Childhood obesity, increased psychological difficulties, trouble with peers, and irregular sleep patterns are just some of the identified outcomes of too much time spent in front of a screen for kids. Unsurprisingly, the hours spent playing video games are linked to an increase in food intake and surge in weight, which is just one reason why Disney’s new Playmation gaming platform is groundbreaking in the way it combines classic play patterns and technology.
Disney Playmation is a system of connected toys and wearable technology devices that communicate with each other, encouraging active play away from a screen. As Disney explains, “Playmation is the next step in the evolution of play, where digital gets physical and imagination becomes real.”
The games are based on Disney’s big hits, like Avengers, Star Wars, and Frozen. For the Avengers kit, for example, a player will put on a glove and be guided by a narrator who encourages him or her to run, jump, hide, and conquer — just like a real life action hero would do.
At a product demonstration in California on Tuesday, young participants became out of breath during play, proving the product’s ability to “inspire kids to run around and use their imagination.” Disney explains the toys and wearables use a combination gesture recognition, infrared, and radio frequency to work. The only time function is spotty is when being used in direct sunlight, but players are encouraged to get mobile and take the game out of the house.
The suggested retail price for the initial package is $120, which could be a rather small price to pay when considering the benefits of active, collaborative play and reduced screen time for children.