Spin Master is introducing Air Hogs Connect, a new AR gaming platform that blends the worlds of RC (remote control) and augmented reality, enabling players to command remote control (RC) vehicles inside deep virtual game worlds. Transforming your living room to a science fiction AR world, Connect takes RC play to a whole new dimension.
For the Air Hogs Connect platform, the first experience to be introduced will be the award-winning Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone, which delivers an immersive augmented reality gaming experience where you fly a physical drone in an interactive 3D digital universe to complete a series of missions. Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone melds the digital fun of augmented reality and gaming with the physical fun of controlling an RC device to deliver a fully immersive mixed reality experience. Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone is a product aimed at consumers 10 yrs. and up and will be available in specialty stores and online retailers this fall for $149.99.
“Spin Master’s new Air Hogs Connect platform brings a whole new experience to the toy world. We take core RC play, enhance it with augmented reality, and enable players to command physical RC vehicles inside incredible AR game worlds,” according to Nick Beliaeff, VP of Production at Spin Master Inc. “We intend to expand this platform to all kinds of RC vehicle/AR gaming products in the future, and will be introducing our first product for the platform, Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone, to consumers later this year.”
Air Hogs Connect puts players in the cockpit to lead and pilot the Mission Drone and a team of heroes, including Engineer, Firefighter and Commando, as they engage in search and rescue missions and challenges to save the world from attack by alien forces in levels of continuous gameplay.
Throughout each level, players rank up to unlock boosts and upgrades for their drone and heroes. They can also compete against their friends on live leaderboards. While the drone is charging, players can manage resources and train their heroes in the virtual simulator known as the Danger Dome, and also enjoy off-line game play while the physical drone charges. Mission Drone can also be enjoyed separately from the game, by flying in Free Mode.
Using a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) enabled mobile device and the free downloaded Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone app, players fly the Mission Drone over the customized AR mat, which uses visual and spatial tracking to create an advanced 3D augmented reality world. Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone uses a BLE connection controls the drone and its telemetry, a Blob Tracker uses the mobile device’s camera to track the drone’s LED lights in the real world, and a Control System maps the location of the drone in the physical world to the AR world. The primary use of the BLE connection between the drone and mobile device is for players to be able to use the in-app glass joystick to fly the drone. However, through this connection the app also gains complete control of all of the telemetry of the drone. This allows the app to do some mundane things like error message the player that one rotor is spinning more slowly than another and maybe they should take a look and see if there is a hair or some such thing in it. More importantly, it allows us to do some more magical things like when the player upgrades their engine in app to a peppier model, the physical drone will then fly faster than prior to the upgrade. It’s cool to see such a videogame trope like that manifest back into the real world.
AR scenes launch from the included mat and the mobile device acts as a lens allowing the player to view the mixed reality science fiction universe where the physical drone flies in a digital world that only the player can save.
Air Hogs Connect combines AR, gaming and RC to deliver an advanced augmented reality experience that you just can’t get from playing ordinary RC devices.
Enthuses Nick Beliaeff, “There are some RC products with an App component like WowWee and Sky Vyper. However, ours is the only one we’ve seen that offers a full platform for immersing yourself in flying a physical drone in an interactive 3D digital universe.”
Fans of RC who are looking for a new level of engagement with their device will love this. Spin Master Corp. takes traditional RC play and adds videogame depth to it. Rather than just fly around, players enter a science fiction universe where they can battle an alien invasion, complete missions, rescue civilians, put out fires, and deploy troops.
According to Mr. Beliaeff, “We see the opportunity as considerable. In fact, gamified drones/RC vehicles was one of the biggest new product trends at Toy Fair earlier this year. In addition, one of the biggest areas of growth in drone gamification is the integration of augmented reality, as we do in our product. For AR, the growth trajectory is considerable with analysts such as Digi-Capital expecting it to generate as much as $120 billion in revenue by 2020. We are very pleased to be at the forefront of bringing advanced AR technology to our vehicles with Air Hogs Connect, and see it as the next frontier for games moving forward. What’s unique about Air Hogs Connect is that it melds the digital fun of augmented reality and gaming with the physical fun of controlling an RC device to deliver a unique, fully immersive mixed reality experience that you cannot get with any other game or toy around.”
What’s key with any new product or technology is delivering an experience to consumers that’s unique, simple to use and fun to play. Air Hogs, which is a brand of Spin Master, has been pushing the limits of remote controlled play for over 17 years. The brand is long recognized for delivering award-winning RC drones, air and land vehicles and smart technologies that are innovative, easy-to-use and diverse, enabling kids of all ages and skill levels the ability to unleash adventures and experience the thrill of RC – again, thanks to AR. Employing AR was a natural progression, and the company brought in the best partners in the business to create a AAA experience. For the Air Hogs Connect platform, specifically, Spin Master Corp. worked with expert teams located around the world to develop the platform, including Hexblade in Copenhagen.
The growth potential for augmented reality (AR) in games is considerable – look at the success of Pokemon Go, in the first month alone the game has grossed $200 million in revenue. As the market starts to take hold with more successes and more consumer awareness, we see AR becoming the next big thing in games. We don’t believe AR will be confined to mobile video games, but as witnessed by Air Hogs, the technology will find new and unique applications for children’s toys, and other mixed reality experiences.
We believe AR has incredibly broad market potential and remain very bullish on opportunities for the technology across a number of entertainment and non-gaming applications in education, enterprise, medical, AEC, etc. All of these verticals could benefit from implementing augmented reality applications or AR-enhanced versions of existing software applications.
About Spin Master Corp.
Spin Master is a leading global children’s entertainment company that creates, designs, manufactures and markets a diversified portfolio of innovative toys, games, products and entertainment properties. Spin Master is best known for award-winning brands including Zoomer™ Dino, Bakugan Battle Brawlers™, Air Hogs®, and 2015 Toys of The Year, Bunchems and Meccanoid G15. Since 2005, Spin Master has received 63 TIA Toy of The Year (TOTY) nominations with 16 wins across a variety of product categories. Spin Master has been recognized with 12 TOTY nominations for Innovative Toy of the Year, more than any of its competitors. Spin Master is among a limited number of companies that not only develop and produce global entertainment properties, characters and content, but also monetize that content through the creation, sale and licensing of products. To date, Spin Master has produced six television series, including 2007 hit series Bakugan Battle Brawlers and its current hit PAW Patrol, which is broadcast in over 160 countries and territories globally. Spin Master employs over 1,000 people globally with offices in Canada, United States, Mexico, France, Italy, United Kingdom,Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia.
Spin Master Corp., founded in 1994, employs more than 1,000 people globally, and is based in Toronto. Spin Master Studios, which develops the Air Hogs Connect platform, is based in Los Angeles.
Spin Master is a publicly traded company, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange as TSX: TOY