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Doctoral Presentation

A doctoral research project looking at adoption of 3D printing in the production of custom toys and merchandise. With thanks to Makielab and Lancaster University.

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Doctoral Presentation

  1. 1. TOYETIC TOOLING: 3D PRINTING & CONVERGENT MEDIA PLATFORMS NATASHA CAROLAN
  2. 2. ADDRESSES POSSIBILITIES FOR DEVELOPMENT IN PRODUCTION OF MEDIA RELATED GOODS (TOYS AND MERCHANDISE) ENABLED BY CONVERGENCE OF 3D PRINTING WITH DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCTS. TOYETIC TOOLING: 3D PRINTING & CONVERGENT MEDIA PLATFORMS
  3. 3. RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. How convergence of 3D printing with digital media/ game products presents opportunities for development in production of toys and merchandise?
 
 Sub questions 2. What user interactions with media content are enabled by convergence of 3D printing in the digital economy? 3. What are the implications for the various stakeholders involved in production of media related goods? TOYETIC TOOLING: 3D PRINTING & CONVERGENT MEDIA PLATFORMS
  4. 4. 3D Printing ResearchToys & Merchandise Freebies, Omake, Stickering Convergence Transmedia Toyetic PotentialCharacter merchandising Digitisation TOYETIC TOOLING: 3D PRINTING & CONVERGENT MEDIA PLATFORMS Loot boxes and card collecting Licensing & franchising Peer production Democratisation of media production Democratisation of production Implications for distribution Fan art Consumer/ Innovation Research Media Research 3D printing and process innovation Profession, Practice and Training Implications Mass customisation Online communities Communities of practice LITERATURE REVIEW Digital EconomyFan economies Designer, Indie & Vinyl Toys User innovation Toolkits for user innovation Toolkits for user innovation Feelies Toys to Life Interactivity
  5. 5. RESEARCH TIMELINE AND PARTNERSHIP
  6. 6. RESEARCH STRATEGY/DESIGN STRATEGY & JUSTIFICATION Methodological pluralism Survey/Questionnaire - a quick and inexpensive way to probe prospective consumers. A mix of questions, across a range of areas. Qualitative and Quantitative data produced. Coding and quantitative approaches to analysis employed as appropriate. Netnography - allowed for ongoing consideration of activity amongst 3D printing communities and industry trends. Inexpensive and accessible research approach. Tracked a range of activity using coding and thematic analysis where relevant to group findings. Participant observation allowed for research with an industry body enabling in-depth, participatory, active and situated perspective. Data collection and analysis involved identifying themes and synthesising findings. METHODOLOGY Netnography Participant Observation Survey FIELD STUDY ANALYSIS THEMATIC THEMATIC QUANTITATIVE/ QUALITATIVE THEMATIC CODING
  7. 7. ‘Getting my own codename when I joined the Action Man club in the late 1980s.’ ‘Yay! Really want to let my daughter have a hand at it. Looking forward to it as a father/daughter activity.’ ‘MAKING STAR WARS MOVIES WITH MY COUSIN EVERY SUMMER FOR YEARS. LEGO FILMS SHOT ON A CHEAP POINT AND SHOOT WITH MY NEPHEW. TAUNTAUN RACES ON WHITE BED SHEETS O SLEEPOVERS. CHRISTMAS MORNING THE CHRISTMAS AFTER EMPIRE- MY BROTHER AND I GOT HOTH LUKE AND HAN.’ “In college, I remember the very first Hellboy figure being really cool. I posed it and took pictures. Those were the first pics posted to the Hellboy forum at the time. Made me feel like part of the community in a way I hadn't before.” ‘I WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO PAINT THE FACE (SELL ME A KIT OF EXCLUSIVE COLOURS!) AND CHANGE THE POSE... SUCH AS GAS HEATING, AIR BRUSHING SPECIALISTS DO IT IN JAPAN. I NEVER DID IT MYSELF THOUGH...MAYBE I WAS ALWAYS SATISFIED WITH WHAT THE "PROPER" DESIGNERS SOLD ME ;) ‘Mixed. I love it in theory, and I love the idea of those 'kit-mash' customisations, but I don't have faith in my ability to design something cool. Part of me feels more inclined to buy dolls/ figures designed entirely by the experts. Maybe a tool belt/bag for the doll where I could pick 'n' mix the accessory contents.’ ‘AS A KID, MY FRIEND AND I SHOPPED MORE AT THE LOCAL HARDWARE STORE THAN THE TOY STORE, FOR GI JOE ACCESSORIES. WE HAD PULLEY DRIVEN TREE-HOUSES, ZIPLINES, RAIL CARS.... ALL OF WHICH WERE BUILT BUY HAND. AFTER MY FRIEND'S OLDER BROTHER MUTILATED GI JOE WITH A BUNSEN BURNER, WE CRAFTED OUR OWN CYBORG PROSTHESES FROM STUFF FOUND AT THE HARDWARE STORE!’ ‘I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR KIDS TO BE ABLE TO SEE THINGS THAT LOOK JUST LIKE THEMSELVES OUT THERE IN THE WORLD TO KNOW THAT THEY'RE NOT ALONE.’ ‘I COLLECTED ALL OF THE THUNDERCATS ACTION FIGURES WHEN I WAS ABOUT 10 - COMPLETELY OBSESSED WITH THE SERIES, AND ALSO HAD TWO OF MY LETTERS PUBLISHED IN THUNDERCATS MAGAZINE ( BOTH COMPLAINING ABOUT LACK OF FEMALE REPRESENTATION...)’ SURVEY OF PROSPECTIVE CONSUMERS
  8. 8. NETNOGRAPHY FAN PRODUCED TOYS AND OBJECTS REFERENCING MEDIA PRODUCTS
  9. 9. NETNOGRAPHY 3D PRINTING MARKETPLACES AND AN ECONOMY OF FAN PRODUCED 3D PRINTABLE CONTENT
  10. 10. PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION MEDIA COMPANY ADOPTED 3D PRINTING AUTOMATING PRODUCTION OF TOYS FROM PLAYER CREATED IN-GAME ASSETS.
  11. 11. GAMES INCORPORATED FAN ACTIVITY WITH IN GAME TRADING AND SUBSEQUENT PRINTING OF USER CREATED GOODS.
  12. 12. ▸ Makies developed what I describe as a convergent media platform - in which convergence of 3D printing with a digital game made possible direct manufacture of toys and merchandise. ▸ Makies games specifically facilitated remix and reuse of game content through provision of design tools and gameplay mechanics. ▸ MakieLab designed these games as platforms upon which user generated content and fan art was co-opted, seeding an in-game economy of digital and physical fashion and accessory trading. ▸ MakieLab stood to gain, in various ways from this captive form of trading, acting as marketplace and manufacturer.
  13. 13. COMMODIFICATION OF USER GENERATED CONTENT & FAN ART
  14. 14. TEXT 3D PRINTING AND TRANSMEDIA POTENTIAL ▸ Role for 3D printing as a delivery channel facilitating production and delivery of transmedia content. ▸ Making possible on-demand manufacture of objects to assist in transmedia storytelling and related functions - enhancing, facilitating or expanding game play or story telling. ▸ Makes possible user generated feelies/ objects or dynamic updates to game objects allowing objects to perform roles related to proprietary rights, security, and intellectual property controls for games.
  15. 15. DATA FRECKLES MACHINE READABLE 3D PRINTED GAME PIECES
  16. 16. TEXT TOYETIC POTENTIAL & IN-MEDIA MERCHANDISING ▸ Finds that 3D printing may be poised to disrupt traditional calculations of the merchandise or toyetic potential of media products. ▸ 3D printing undermines the requirement for firms to meet minimum order quantities or offset initial tooling costs associated with mass production. ▸ In the case of Makies, who developed an automated software processes allowing automated translation of game assets to 3D printable formats this pipeline may be automated negating associated toy/merchandise design costs. ▸ This allows media producing firms to control their own merchandise pipeline, reducing the need for intermediaries and enables them to exploit a wider range of content. ▸ In the case of particular types of animated or digital game content this positions a wider range of content as potentially 3D printable. ▸ Democratises or lower barriers to offering merchandise - as per Kerbal Space Program
  17. 17. COMMODIFICATION OF CONSUMER CREATION ACTIVITY
  18. 18. OPPORTUNITIES ▸ 3D printing and transmedia potential
 Role for 3D printing as a delivery channel facilitating production and delivery of custom printable content and transmedia content. ▸ Data freckles and between-media interactivity
 A role for 3D printing in producing machine readable game pieces facilitating between-media or cross platform interactivity. ▸ Recalculating toyetic potential and in-media merchandising
 3D printing can disrupt traditional calculations of the value of content as merchandise or toy objects allowing for one-off and batch manufacture, negating requirements for high initial tooling costs. In conjunction with automated game asset to printable format processes merchandise production may be automated. ▸ Commodification of user generated content or fan art
 Co-opting fan production of content, art or toys. Where Shapeways profits from selling fan produced 3D printable, media related content, Makies controls the process of creating, trading, selling and manufacturing, all as part of game play. ▸ Commodification of consumer creation activity - creating as consumable experience. 
 People may consume the process or experience of making as part of a retail or media experience. TOYETIC TOOLING: 3D PRINTING & CONVERGENT MEDIA PLATFORMS
  19. 19. TOYETIC TOOLING: 3D PRINTING & CONVERGENT MEDIA PLATFORMS LIMITATIONS ▸ Some consider 3D printing to be at its prime. However quality, cost and colour issues remain problematic and continue to impact development and associated research. ▸ MakieLab are a single industry example and research may be considered to be limited in wider generalisability or representativeness. ▸ MakieLab and many of the other 3D printing/media firms noted in this research were early examples and have paused development raising relevant questions relating to technology readiness.
  20. 20. TOYETIC TOOLING: 3D PRINTING & CONVERGENT MEDIA PLATFORMS FUTURE RESEARCH ▸ Disney are continuing research and development in this space, acquiring a range of companies and securing patents across a range of 3D printing futures. ▸ Evaluate and test operational aspects of toyetic and merchandise potential and commodification of user generated content. ▸ Consider experience and service design for co-creation experiences. ▸ Consider and test or update alternatives to prohibitive intellectual property approaches and develop recommendations for updating intellectual property legislation in view of 3D printing.
  21. 21. ▸ Evidence of adoption of 3D printing by the game industry. ▸ Early evidence of fan economies of user generated 3D printable objects. ▸ Makies and SuperFanArt are two distinct but interrelated ways of co- opting fan production enabled by 3D printing. ▸ This convergence of 3D printing with media products presents a range of opportunities for digital game and media companies as avenues for manufacture, co- creation and creative commerce. SUMMARY
  22. 22. QUESTIONS

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