here comes summer and with it, the latest wave of groundbreaking, breakthrough toys. But these electronically enhanced blasters and shooters aren’t the leaky plastic pistols of our childhood. These are superior soakers are modern pieces of water-fighting kit designed specifically with adults in mind.
Last month, two companies from opposite sides of the world showed off their powerful electric water guns: SpyraThreeFrom a startup in Germany and Mijia Pulse, from Chinese tech titan Xiaomi. Among them, these models have LCD screens, LEDs, USB connection and even game modes. But water blasters are just the latest toys to level up adult consumers and put them in their sights — thus tapping into a burgeoning sector that industry analyst Steve Reece calls the “childhood” space.
“In most developed countries,” says Rice, the book’s author Toy Industry Journal, “the birth rate is falling – which risks a reduction in the size of the overall toy market. But the big savior is potentially toys designed primarily for adults.
When intended for children, Rice explains, the toys are subject to a number of limitations, from safety considerations to affordability. “But with the ‘big kids’,” he adds, “the same price parameters don’t apply. For example, I know five people in my social circle who own a $850 or £735 Lego Millennium Falcon.”
“In previous generations,” he continues, “this type of product would have been so ultra-niche that it wasn’t worth developing and releasing. So when it comes to water blasters for ‘kids,’ they’re going to be more expensive, a more engaging experience.” I expect it to offer and have higher specifications.”
They too. Spyra sets the high-tech pace in space and has been doing so ever since Sebastian Walter, an avid gamer and designer, crowdfunded his idea for a water blaster through a Kickstarter campaign in 2015. (Investment rate increased more seven times its £35,000 or $59,000 target.) And the latest addition to the brand’s arsenal, the $186 (£149) SpyraThree, is still the most tricked-out model.