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Gaming Companies Making Products for Outdoor Play

Posted on: Friday, June 17, 2016 by Stephen Leyton

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Gaming companies have begun tailoring products to be used for outdoor play.
Companies such as Hybrid Play – a Spanish start-up which uses augmented reality (AR) – have created an App that patches computer imagery on to real life to transform playgrounds into video games.
The shift to outdoor play is likely down to a worrying trend that three-quarters of UK children now spend less time outdoors than prison inmates as reported by The Guardian in April.
Time spent playing outdoors has reduced dramatically due to a combination of lack of green spaces, digital technology and the fears of parents.
The Hybrid Play app works with a wireless sensor that clips onto any piece of playground equipment that moves, which then registers that movement as children play, converting it into a method of playing a video game through a smartphone.
Co-founder Clara Boj said in The Guardian: “Our hybrid games are designed to put physical playing at the centre of the experience, not technology.”

The same technology is being applied outside of the playground too. The new Ikea Catalogue app allows you to superimpose furniture on to a room in your house so you can see what it looks like before you buy.
And it’s not just Hybrid Play that’s using AR in the playground. New company Biba offers children the opportunity to enter a playground where they meet a robot companion on their smartphone, in a world where all the playgrounds on Earth are actually the wreckage of robot spacecraft!
Greg Zeschuk, head of the AR at Biba, told The Guardian in the same article: “After a career of putting people on their butts for hundreds of hours playing games, I’m trying to pay back the world by making games that make kids go outside.”