Mobile apps and games now occupy children from a very young age. In addition to consuming New Media, more and more children are becoming New Media producers and makers. There is a great deal of evidence showing that toys which allow players to build and create are gaining much more traction. Lego, for example, has gained a huge market share, earning $2 billion in the first six months of 2014, beating the earnings of Fisher-Price, Mattel and Matchbox.
All these things came together in my mind recently, leading me to think about the possible future for action figures. I was at the opening reception for the new studio for my fiancé’s place of work, Youth Digital. After working in game design for years, Meg now teaches game design and app design to children as young as eight. Others at Youth Digital teach 3D modeling, animation and 3D printing to children and teens.
As I made my way through Youth Digital’s new space, I came face-to-face with examples of their 3D printing. 3D printers are becoming more common and more accessible to the general public. The quality of the printed output continues to improve, and 3D printing is more accessible to casual and hobby designers, especially as companies such as Shapeways spring up to provide 3D printing services and a marketplace for 3D designs.
[Tweet “In which Harold goes to my work party, but is actually thinking about action figures the whole time.”]