super awesome CEO dylan collins dusts off her crystal ball to once again predict the biggest shifts unfolding in the world of kids’ tech, digital media and entertainment for the year ahead.
A crypto-reboot of a classic children’s virtual world
The astonishing growth of NFTs and crypto games, which combine character creation and commerce, seem tailor-made for the first wave of virtual worlds for children. We’ll see characters that were created by players being sold in games as NFTs, using their own cryptocurrencies as payment. When you watch games like Moshi Monsters, Bin Weevils, Poptropica, Club Penguin and others from the late 2000s, they seem like prime candidates to rebuild with these blockchain mechanics. We will see at least one announcement along these lines in 2022.
No more parent and user verification in games and services
Laws regulating the collection of data from young audiences are not new, but their enforcement is certainly being tightened. As a result, 2022 will see more consumer services and features that require parent verification or user verification than ever before.
Another major acquisition of children’s content
Moonbug grabbed headlines in 2021 as the biggest kids’ content acquisition in years. With the importance of children’s audiences now cemented in the streaming strategy, it’s highly likely that we’ll see at least one more offering of a similar magnitude in 2022.
No slowdown in transactions with Toyco
2021 was the year that saw MGA enter the metaverse and Spin Master launch its own venture capital fund to invest in digital start-ups. This follows Hasbro’s move into content and movies with its acquisition of eOne. While every strategy is different, toy companies will continue their transformation into “engagement” companies in 2022 with more deals.
Consolidation of child/family subscription offers
In 2021, the number of digital services for children and families remained remarkably fragmented (i.e. payment cards, entertainment services, parenting/security tools). In 2022, we will see a consolidation effort to create one trusted family subscription brand integrating all of these services.
Developers of children’s apps are starting to move to metaverse platforms
With new Metaverse platforms offering robust monetization and discovery, 2022 will see more studios move Metaverse first with their family game development.
Consolidation in the Roblox Studios business
There’s been a Cambrian explosion in the number of developers creating experiences on Roblox – and for good reason. With this level of growth and new IP developments, it is inevitable that we will see the consolidation of smaller development studios to create a larger metaverse editor. It will start in 2022.
Community features dedicated to young audiences
Almost every brand now spends the majority of their youth engagement budgets on digital. Almost everyone now realizes that this is a much tougher landscape than linear television. 2022 will see a renewed emphasis on creating dedicated (rather than repurposed) social and community experiences for children in an effort to fill these engagement gaps.
In-car entertainment is becoming the next kids’ content acquisition
Automakers are investing heavily in the digital functionality of vehicles. As in-vehicle displays get larger and more feature-rich, their existing distribution makes them a viable platform for kids’ content of all kinds. In 2022, we’ll see major distribution deals with automakers heralded as literally the next mobile platform.
Dylan Collins is CEO of SuperAwesome (part of Epic Games). He can be found on Twitter as @MrDylanCollins
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash