With their country’s birthrate declining and video game industry booming, Japan’s toymakers are taking a new approach to help bolster business - redirecting a bit of their attention from the kiddie market to focus on grown-ups. From R/C helicopters with infrared rays to model Ferraris equipped with turbo acceleration, toy producers like Tomy and Taiyo are putting more thought and money into toys for big kids to be sold at slightly more grown-up prices.
As Reuters points out, these not-just-for-kids toys “play to [adults’] childhood nostalgia as well as their love of high-tech” - and aim to reinvigorate an industry that saw a 6.3% decrease in revenue in the last year. We talked about Tomy’s i-SOBOT last month, a remote-controlled mini-bot that comes equipped with grips and a gyro sensor to stay balanced which Tomy expects will be a holiday hit in the adult market. And while big kid toys are priced above most children’s, technological advances have resulted in cheaper production and more reasonable price points, especially for toys like the once pricey robots. As Yamato Goto, spokesman at Tsukumo Robot Kingdom (a robot retailer in Tokyo) told Reuters: “You can build a robot for less than 100,000 yen ($870) now that can stand up, walk, do push-ups, back flips and dance.”