Connected Play Landscape grows 150 per cent as Collabsco reveals its 2019 outlook

The Connected Play Landscape is on a clear path of evolution, expanding a full 150 per cent (year to date 2018) to span upwards of 262 companies that now straddle the worlds of physical and digital play, according to research conducted by the tech-toy space specialists, Collabsco.

One year on from the premiere unveiling of extensive research into the connected play space in the pages of ToyNews, Collabsco founder, Valerie Vacante has unveiled its 2019 outlook on the space that continues to diversify and expand with additions such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, AR, and Virtual Reality.

Reflecting the growth of the digital-physical play sphere – highlighted late last week with Mattel’s entry into the field of NFC and digital with its Hot Wheels id – Collabsco’s Connected Play Landscape also spans developing areas such as wearables, NFC, Radio Frequency Identification and Voice Assistants, as well as looking at how technologies are being implemented in EdTech, Makers, Social, Locatin Based Entertainment, and more.

“Our goal is to educate, collaborate and inspire the industry and future leaders by uncovering emerging technologies, real-world consumer insights, business growth opportunities and collaborative partnerships to create experiences that ignite imagination, create a sense of wonderment and shape the future of play,” said Valerie Vacante, founder and managing partner, Collabsco

The connected play landscape was designed to provide a single, consolidated view of the companies and collaborators breaking barriers through the emerging technologies and the power of play.”

Currently, the highest area of growth has been in augmented reality (18.5 per cent increase), followed by IoT (10.4 per cent) with Robotics, Makers, EdTech and Location Based Entertainment (9.6 per cent).

Wearables (6.9 per cent), NFC/RFID and Voice follow (6.2 per cent) with social (3.1 per cent) and new category with “Let’s Play” (2.7 per cent) rounding out the landscape.  

According to research, connected play and smart toy revenue is tipped to grow by almost 200 per cent to $18 billion by 2023, while consumer robotics will reach almost $23 billion a year by 2022. Augmented reality is expected to reach over $280 billion in the next four years.

As Vacante reveals 2019’s Connected Play Landscape, the research has been met with praise with some of the toy industry’s biggest and most innovative players in the connected space, including the likes of Hasbro and WowWee.

Rich Mazel, senior director of global product acquisition at Hasbro, said: “At Hasbro, we are committed to reinventing invention. As we look into the future, we’re interested in new ideas from new voices; Collabsco’s Connected Play Landscape provides us with an expansive view of the industry and potential collaborators to evolve our portfolio and bring the world’s best play experiences to life.”

Meanwhile, Davin Sufer, chief technology officer at WowWee, added: “A really comprehensive view of the entire space. As this very exciting world of product and experiences evolves it’s easy to miss a new entrant or a new offering.

“The Connected Play Landscape encompasses early stage efforts, well established incumbents and everything in between.”

“Love how it’s organised and grouped, and this will certainly be a go to as we look at new product plans, opportunities for partnerships and evaluate the competitive landscape.”

Reach ToyNews’ exclusive feature on the Connected Play Landscape and the evolving sector in the June issue of ToyNews.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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