Monday, 8 December 2014

How 3D-printed toys will work

I have a feeling that domestic 3D printing is going to be a real breaking change to the toy industry. Rather than having mountains of plastic rubbish in the house that gets used for a few weeks, broken and discarded, a home 3D printing system (with plastic recycling) can print off any toy you like, then take it back to be turned into something new or just restored if it was particularly loved. The toys that pile up in the corners of the room and are never used any more can be shovelled into the recycler to be made into new toys when the need arises.

So how will the toy industry adapt? Well, one of the most obvious steps is to sell toy designs for 3D printers. Rather than printing Turtle Man 07b from some knock-off download, kids will value having genuine toy designs from the original source. Yes, it will matter to them. Think back to your own childhood and try to remember if it mattered that the label on your clothes was genuine, that you owned a real Nintendo console or even that you ate brand-name cereal for breakfast. It matters to kids.

Selling printers and branded feedstock might matter, though possibly not as much. Particularly sinister companies might sell printers that are designed to sit and monitor the TV, only unlocking or downloading exclusive printer models if it sees the right ads. Basically, you have to watch our cartoon and all the ads if you want the cool new spaceship model for the week.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's going to be a different world.
PPS - But it's probably not going to be here for a while.

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