Monday, August 03, 2009

The End of Online

Most online games are played on a computer or video game system. The rise of these systems as a source of entertainment has supplanted TV, toys, sports, and traditional play as the primary source of entertainment for a lot of kids. The conventional wisdom, from the President on down, is that kids need to get off the couch and go play outside. I don't have a problem with that, at all.

My prediction: As being online gets cheaper and easier, smart toys will start appearing that making playing outside as cool or cooler than sitting on the couch. Off the top of my head:
  • Bats, balls, gloves, and sporting goods we haven't thought of that automatically record your stats and measure your records against your friends, and the world at large.
  • Action figures that allow kids to take part in grand adventures, shared by other kids all over the world.
  • Geo-cache style park games, played by individuals, small groups, or as part of a larger world-wide campaign.
These ideas are mostly 'old-toys-only-better', which means I'm certainly off the mark. The idea that people need to be sitting on the couch to get play benefits from the online world is just old fashioned thinking. Once smart toys are priced competitively with dumb ones, a new brand of old fashioned play will return in a big way.

Who wants to sit in from of that stupid screen all day, anyway? It doesn't *do* anything!


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