could be huge. We only have to look back to Activision’s Skylanders, which sold more than 170m toys to see the potential of toys immersed with a digital experience. No doubt there will be a company who absolutely cashes in on integrating toys with the Metaverse.

In conclusion then humans remain rooted in the real, physical world. There may be a future where we are fully lost in digital worlds like the Na’vi people in the movie Avatar, but we are a long way from that yet. Both children and parents value toys, and the more deeply children immerse themselves in virtual worlds, the more affinity they feel for the characters, worlds and brands they experience in the digital realm, which in turn can be expected to translate into sales of related merchandise, especially toys. Moreover, it is very likely that one or more companies will absolutely nail the execution of toys in and for the Metaverse. Overall then, the toy industry should view the Metaverse as both a threat and an opportunity – if we can keep on creating compelling and attractive toys, based on themes and characters kids love and exploring how toys can interact with the Metaverse, then we may be able to grow alongside.

 

We run a Consultancy business helping toy & games companies get ahead. For more information, check out www.KidsBrandInsight.com/services

We also run a Strategic Sourcing Consultancy advising toy & game companies around the world on their Sourcing strategies, reviewing their vendor base & suggesting improvements. To date our Sourcing services have saved our clients $tens of millions. For more information on how we can help, just go to: www.ToyTeamAsia.com

 

Facebook To Hire 10,000 People To Build The Metaverse: What Is It & Implications For The Toy Biz?

Facebook To Hire 10,000 People To Build The Metaverse: What Is It & Implications For The Toy Biz?

Facebook have just announced their plans to hire 10,000 people in the EU in order to develop the company’s offering in the Metaverse space. It isn’t just Facebook though, many other companies are working on the Metaverse, including other giants like Microsoft.

So, what is the Metaverse? Well as per usual, this isn’t entirely defined in an agreed way, but loosely speaking it can be described as a digital reality whereby people can ‘meet’ and interact with each other or with artificial elements combining social media, AR/VR and online gaming. (Wow that’s quite a mouthful).

In laymen’s terms think the Star Trek holodeck…but with more interaction with the outside world. Sounds kind of mind blowing doesn’t it?

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF THE METAVERSE

Many of the tech companies looking at the Metaverse are looking at social and work interactivity functionality. If we can already do Zoom or Teams meetings, imagine working in a 3d reality where concepts and physical renders can be shown, I guess this is where the Metaverse meets Iron Man – those scenes where Robert Downey Jr uses his hands on a virtual screen to move complicated diagrams and specifications around.

The one massive application of the Metaverse of course which may concern those involved in the business of Play is Gaming. Many of the companies looking at this space are working on delivering all-immersive gaming experiences. I remember trying out a VR Gaming headset in the mid-1990s, and frankly while it was very clunky it was also incredibly compelling. It also gave me motion sickness! It has been something of a mystery as to why VR/AR haven’t taken off more quickly and become more integrated into standard gaming experiences. The Metaverse promises to revolutionise gaming as those early VR headsets suggested was possible.

For those of us in the toy business, successful gaming normally takes away revenue and play time from our target market, so this is a big potential impingement on the toy business. Having said that though, the deeper the experience, the more affinity is felt to characters in games the more merchandise and toys sells. Physical gaming stores like GAME in the UK now have extensive amounts of this type of merchandise as they lose sales to downloads and need to find other physical products to sell which fit their consumer base.

Moreover though, let’s not forget that the bigger toy companies have these days morphed into entertainment companies, and should be well set to benefit from the opportunities presented by the Metaverse. Products which can be incorporated into the Metaverse could well become massive hits, think Skylanders but with much deeper interaction – WOW!

There will surely also be Metaverse movie releases to look forward to, with some degree of immersion and perhaps even interactivity possibly. Whereas 3d seems to have been a gimmick which came and went quite quickly in terms of mass popular adoption, the Metaverse is likely to be with us ongoing. Therefore, those of us in the toy business should be keeping an eye on developments going forward.

 

Our Managing Director, Steve Reece, works with a limited number of companies as a non-executive director, independent board director and as a board adviser. If you are interested in finding out more about this, just click here:

https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/board-advisory-service/