- In 2021, Mattel partnered with WAX blockchain to introduce its Iconic Hot Wheels Garage brand into NFT.
- Pudgy Penguin has over 8,888 NFT collections, including real-world products and experiences ranging from live events to physical goods.
- Many toy-making organizations have utilized Web3 capabilities to advertise their products.
Web3 has brought about rapid change through its numerous capabilities. Over the years, its technology has transitioned from its initial application on Bitcoin to developing stand-alone decentralized applications applicable in various sectors. Hospitals, farmers, entrepreneurs, SMEs, and even banks have benefitted through the vast application of decentralization. These days, the trending topic has revolved around the critical main areas of Web3, namely, Cryptocurrency and its uprising, the metaverse, its foreseen demise, and the dire state of NFT.
However, we fail to realize just how vast the reachability of web3 truly is. Amid the chaos of the big three web3 applications, new trends have emerged, shining much promise to the ecosystems. Currently, web3 music, web3 gaming, and web3 toys have significantly enhanced the useability of blockchain technology. This article will focus on showcasing the process and the rudimentary alignment between the Toy industry and web3 technology via digital marketing and the growing rate of NFT toys.
The unique story behind Web3 Toys
Toys are generally a right of passage for most human beings. It has always played a crucial role in developing a child’s mind and is often a must-have component during their upbringing. We may all have different backgrounds, ethnicities, and geographic locations, but most of us share a standard memory of that single childhood toy many cannot forget.
Due to this consistent need, the Toy Industry is among the oldest franchises still dominating the global economy. According to the Toy Association, global toy sales in 2022 reached $107.4 billion, posting a 1.5% growth over 2021. At this point, toys have become an unsung necessity in any family, but this does not mean the industry hasn’t faced its fair share of losses. In the digital age, kids today have become obsessed with digital devices and their use.
These days, kids often ask for digital devices to access games over a new TV recently released. This rising trend threatened the very foundation of the Tpy Industry. In response, the entire franchise has recently turned to web3 as a solution and a way to keep up with the changing times.
The meeting point between Web3 and the Toy Industry.
Web3 technology has presented numerous abilities, but only a few have significantly gained the attention of organizations. Web3’s digital marketing capabilities and digital ownership are via NFT. These two factors have attracted many organizations, including the toy industry, which seeks to adapt to the changing digital era.
Many toy-making organizations have utilized Web3 capabilities to advertise their products. Keep in mind that Web3 digital marketing forgoes the complexities of its predecessors. This, in turn, reduces costs from the supply chain and allows toy makers to earn directly from the advertisements. In addition, the NFT world has also played a significant role in developing this new approach, leading to NFT toys. This strategy, accompanied by the vast reach of the metaverse, has significantly overhauled the profits of the toy industry.
Essentially, Toy companies digitize their toys and collaborate with gaming organizations directly among them within the metaverse to hook kids’ minds all over. Despite many claiming the end of the metaverse is nigh, its reachability and influence over children are still high. Its ability to provide immersive gaming experiences, Kid-based shows, and learning platforms has created a conducive environment for Toy companies to advertise their NFT toys.
Unfortunately, after the 2022 crypto crash, NFT took a significant blow, causing many to abandon the highly congested NFT marketplaces. Surviving merely on NFT toys was insufficient; thus, many organizations decided to give their digital collectibles a tangible touch.
The development of physical Web3 toys has become a rising trend. With the promotion of various metaverse platforms and the development of actual toys, the Toy Industry has recently experienced a significant boom in demand. Furthermore, different organizations like Cryptoys have incorporated additional features like AI Chatbots within NFT toys, allowing kids to interact with them.
By utilizing these features, the Toy Industry has developed Web3 Toys, allowing a dual source of income from the NFT and physical product sales.
Toy Companies developing Web3 and NFT toys
Below is a look at various organizations offering NFT and Web3 Toys showcasing the vast flexibility of blockchain technology.
Mattel’s Hot Wheels
Mattel, a renowned toy company known for its Hot Wheels Toy collection, broke new ground in 2021. With kids shifting from physical toys to digital devices, Mattel had no option but to adapt to the changing times. In 2021, Mattel partnered with WAX blockchain to introduce its Iconic Hot Wheels Garage brand into NFT.
Initially, the project aimed to mint 40 unique Hot Wheels Models as NFT Toys with a base price of $15, but they later shifted gears. Mattel works with Flowm, the platform behind the successful NBA Top Shot, to develop its new blockchain base.
Hot Wheels is a legendary toy collection popular among children and adults. Before the age of web3, it was a must-have toy among children, especially boys. With the NFT marketplaces opening new advertisements, platforms Mattel sought to target upcoming collectors of Hot Wheels smartly. To present a unique twist on the product, the organization offered the possibility of winning both the NFT toy and the physical car they represented. Mattel dropped its latest Hot Wheels NFT Series 5 collection in April 2023.
One of the biggest icons in the toy industry, Barbie, is a multi-million dollar franchise with its new line of clothes, movies, and brands. Under the aegis of Mattel and French Fashion house Balmain, Barbie has become a beacon for many children across the globe. It was only a matter of time before its completion winded up in an NFT marketplace.
In January 2022, Barbie stepped into the web3 franchise while being dolled up in Balmain’s chic designs. Both brands partnered to unveil a ready-to-wear collection, accessories line, and a series of Barbie x Balmain NFTs. This new line propelled its sales and presented new ways of endorsing fashion lines.
In May 2023, Barbie remerged, joining forces with the female-focused NFT collection Boss Beauties, launching a crossover NFT collection on Flow. This new release, dubbed Boss Beauties X Barbie collection, costs $25 for a pack of four collectibles. Mattel aimed this latest initiative to lower the entry barrier for Barbie fans in web3 platforms. Like Hot Wheels, Mattel offered a physical toy represented by the purchased NFT toy.
Hasbro’s Power Rangers
Hasbro, a leading toy and game company, followed suit and launched their famous Power Rangers collection into the NFT space. Hasbro PLus collaborated with the Wax blockchain to launch a limited edition collection, including the iconic Power Rangers Franchise. This announcement sparked a frenzy of activity in the toy industry and the NFT marketplace. One of its unique and most-sold items was its special edition, the darker titled Dno Megazord, which shot the organization’s sales.
With the rising trend of Web3 and NFT toy flooring, several toy-making companies rebranded completely to adopt web3 technology. Since 2021, Pudgy Penguines has become a beloved NFT Toy for many youngsters. It has over 8,888 NFT collections, including real-world products and experiences ranging from live events to physical goods.
Initially, the company ventured into the NFT marketplace to promote its digital products and utilize web3 technology to enhance its digital marketing. Unfortunately, the steady collapse of the NFT franchise proved too much of a risk to rely solely on it. The company CEO, Luca Netz, said, “Unfortunately, NFT revenue is not sustainable, and it’s not growable. Thus, the toys have made the company more sustainable. Secondly, we wanted to create an IP that transcends this ecosystem, and it is through physical products.”
To avoid sinking with the NFT franchise, Pudgy launched physical toys based on its NFT collections. This move soon gained plenty of traction and investors over time. In addition, Pudgy Penguins took a step further and provided digital identities for the various toys. According to Netz, “Every toy is an NFT that lives on the blockchain, and it is licensed directly from the holder. So every time one of those toys sells, they make a royalty in perpetuity.“
These are a few examples of the toy Industry interacting with blockchain technology to enhance its reach. Other include MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls, Funko’s Digital Pop! series, and WHP Global’s Toys R Us NFT collections.
Web3 Toys are still upcoming in the industry. Despite this, its ability to reside both in the physical world and digitally has revolutionized the idea behind toys. These recent milestones depict that we are still yet to fully exhaust the blockchain’s capabilities to redefine our current view of various sectors.