The first product line in the Playmation brand is based on Marvel's Avengers, starting with a $120 pack of five connected toys built around Iron Man. The centerpiece is a wearable that slips onto your arm, and is designed to shoot and block shots like Iron man's "Repulsor Gear."
The button you press to shoot makes the glove vibrate. If you flip your wrist up, the light in your palm shoots as well. Hold your arm up in front of you to block, it'll vibrate. Lights will change colors if you're "shot."
The game also features a triangle-shaped plastic disk that delivers instructions to players—like how to control the gear, and where to run and jump with other players to execute a mission—in the voice of Iron Man's assistant JARVIS. Those disks can also shoot at players, and encourage them to run and duck to avoid being in the line of fire.
There are also two action figures—Captain America and villain Iron Skull—which are attached to the disks. When affixed, they light up, shake when shot at, and pop off and fall on the floor if shot repeatedly.
An app—AvengersNet—allows you to register your gear to see progress, get access to new missions, and learn about what JARVIS is instructing you to do—like rescue another Avenger in a jungle. But before you turn on the wearable device—or sync yours with a friend's, if you're playing with someone else—you must turn off the app.
The first product line is based on Avengers, but Disney said others are in development. A system built around Star Wars—imagine an interactive light saber—is scheduled for 2016, and a Frozen system is slated to launch in 2017. Each game will use different technologies, and different wearables, to work with the different ways kids play with favorite stories and characters, Disney said.
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I had a chance to demo the toy—and watch some kids playing with it—the day ahead of Disney's big unveil. While it's incredibly tough to describe, I was impressed by how different, and high-tech it feels compared to other toys that talk and shoot, and how it encourages you to keep moving.