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Published: 9 Jun 2015

Disney Playmation: Augmented Play

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Playmation Avengers

Disney is aiming to create "an entirely new category of play" for the digital generation with Playmation – a range of toys that combine motion sensors and wearable technology with smart action figures, announced last week.

The Playmation toys lead players on missions that require them to run around, dodge and shoot. An accompanying app provides additional missions and saves their progress. Playmation is not meant to be played in front of a screen, but by running around and applying imagination, according to a statement on its website.

Toys can be used indoors and outdoors without internet by up to two players at a time, with larger group modes expected to follow. Unlike existing screen-tethered entertainment systems, Playmation brings cutting-edge technologies such as gesture recognition into the realm of imagination-based physical play.

The range will be available from October 2015, starting with an Avengers starter pack that will cost around $120, including an Iron Man forearm attachment, four smart toys and 25 missions. A Star Wars theme set will arrive next year, with a version from the Frozen franchise expected in 2017.

Playmation is likely to prove popular with millennial parents who favour unstructured play and are concerned about their children's rising levels of screen time. See Toy Worlds: Targeting Gen 'Me' for more on how advanced technologies – from 3D printing and speech recognition, to augmented reality and interactive storescapes – are enabling kids to both enjoy and influence their favourite toy brands.

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