Mattel plans to use its intellectual property featuring brands such as Barbie and Hot Wheels to create playable avatars sold as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in an upcoming metaverse.
Major toy brand Mattel has signed a multi-year partnership with forthcoming toy-focused non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace Cryptoys to exclusively feature its brands on the platform.
Cryptoys is expected to launch in late summer 2022 on the Flow (FLOW) blockchain and is the flagship product of OnChain Studios which has received funding from crypto-interested venture capital firms such as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Dapper Labs.
OnChain Studios also plans to make a Cryptoys metaverse and other play-to-earn games where Mattel's intellectual property — including Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Masters of the Universe among many others — will be made into playable avatars.
Mattel President and Chief Operating Officer Richard Dickson said it was the “first toy company to launch NFTs” and that the brand sees “incredible opportunity in the Metaverse for our cherished brands and iconic IP.”
The partnership was teased by Cryptoys on June 8 with its Twitter account posting a cryptic 17-second video featuring some of Mattel’s retro product advertisements.
Mattel has explored NFTs in the past and partnered with the WAX blockchain in October 2021 to release a collection of Hot Wheels NFTs. January 2022 also saw Mattel auction three one-of-one NFTs in collaboration with French luxury brand Balmain which netted the brands close to $49,000 for all three.
With the NFT sector expected to move around $800 billion over the next two years, other toy brands have launched NFTs to capitalize on the growing interest and generate new revenue streams for their business.
Mattel’s major competitor Hasbro which owns brands like Action Man, My Little Pony, and G.I. Joe launched its first NFT collection in October 2021 for its Power Rangers brand in a bid to compete in the NFT space.
Pop-culture collectibles giant Funko has created multiple NFT collections, an early one of which featured the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in August 2021, shortly after it acquired NFT display and tracking platform Tokenwave.
Cryptoys itself also plans to sell a collection of original avatar like NFTs with these so-called “digital toys” featuring customization through further NFTs which can change clothing, accessories and attributes for use in a wider “Cryptoyverse” the company plans to build.