Mattel introduces the Hot Wheels ID, which allows children to drive their NFC-enabled hot wheels on the Smart Track platform and scan their collections in a free iOS app. In the app, which acts as a virtual garage, kids can track speed and laps via infrared sensors on the Hot Wheels Race Portal, which scans your cars and connects to classic Hot Wheels tracks. It sounds great for kids who like to track details and use cold, hard data to make claims whose car is faster.
Companies have been trying to find ways to keep classic brands alive by relying on digital components, but sometimes in a way that feels too forced. Anki Drive, another toy released as an exclusive Apple game, was a smartphone-driven racing game with a similar focus on statistics, but the company ultimately failed after it had never really found an audience, and Hot Wheels itself played (sorry) with technology integration in the classic range of racing cars, from a disappointing augmented reality game that only works with certain devices, to remote-controlled cars.
Robotics companies such as Anki and Sphero have, however, aroused an interest in toys that mix the physical and the digital, and it seems that traditional toy companies are now gaining ground. Hot Wheels id keeps alive at least the aspect of the physical game and complements this experience with virtual challenges and mini-games.
For children who already have Hot Wheels routes, they can easily use a phone or the Race Portal to scan the new ID vehicles with NFC chips on the underside to view the performance data of the vehicle save. According to Engadget this means that the app is not essential and children do not have to borrow their mother's phone every time they want to play, since the data can be transferred later. The advantage of the Smart Track Kit would be the included booster for starting the cars, which Hot Wheels calls the fastest and most powerful ever, and the ability to track distance and speed with the 16 Smart Track parts connected via USB.
The kit is available exclusively from Apple.com and the Apple Store. An Android version of the app will be available on Google Play on July 10th. Individual Hot Wheel ID vehicles cost $ 6.99, while the Race Portal, which includes two ID vehicles, costs $ 39.99. The Smart Track Kit, which comes with two identification vehicles, the Smart Portal and 16 rail pieces, costs $ 179.99.