Disney's new kids wearables look a lot more fun than those GPS trackers that keep little uns from straying too far from home.
Disney Playmation, which launches in Disney stores, Amazon, Best Buy, Toys R Us and others this week, is a new smart-ecosystem (think Disney Infinity but on heat) whereby a combination of smart wearable costumes, base stations, apps and toys create a virtual play environment for kids to get lost in.
The first franchise to get the Playmation treatment is The Avengers. The launch set, which just hit shops in the US and Canada for $120, combines Iron Man's Repulsor Gear (complete with Bluetooth and motion sensors) with a couple of action figures (Iron Man, Captain America), a JARVIS base station and the AvengersNet App (iOS with Android coming soon).
Additional Avengers Smart Figures - Hulk, Black Widow, Ultron Bot and MODOK - and a Prowler Bot robotic villain are sold separately.
The app throws out missions for players to complete and the figures are much more than models – they are smart enough to store data and teach other connected Playmation additions new tricks over time.
The toys communicate using gesture recognition, infrared, and radio frequency signals. You don't need a constant internet signal to play either; the idea is that the app will be useful on the go – although you will need to sync and register the kit using the web every so often.
Two player multiplayer is supported at launch but Disney states it will be increasing that over time.
As for accessories, there's the Home Base as well as a Gear Bag for carrying the figures around. The Repulsor Recharge Pack offers five hours of play on a single charge for the Repulsor and the Power Activator can get ten hours of play from its Recharge Pack.
Pre-orders opened on 7 July and anyone who pre-ordered will now be able to get their Starter Packs via a pick-up ceremony in Disney stores. In 2016 we should see a Star Wars collection hit the shops and, in between, a Frozen set should land.