During the Tomorrowland in-home press event held at Disneyland, I spoke with VP of Production and Content at Disney Consumer Products, Mike Goslin. Mike gave me the scoop about everything Disney Playmation and what we can expect from the innovative product. Check out the interview below.
Mike Goslin: So Playmation is a new kind of connected toy and wearable system. It recreates a play experience so you can join, in this case, the Avengers and have adventures with the Avengers. Basically you get to play as an Avenger in that world. The way we do it is using connected technology that allows us to kind of bring old school play to the twenty first century. We’re starting out with the Avengers which will be out this holiday season. We are giving kids superhero powers in the real world essentially. So I can put on Iron Man’s repulser and fire at a physical robot across the room. I’ll feel a kick on my hand as I fire, there’s lights strobing down my arm, I’ll hear the appropriate sound effects and the robot will shake and fall over, so I’ll feel like I’m doing it for real. On top of that, we build sort of like an RPG experience with missions. It’s kind of a new way to play and live as an Avenger in the real world.
Chris: How long does something like this take to develop?
Mike Goslin: The idea has been in development for several years now but really two years of intense development. A lot of people, a lot of time. It’s a significant effort but we are really excited about it.
Chris: You guys are starting with Avengers, it’s Disney, so everything is open. What else are you guys planning on doing next with Playmation?
Mike Goslin: We already announced Avengers is this year and next year is Star Wars and we are working on Frozen for 2017. I think beyond that, obviously it can almost apply to any world. We are still sort of exploring what’s next so I think there will be others as well. In addition, one of the nice things about this connected space is that we can update them with new content. So we will be releasing follow-up content and also more physical devices for each of the properties. So we will continue working on Avengers, putting out more stuff for that as well.
Chris: Will there be a phone app included with all this?
Mike Goslin: There is an app that is part of the experience if you want to update with new content it allows you to connect it to the Cloud but it is not required to play, so you can play for hours and hours of play time without connecting to the app.
Chris: What would you say the core audience would be for something like this? Is it all ages or just for kids?
Mike Goslin: We targeted kids six to twelve. We made the devices wearable by younger and also all the way up to adult because we think appeal very broadly and we think that parents may want to get involved in the play too. It’s an opportunity to play together. I think it’s really for kids and families.
Chris: Other than Playmation, is there anything else that you’re working on Disney wise?
Mike Goslin: We are already working on Star Wars and Frozen. In addition, this technology that we developed can also be used in other neighboring spaces. Perhaps something not so targeted to kids or around other properties. Just in general when you can start connecting the devices with everything around you, you can start telling amazing stories so we are going to also try to take advantage of that.
Chris: What would be your favorite part about Playmation?
Mike Goslin: I love having Iron Man’s repulser blaster. I’d love to have it around and just use it in general life (laughs). We joke about it but only half joking. We’d love to build a suit. I think the most rewarding part about it is seeing kids put it on for the first time cause their jaws just drop and it feels real. Our story is that Ultron is back and he’s got this overwhelming army of Ultron bots and the Avengers are getting overrun. What Tony Stark has done is started building this gear and is sort of recruiting other superheroes to join the Avengers to save the world. This has the idea of this isn’t a toy, it’s gear and it comes with training and expectation that you’re going to join the Avengers and help save the world.
Chris: Would you say the story is acting almost as a sequel or is just sort of a counterpart to “Age of Ultron”?
Mike Goslin: It’s not strictly a sequel, we are in the classic Marvel universe so we tap into the films and also elsewhere. We are trying to create hours and hours of entertainment and we want to be able to bring in other characters and also, Marvel is excited about the opportunity to let fans go deeper into the universe. A lot of kids today didn’t read the comics growing up so this is a good idea to see how rich and deep that universe is. We can go into in a way that they can’t go into it with films. We worked really closely with the Marvel story team.