HAKUHODO INC., Tokyo / SONY / 2020
Children these days spend more time playing video games and watching videos online, generally considered as passive experiences.
Sony Interactive Entertainment believes, however, it’s of greater benefit for children to exercise their ingenuity using their hands and minds, to think outside of the box and hit on with an aha moment.
So Sony Interactive Entertainment developed “toio”, an experiential robot toy platform, to give kids an opportunity, instead of just giving content, to create a game on their own through creating handcrafts and experiencing programming.
The campaign objective was to develop the first game software for toio and manage the overall branding, to ensure establishing the experience with toio as something that children can have creative fun with.
Our creative idea centers around teaching kids the joy of exercising their ingenuity through playing games when they are just about the age for starting online gaming.
With such focus in mind, we developed the first software “toio COLLECTION”, making it something between LEGO and regular console/online games, integrating both analog and digital qualities.
To integrate both programming thinking and robotic contests into it while making the experience an easy ride for kids, we used the motif of simple and traditional Japanese games such as marbles and paper wrestling to support their intuitive learning. This helps them enjoy exercising their ingenuity to create and move around their own hand-crafted characters in battles and puzzle shooting games.
For the brand color, sky-blue was chosen with the concept that we can make any place under the blue sky our playground.
The strategic challenge we had was how to communicate to kids and parents a new way to play: the joy of exercising their ingenuity through playing toio.
So in developing the first game software, “toio COLLECTION”, we considered two Japanese social landscapes:
Programming education starts in elementary school from 2020; Many robot contests are organized for high school/college students.
Our conclusion: toio COLLECTION should integrate both programming thinking and robotic contests to attract parents with school kids. The idea in mind was something between LEGO and regular console games, a perfect marriage of analog and digital. We developed five games in the motif of traditional kids’ games similar to marbles and paper wrestling to make their first encounter with programming an easy ride.
Five different games come with toio COLLECTION, developed by updating and upgrading Japanese traditional games such as marbles and paper wresting, to let children enjoy exercising their ingenuity and creativity when playing the games.
toio cubes, being in wireless connection with and controlled by toio console, work together with toio COLLECTION in tandem with digital functions: real-time geolocation system allows kids to move their toio cubes as they want, while the 6-axis positioning system works to judge who wins.
We also provided playing instructions on the official website with parts easily available at stores like 100-yen shops to allow users to keep updating the games and exercise their ingenuity to personalize their way of playing.
The overall branding started with a crowdfunding project 3 years ago until the official launch in 2019, with the vision that toio becomes a platform where kids always learn the joy of exercising their ingenuity.
Pre-orders were sold out and “toio COLLECTION” earned a 4.9 rating on the Amazon store. About 84 media outlets picked up the release event, equivalent to US$1,000,000 in media value.
Users posted their ‘toio’, decorated with their handmade characters on Twitter and a user-generated community was born where they showed off their crafts with toio.
The promotional event was very successful. Children and parents enjoyed the toio & toio COLLECTION, experiencing the joy of exercising their ingenuity through playing.
McCANN WORLDGROUP, San Francisco