Toymaker Lego has been on board with building AR into its playsets and mobile apps since the launch of ARKit.
Its latest product takes the brand's approach to combining physical toys and virtual content and remixes it for a generation obsessed with the kind of homegrown music videos common on apps like TikTok and Snapchat.
Entering from stage right is Vidiyo, a series of playsets featuring characters from some MTV/Nickelodeon-inspired fever dream that, when scanned by the accompanying app, give kids the ability to direct their own AR music videos.
With six playsets available at launch, each Vidiyo Beatbox is headlined by a specific character and genre of influence, namely Alien DJ, Candy Mermaid, HipHop Robot, Party Llama, Punk Pirate, and Unicorn DJ. There are also 12 Minifigures, or Bandmates, available to purchase separately.
The kits come with a stage backdrop and interchangeable tiles called BeatBits that enable different AR experiences, including digital effects, video and music styles, and character animations, when scanned. The AR experiences can be scaled between mini, medium, and mega sizes. Once the 60-second video is complete, kids can download the clip or share on a child-safe social feed.
In addition to capturing the user's AR footage, the Vidiyo app includes a curated selection of 30 tracks from the Universal Music Group library. As part of the partnership (and further blurring the lines between physical and virtual worlds), Universal Media Group label Astralwerks has signed a deal with Los Angeles-based DJ and producer L.L.A.M.A, a real-life counterpart to the DJ Llama Minifigure.
With shipping starting on March 1, each Vidiyo Beatbox playset costs $19.99 and the Bandmates packages run $4.99 each. The corresponding Vidiyo mobile apps are available for free via the App Store and Play Store.
"Play and music are both universally appealing and have a fundamental impact on the development of children," said William Thorogood, VP and executive producer of Lego Vidiyo for the Lego Group, in a statement. "With Lego Vidiyo we can now provide a kid-safe space for children to express their playful creativity through music video making to develop these new skills."
TikTok has really put the tech industry on edge with its mix of viral short-form videos and AR camera effects. For example, Facebook and Snap have lined up their own responses in order to retain users and win back TikTok converts.
I'd be lying if I said that I expected Lego to react with their own version of TikTok, but this does fall in line with its strategy to sell kids and their parents on physical toys in a digital age, with their Hidden Side, Playgrounds, and AR Studio also offering a mix of blocks and AR to entertain the young and young at heart.