The Play Industry; Who’s In and Who’s Out?

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I recently wrote a piece, “The Toy Industry Is Dead,” that announced:  "The Toy Industry is dead; Long live the Play Industry."   What is the Play Industry?  Simply put, anyone who sells play as an end product, whether the tool is digital or
physical, is competing for the consumer’s dollar and time.

I concluded that a failure to recognize that fact would take the toy industry down the same track followed by the railroad industry in the 20th century.  They thought they were in the railroad business until they found out  that they were in the transportation business.  A fact that that their real competition, truck, plane and automobile companies,  fully understood. 

But
what kinds of play products and platforms should be included in the “Play Industry
?”  I would like this to be a Wiki experience in which all of us collaborate in defining what constitutes membership and who the
members are.

So, to start the discussion, here are my criteria for membership:  “Is
the product interactive (not simply entertainment like a movie or book); and
does it compete for play time and / or revenue?
  If it does, it’s in. 

Based upon that concept, below is a list I came up with of potential play categories that I
believe fit
(list includes both child and adult play).  I have divided them into revenue competitors
and time competitors.

Revenue Competitors

Traditional,
3 dimensional toys

Video
Games (software and hardware)

Digital
Games

Tablets,
Cell Phones and all other Mobile Devices

Furniture
Games (Billiards, Foosball, Ping Pong etc.)

Play
Environments (Bowling Allies, Bars, etc.)

Hobbies
and Crafts

Theme
Parks and Water Parks

Time Competitors

Playground

Beach

Homework

Free
Play

Television

Organized
sports

How would you define membership in the “Play Industry”?  Which of these do you think are categories
belong in the toy industry?  Let us
know. 

2 thoughts

  1. Would Haunted Houses fit in the categories?
    They’re similar to theme parks and water parks.
    Maybe Haunted Houses fits under the Play
    Environments?
    How about carnivals? It’s like a theme park
    full of furniture games.

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