Experientia report about the new ecology of play

One of my favorite design/foresignt/scouting company Experientia recently produced an insightful report about the latest trends in electronic toys and games. It's called "Play Today" (pdf, 4.7 mb, 71 pages) and is definitely a must-read for people like me in the game-research/industry. It's written by Myriel Milicevic with editors Jan-Christoph Zoels and Mark Vanderbeeken, both Experientia partners).

They present examples of board games, controller toys, electronic friends, educative missions and DYI worlds, location-based games, game activism and romantic encounter.

What is important to me is the underlying rhetoric behind that: 1) due to recent and expected technological advances, boundaries between the game and toy industry is going to fade, then some joint projects, complementarities will be possible 2) the game paradigm per se is more than the individual/system interaction and can be used for different purposes (learning, encounters, urban discoveries...)

Would this be enough to address the slumping sales problem?

Why do I blog this? What I really like in this report, and it's one the approach I am always mentioning when I do seminar about game/toy trends, is the convergence between different industries/domaine: game companies (editors and development studio) and toy company. That is why I like the fact that the report address this issue with no boundary between video games, game controllers, electronic toys and so fort. As they say, it's about "mixing media, mixing worlds".

This is also interesting from the cultural anthropology viewpoint and it makes me think about the work of Mizuko Ito: see for instance her paper about kids participation in new media: a tremendously lively ecology of "media culture" is nascent, based on some media convergence (video games, trading cards in her case), personalization and remix as well as hypersociality of exchange. This Experientia report is really about this new ecology of play which as less distinct boundaries than previously thought.

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