As part of my audience research, I decided to look at current toys on the market to see what is popular with kids as well as toys past and present that are similar to my project to see if it is a viable idea. Firstly I looked into industry figures to see if soft toys were even still popular at all with children. Finding that plush toys made up 19.8% of the U.K toy market in 2014 (EBSCO Publishing (Firm); Datamonitor (Firm), 2014), I decided to do some more on site research into toy stores to see what was popular as well as looking online. Firstly I went into toy stores to see what was on sale.
Toys from the gift shop in the aquarium.
noticed that soft toys were still very popular which is good for my project. I also noticed that small toys (that could be held in an adult’s hand) were popular as well. There was also a wide range of different animals for children to choose from which I think added to the appeal. However, from my observations, these toys were only popular with children below my age range, as I
When I was doing my research I realised the Tsum Tsum range of toys from Disney were very popular with tweenage girls. They are quite small, fitting easily in the palm of the hand, so perhaps that made them more appealing and less like toys for younger children. I found it was interesting that the toys didn’t need a whole body to be interesting with, the characters were easily identifiable by the head alone. In addition there was consistency created across the brand though the use of similar facial features. This style of character design is quite similar to the amigurumi style I explored earlier, therefore hopefully this will be popular with my audience. The range of characters also made them a collectible item, and I observed people buying several from a new range that was out.
Pokémon Pikachu is slightly different from more traditional portable virtual pets in that Pikachu does not need to be fed, watered, or cleaned up after. Pikachu only requires interaction and exercise to keep him happy. The unit is a virtual pet, but it also has a pedometer function built in. With every step the user takes, the Pokémon Pikachu will provide credits (“watts”) which can be used as presents for Pikachu. It’s not an exact science, but around eighteen steps on the pedometer will earn one watt.
A big inspiration for my project is one of my favorite childhood toys, the Pocket Pikachu. In order to become friends with the character you had to earn “watts” by accumulating steps on the pedometer. It really inspired me to become active and do it everyday. However I wanted to see what toys currently on the market as obviously that toy is now very old.
Geopalz a pedometer and an app marketed at younger children. I looked at customer reviews and a lot said that the product often broke, so this should be something I should keep in mind when making my product. It retails at around £20 which is similar to the price range I am hoping to achieve. The points children earn can be spent in the Club Penguin game, an online game for children where they can play mini-games using the points they have earned. The pedometer in Geopalz is very obvious and as my app is based around an older age range who may be more self conscious I will try to make the pedometer more conspicuous. I also want my app to be more character based so will probably feature a more virtual pet type of character in my app.
-(Ravensburger Digital GmbH, 2015)
An app similar to what I had in mind for the web part of the project is Origami Zoo, an app where by folding a paper animal children can bring it to life in game. By feeding and taking care of the the animals are made happy. I am intrigued by the mixture of physical making and digital content in the app. Perhaps I could include a kit where my users can accessorize or even make their own pedometer pal then see them in the game?
Disneystore.co.uk, 2015. Tsum Tsum | Disney Store. [online] Available from: http://www.disneystore.co.uk/tsum-tsum/mn/1503506/?&CMP=KNC-TDS-UK-G-Exa-Tsum+Tsum-Generic&s_kwcid=TC|1028693|tsum%20tsum||S|e|68204886422&mckv=s4X3juD57_dc|pcrid|68204886422|pkw|tsum%20tsum|pmt|e&gclid=CKvDmZyYs8kCFYcSwwod4WsFHg [Accessed 28 Nov. 2015].
EBSCO Publishing (Firm); Datamonitor (Firm), 2014. Toys & games in the United Kingdom (Online). Datamonitor 200, New York.
Kazemaini, J., 2015. The Virtual Pikachu That Didn’t Need Food, Just Affection. [online] Kotaku. Available from: http://kotaku.com/5872151/the-virtual-pikachu-that-didnt-need-food-just-affection [Accessed 28 Nov. 2015].
Geopalz.com, 2015. GeoPalz – Children’s pedometers – where kids walk to win free prizes and games. [online] Available from: https://geopalz.com/index_classic.php [Accessed 28 Nov. 2015].
Ravensburger Digital GmbH, 2015. Play-Origami Zoo. [online] Available from: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.stormcloudgames.paperzoo [Accessed 28 Nov. 2015].