Hot Wheels iD cars, bridging the gap...for a price

redlinederby Monday, 6/17/2019
Site manager

The first I saw stuff about the Hot Wheel iD cars was on the Orange Tack Diecast, but then this morning seeing that the rest of the tech-minded world is reporting the release as well. 

Hot Wheels is continuing its search for the Holy Grail of toys...something that is physical yet also digital, and still fun. That's a great quest but it also looks pricey. For $7 a car and then almost $200 for a track set, I think they've grossly overestimated the market's desire. But they must know something we don't...I hope...

And here's the thing that bugs me the most...the tech they put into the car is cheap. I'm sure Mattel is losing money on each $1 car already, making it up in accessory sales, but the NFC chips the report talks about are common and cheap. For what you get, I don't think $7 will be a good price point, whether it be kids with their own money or parents getting asked. 

When Hot Wheels cars become a "maybe for your birthday" type of toy, that's a problem. Now, playsets have always been on the high side IMHO, but never the cars. Your car collection drives accessories...at least, they always did for me.

But lets ignore the price for a moment and think of all the cool things you could do with this tech...it's awesome! Inventory management,  speed tracking, time tracking, virtual modeling, importing into other digital products...it's pretty endless and very cool, and that should come at a price, but I just don't know.

Hell, I rarely buy the $5 collector lines as it is, let along dropping more than that...just for a car that will track stats? Meh. And right now, I'll buy my kid car at the drop of a hat when pass by the pegs at the store. No way that'll happen with $7 cars.

Although I think part of the key to success will be spreading this tech out to tons of cars. If this becomes a "few dozen" type of release then it won't work. From the looks of things, they'll start putting this into lots of cars, rivalling the tech-free mainline. And, hopefully, (in theory) the price point should go down over time and before long these tech cars will be under $5, if not $1 at the end of the day.

One other thing that I hope Mattel takes advantage of with this tech is spreading it out beyond the core kid demographic. As the tech gets cheaper and gets integrated into all the cars (hopefully), there are countless ways that tech can serve the collector, the racer, the modder, the seller, and everyone in between. This has potential to unlock a lot.

Years ago I wrote about a hobby tracking app that was essentially crowdsourced and the data quality was...less than stellar. The information it had was fine but the experience was poor. Mattel has the chance to wrap all that up into a nice bow and I hope they do.

So it's too early to say, really, and I don't want to shit on all of this before I get a crack at them, but the sticker shock is a big first hurdle here. If nothing else, you're asking people to shift from $1 cars to $7 cars...that's quiet an ask. I'm trying to take out my feelings of too much tech in toys, and just one more thing you need your phone for...but it's hard. Play shouldn't be complicated regardless of age. New tech can be a lot of fun but it can also muddy waters that were pretty clear to start with. But business is business.

Needless to say, as you folks get your hands on these Hot Wheels iD cars and playsets, please share your experiences and let us know how things to.


Discussion

View member profile
redlinederby 6/17/19
Site manager

Pondering more as I chat in the office with folks...how long before someone hacks these iD cars and can customize the data stored on them? I'm thinking you could take these chips, edit the name and such that is in there, and then that data is sent to people with the tracks.

So you have a chip track and I send you car with my own chip, and when the car runs and shows up on your app it says "Brian's Car" along with the speed and stats. That'd be pretty cool. Offers a nice way to organize things and see how well your car does.

  • Would be super sweet to have the track with data too. So it can track Brian's Car on David's Track type stuff. — redlinederby
View member profile
redlinederby 6/17/19
Site manager

Another article from Fast Company that talks more business, good read. 

View member profile
redlinederby 6/17/19
Site manager

And, of course, Lamley got their hands on some...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_-EbfWA2hg

Seeing the packaging of these cars...no wonder the cars cost $7

He also talks about using these cars like "normal" with all the outside play, smashing, etc that you do when you're a kid. That's great. However, I know my mom would have had a big issue with me smashing up a $7 toy the way I played with my HWs.

  • Cute...total miles driven is a stat being tracked. That's fun. — redlinederby
View member profile
redlinederby 6/17/19
Site manager

And part 2 showing off the track...which I hope your arms are ready because looks like you'll be churning butter to get those cars to go.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWRVJJnrHDA

View member profile
redlinederby 6/17/19
Site manager

Hmmm...also interesting think about the lifespan of a car in terms of sharing, selling, etc. If the car data is store "forever" then that means you'll get someone else's stats. Which also means you can sell your "fast" car and have the proof.

  • If only there was a retrofit kit so I can slap a chip on my old cars. — redlinederby
  • I bet the data doesn't live on the car...it might only work through the app/cloud on the internet. No internet, no stats. — redlinederby
View member profile
WorpeX 6/17/19

Wonder what the wheels are like! Nickel Plated Axels perhaps? Mag Wheels? Or maybe just standard? Either way, these cars are GORGEOUS. I will likely buy some just because they put so much effort into the details and their look in general. Plus, they're designed for the track so likely will be pretty quick as well!

View member profile
WorpeX 6/17/19

A third video was posted and at the end a viewer asks if they are FTE axels and while he doesn't answer, he does say that they are very SMOOTH and does a quick roll of one of the cars. We gotta get some tests on these boys!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS9e15Ae4rI

  • For $7 they better have FTE axles and whatever super wheels they have. — redlinederby
  • Don't know if it's just the style, but all the wheels look bigger in diameter than normal — redlinederby
  • price doesn't really bother me much, as long as the cars are worth it. I'd rather buy a high quality $7 car then a bunch of $1 mainlines which are garbage. — WorpeX
View member profile
Kevblokey 7/19/19

I’ve purchased the race portal and four cars from the first batch, the beast of curiosity got the better of me. The ability to record speeds and store that data is great fun, but I feel that’s just because it’s a novelty. The decoration on the cars is great, but is it a £7 car great? All taken in, I think these cars should retail for now more than £4-5, the track set is grotesquely overpriced imho.

Kev

  • At $200 for the track set, that's a huge purchase, especially if I put on my Parent Hat. My kid would rather have $200 worth of mainline cars and analog playsets, she'd get more creativity out of it. — redlinederby
View member profile
3DBotMaker 7/19/19

I understand Mattel is trying to make Hot Wheels relevant to kids over 8 years old in 2019, but I think they missed the mark again on this one. There’s nothing revolutionary about this. If my kids want to play a racing game on their ipad, I can simply download a racing game. Also their marketing has been very poor as it took me quite a bit of research just to understand what the portal did. My son is in the target market at 9 years old and it didn’t excite him at all, and even if it did, the track set is way overpriced just to race one car at a time. I’m a tech guy and would love an excuse to buy some next level hot wheels stuff, but this does nothing for me.

  • Yeah, I do agree with this. I'm not sure kids will be all that excited by it and the parents won't like the price. The phone game is super boring too. I love the cars as a collector and racer, but I can't see this product being successful for kids. — WorpeX
  • Totally. This tech isn't fancy or even that capable. Without the ability to store data the cars are somewhat pointless, especially at the price point. I don't by $5 cars as it is. I don't think HW cars need a bunch of tech to get kids involved. Imagination should do most of the heavy lifting. — redlinederby
  • And from a parent standpoint, looking at a $7 car vs a $1 car...what does that extra $6 get my kid? Just more screen time...exactly what I'm trying to help reduce. — redlinederby
View member profile
Jdub3000 7/21/19

Small GPS trackers will continue to get smaller, cheaper, and more advanced.  Not practical right now, but maybe in the near future.

to join the conversation or sign-up now