Technological Advancement and the Toy Industry
Technological advancement has resulted in major changes in the way of living. The effect of the trend is not only evident in the ways of communication but also in toy designs. The toy industry has significantly changed over the years with a reflection being noted on the toy designs and the ways the user interact with them. Toys and games production once implemented minimal technological sophistication. Prevalently, old toys did not require technical manipulation since they were handmade. However, this is no longer the case in the current digital age as technological advancement has positively influenced the toy industry with a further positive impact being noted in the society. With the advancement in technology, toy designs have also undertaken a new turn where the newly established toys are more than just a source of entertainment for kids.
Technology has transformed the toy industry for the better. During the traditional times, toys required minimized technological manipulation as parents took the initiative of hand-making them for their children. During the 19th century technology begun to find its way to the toy production industry whereby sophisticated toy designs started to dominate the toy market (Cross 13). Doll makers greatly benefited from the bisque techniques and doll clothiers that utilized the dye technology to come up with a more advanced version of the toy. Despite this, the manufacturers did not depend more on the technology since the creativity required in generating the toy designs depended majorly on the designer and marketing efforts other than technology. After all, toys were regarded as simple objects at this point.
During the late 1970s, electronic games began making their entry into the toy industry, thanks to the microchip technology. With the advent of the electronic games, the toy industry was majorly affected with some companies going out of business while others were transforming their business strategy to remain in business. For instance, around this time, Simon game came into being. The Frisbee-shaped object proved to be the most popular game at the time. In 1972, video games such as Sega, Nintendo, and Xbox among others found their way into the market further affecting the toy industry negatively. In 1983, a whole video game system was introduced by Nintendo. With the help of the Japanese technology, the games were provided with 52 colors, realistic sound, and a high-speed action. In 1989, Gameboy came into existence. Gameboy is a handheld game system that functions under the power of a battery. Later in 1995, Sony Company released the first model of play station in the states.
It is a commonality that the advent of the microchip technology negatively impacted the traditional producers by creating a new breed of manufacturers and toys. The nature of play has also been affected by the technological advancement with the new types of games requiring children to remain indoors unlike in the traditional times. Broadband and internet technology in the 21st century has also ensured further changes in the industry with the establishment of computer games with a multiplayer online gaming functionality.
Science has changed the toy industry by introducing more sophisticated toys in the market with better designs. For instance, through science, toy manufacturers have been able to establish toys that achieve some functionalities. For example, in 2006, Nintendo Company utilized science to produce Wii video game. The generated game was the first interactive video game to be produced that encouraged the users to engage in physical activity (Brill 94).
Additionally, through science, people can engage in multiplayer online games as long as they are connected to the internet technology. The multiplayer games provide the user with the ability to interact with other players over the web from the comfort of their homes.
Having knowledge of how science and technology have impacted the toy industry, it is easy to identify how traditional toys compare to those of the current digital age. Toys from the past were made from different materials from the ones used in generating the toys in the current age. Incidentally, old toys were made of tin, wood and lead while the toys in the current age are mainly software generated. Technology also forms a basis of the differences between the two set of toys from a different period. It is a fact that toys in the current day and age are more technologically manipulated unlike those of the past. For instance, the internet and broadband technology have resulted in the development of online games unlike in the past where the creativity behind the toy depended on the creativity of the designer rather than technological manipulation.
The mode of manufacture also forms a basis of the difference noted between traditional toys and those of the current digital age. It is evident that traditional toys were mainly hand made without any form of technological manipulation. For instance, parents could easily make a ball from waste papers without having to seek any technical services. On the other hand, new toys in the current age are mainly manufactured in factories with the help of sophisticated technology. Moreover, the safety standards associated with the use of the toys from the different time periods outlines their differences. For instance, toys from the traditional times are known to be less safe compared to those from the current age. It is a fact that old toys are made from unsafe materials with poor finishing defined by sharp edges in some toys. On the contrary, new toys are known to have strict safety rules meant to promote the security of the toy and that of the user.
If I were to redesign one of my toys from childhood, I would inflict changes on my toy car. I would change the general design of the toy to ensure it has an interactive interface that could allow me visualize it on my computer screens and even compete with my friends over the internet.
The establishment of the new toys in the current digital age has recorded both positive and negative effects of the environment. With the new toys being more technologically driven requiring individuals to stay indoors, the rate of environmental pollution goes down. Apparently, it is highly unlikely that children will engage in littering the environment as they are more likely to spend their time indoors playing video and computer games. On the other hand, the new toys require technological manipulation during the process of manufacture. The move results in the release of chemicals that have a significant negative effect on the natural system on a worldwide scale.
With the advent of the new toys in the market, the established global impact is discerning. Incidentally, children are increasingly becoming addicted to the new toys in the market, particularly video games. As a result, most of the children are neglecting important responsibilities and spending too much time on their computer screens and games. As a result, the children grow up being excluded from their family members because they do not have time to spend together as a family. As a result, the aspect of strong family ties is eroded which a change being noted on how people observe family time. Additionally, with the increased amount of time spent on video games, children are less likely to spend more time reading or completing their assignments as required. As a result, the future generation is likely to be dominated by lazy and uneducated persons who will not have the requisite knowledge of how to manipulate the world systems to make it a better place to live in. Moreover, toys are regarded as a reflection of the society (Forman-Brunell 1832). With the significant changes in the toy industry, it’s hard to acknowledge the fact that toys still resemble the world view as the new toys in the industry are controlled by virtual games.
With the influence of science and technology to the toy industry, various economic impacts have been noted as a result of the trend. For instance, players within the toy industry that have invested in the new toys have foreseen an increase in revenue generation with a reflection being noted on the amount of income generated by the industry. Incidentally, during the close of the 2015 financial year, the total amount of revenues generated in the United States was calculated as $77.35 billion (Toys & Games Industry Profile: The United States." 16). Furthermore, the fact that technology is implemented in the manufacturing of toys in the current digital age has foreseen an increase in the number of jobs development. In support of this, reports show that an estimated 493,914 jobs have been created by the toy industry generating over $24 billion in wages for the workers in the United States. The move has also played a considerable role in benefiting the government economically. Evidently, the Toy Industry in the United States generates approximately $10 billion in tax revenue on an annual basis. The presented figure includes that of federal taxes estimated at $5.63 billion and that of state taxes valued at $ 4.36 billion ("Toys & Games Industry Profile: United States." 24).
In summary, science and technology drive the current age. Incidentally, with technological advancement, significant changes have been noted on the toy designs. Childhood toys and modern day toys greatly vary based on make, safety, materials of manufacture, and modes of production. Science and technology have resulted in the establishment of toy video games that require children to interact with other players on an online basis and stay indoors. On the contrary, the old games required children to engage in outdoor games playing with hand-made toys. The advent of the new toys in the toy industry has recorded significant economic impacts such as increased job creation, increased revenue generation, and increased taxes. Looking at the environmental impact, it is prevalent that manufacture of the new toys requires the use of sophisticated technology and chemicals with an effect to the environment.
"Toys & Games Industry Profile: The United States." Toys & Games Industry Profile: United States (2015): 1-37. Business Source Complete. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.
Brill, Pamela. "The Push For Plush." Gifts & Decorative Accessories 115.10 (2014): 94-98. Business Source Complete. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.
Cross, Gary. Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood. Boston: Harvard University Press,1997. Print
Forman-Brunell, Miriam. Made to Play House: Dolls and the Commercialization of American Girlhood, 1830–1930. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993. Print