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The creators of Picoo showed off their new console at CES, a handheld outdoor gaming console for kids. According to its creators, the purpose of it is to marry children’s love for video games with other outdoor activities. Considering around 20% of American gamers are below the age of 18, it might spark the interest of gaming kids or their parents.
Picoo is a handheld device with a light on the end that looks a bit like a PlayStation Move controller. It works from a battery charge of four hours, and the starter set comes with four controllers and five game cards. In order to use it, kids will scan a card associated with a game on the device’s built-in NFT reader, and the Picoo will then recognize the children playing that game.
The Picoo has built-in feedback systems, including haptics, lights, and sounds. One example the developers gave me was, if kids are playing hide-and-seek, their controllers will light up when they find another players.
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The Picoo is completely self-contained, say its creators. It doesn’t require an online connection or a smartphone in order to play, though parents need the paired smartphone app to facilitate software upgrades. Some of the games were designed specifically for Picoo. One game, called Zombierun, involves players trying to infect each other with the undead plague — players know they’ve been zombified when the light on their Picoo changes color. Picoo also features educational games, including math puzzles.
Iris Soute, CEO and co-founder of Picoo, said the point of Picoo is to engage kids’ interest in technology while getting them outside to play the old-fashioned way. She told GamesBeat in an interview, “There is this big attraction for children to play sedentary games. But kids still really enjoy playing together, face-to-face, outdoors. That’s what’s missing with video games. Video games offer very one-dimensional ways of communicating. Once children are outdoors and playing outdoors, they get to enjoy a different kind of energy and fun I think that’s the most compelling element we have over video games.”
Soute says one of the future plans for the Picoo is to give kids the ability to create their own games to play with it. “That’s something that kids do — when they go outside, they negotiate rules beforehand. We’d like to give kids the flexibility to adjust according to what they think is fun.”
Picoo starter sets are currently available to purchase from the company’s website.