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Japan’s Toys to Life is the Future of Gaming – PowerCore

By Tim Romero: Serial startup founder in Japan and indomitable innovator

Gaming is very different in Japan than it is in America, but PowerCore is introducing technology that could lead to major changes in both of them. Toys to Life technology blurs the distinction between the analog and digital worlds by having digital gameplay react to the presence of physical toys. For example, after buying a figuring, that character would appear in the game. The first generation of this technology is already being used by powerhouses such as Disney and Nintendo, but the real change is yet to come. Today Jia Shen explains what the future holds for Toys to Life, and why he decided to start his company in Japan. It seems that the boundary between analog and digital is about to become a lot less clear. It’s a great conversation, and I think you’ll enjoy it. Show Notes for Startups Why large companies have trouble crossing the toy-game barrier Why it made sense to build a distributed team from Tokyo The special appeal of physical goods in our digital life How Disney just made a big mistake Why children don't play with some toys Why Japan gaming might be the future model for the rest of the world Links from the Founder Learn more about Powercore Check out their Online Store Some cool toy pics on Instagram Follow Jia on twitter @mekatek Friend him on Facebook Jia on Instragram You really need to see the toys in action to appreciate them check out This video or this one this is cool too or this video [shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="7994466"] Leave a comment Transcript from Japan  Disrupting Japan, episode 73. Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I'm Tim Romero and thanks for joining me. You know, gaming has always pushed the limits of both computer hardware and the interfaces we use to interact with computers. Jia Shen, of PowerCore, is blurring the distinction between the online and offline interaction. Powercore enables video games to react to the presence of physical object. For example, if you owned a figurine of a superhero, that hero could appear in the game. It’s a simple interaction that radically changes the way we view the digital-analog divide. Of course, as with all technologies, adoption is never smooth, and Jia explains some of the mistakes that burned Disney, and some of the major market players. It seems that, as is so often the case, the secret to introducing innovative technology, is to do only as much as you absolutely have to, and then watch how your users react. It’s a simple idea in principle but there are surprising reasons why some of the most influential companies in the industry have trouble following it. But Jia tells that story much better than I can, so let’s hear from our sponsors and get right to the interview.     [pro_ad_display_adzone id="1404"  info_text="Sponsored by"  font_color="grey" ] [Interview] Tim: I’m sitting here with Jia Shen of PowerCore. Now, PowerCore does toys to life or sometimes it’s called offline-online business, but why don’t you explain basically what it is and who uses it. Jia: Sure. The toys to life is a model, that from our perspective, Japan has done a lot of pioneering, but the United States, in maybe the last 5 or 6 years, have made a very large business out of it. So we point to, in the US, Skylanders from Activision, Disney had a big one called Infinity, featuring a lot of the great Disney characters. Nintendo, LEGO, they all have some forays into this. And specifically it’s toys that are collectible, that have a strong interaction with video games. So the guys that do it on a large scale, they usually have console games, and you have different characters, which you can stick into the game, they have different power-ups, they have different game mechanics. Tim: For example, there would be a figurine, or a trophy, or a sticker of some kind that would activate a character in the ...

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