Barbie’s Latest Gig? Web3 Huckster

Barbie’s Latest Gig? Web3 Huckster

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Photo: Patrick T. Fallon (Getty Images)

Mattel, the toymaker behind plastic classics like Barbie and Hot Wheels announced it’s partnering with the NFT platform “Cryptoys” to create playable, customizable NFTs. If you, for some reason, happen to be on the fence about luring kids into the metaverse with their favorite toy brands, this story’s probably not for you.

The announcement, first reported by Fast Company, will see Mattel sell its toys as NFTs which can then be used on the Flow Blockchain. On the platform, users can personalize their avatars and eventually create their own custom-made games, Fast Company notes. These characters will reportedly grow and adapt over time, much the same way as an early 2000’s Neopet. Unlike Neopets though, Mattel’s Cryptoys’ NFTs will officially start out age-restricted to users over the age of 18, though the platform will reportedly offer parent-controlled wallets for younger users down the line.

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Mattel, founded in 1945, apparently sees Web3 as one of several new playgrounds in the future.

“No doubt about it, the playground is expanding,” Mattel President Richard Dickson said in an interview with Fast Company. “We want to be at the forefront of that evolution of toys in both the physical and digital worlds.”

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“Our business leads us to wherever the consumer is, and that includes the metaverse and NFTs,” Dickson added.”

Neither Mattel nor OnStudios immediately responded to Gizmodo’s requests for comment.

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The Cryptoys platform, for its part, describes itself as a, “next generation of toy that live on the blockchain.” The digital Cryptoys come in “CryptoyCubes,” an interactive unboxing experience that the company says is “unlike any other,” but looks an awful lot like video game loot boxes. Players (or metaversers?) opening their CryptoyCube will apparently be greeted with a new, random Cryptoy, each of varying degrees of rarity. Those Cryptoys can then be personalized with NFT hats, shoes, and other accessories as well as upgraded with talents and abilities. Cryptoys’ platform, developed by OnChain Studios, claims to have financial backing from tech investor heavyweights like Andreessen Horowitz.

This isn’t Mattell’s first adventure in Web3. Last summer the company announced it would create three Hot Wheels NFTs to put up for sale as digital art pieces. Since then the company has issued similar NFTs based on its Barbie brand.

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