Anki Drive to bring video games into the real world next week for $199

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Artificial intelligence and robotics firm Anki is poised to debut its iOS-powered remote control Anki Drive car set on Oct. 23, and will be selling the toys exclusively at Apple Stores for a starting price of $199.

Anki
Anki Drive Starter Kit.


Anki Drive made a splash at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, when the company was granted highly coveted demo time ahead of Apple's keynote.

In the live demonstration, Anki's cofounder and CEO Boris Sofman showed off four small remote control cars that use cameras, sensors and specialized software to zip around a black race mat without user intervention. The toys are connected via Bluetooth LE to an iOS device that can partially control steering and acceleration. Other game types allow players to race each other or the AI via the Anki Drive iOS app.

What makes the toy set interesting is the autonomy of each car. With the AI handling steering, players can take control of the gas and fire imaginary guns, as well as special weapons like a tractor beam, at other racers. Shooting bullets and other weaponry is limited to a car's line-of-sight, while effects are played out as if in a video game.

For example, if one player is trailing and strikes a critical hit on the car ahead of it, lights will flash and the toy will come to a halt or slow down as if disabled. On the iOS device, sound effects play and the handset vibrates in reaction to the strike. A point system grants players power ups and access to special abilities that can be used in future races.

Each car has its own "personality," or special attributes, such as speed, armor and increased weaponry. Anki says it tried to strike a gameplay balance by putting a cap on the number of "maxed out" cars, allowing for a more dynamic experience.



Aside from the above game modes, there isn't much in the way of direct interaction, though for Anki that's the point. The AI keeps the toys on course with little to no user intervention, while drivers "steer" for tighter or wider turns to gain an advantageous position on their opponents. Anki Drive is essentially a racing shooter video game brought to life.

The Anki Drive Starter Kit, which includes two cars and the racetrack, is priced at $199 and will be sold online and at Apple Stores on Oct. 23. Two additional car models will also be available for $69 each.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    bcodebcode Posts: 138member
    Apparently these guys have some pretty hopeful investors... I could be wrong, but this just doesn't seem like a product that flies off the shelves.
  • Reply 2 of 24
    shogunshogun Posts: 360member
    Wow. Lame video. Looks clunky and... Unfun.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    At $199 they will fly off of the shelves.
    A whole new gaming with smart physical cars.

    The cars need to be durable and the track needs to have flexible configurations.
  • Reply 4 of 24
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

    I don't often make these predictions.

     

    It will fail.

  • Reply 5 of 24

    Hate to be negative, but I have to agree with the other comments.  Perhaps this is step 1 of something that might be great one day -- but right now, at that price, it's just not working for me.

  • Reply 6 of 24
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    Yeah, I'm not sure that kids (or people in general) care that much whether something is real/physical or virtual any more.  If the gameplay isn't better than Halo 5 or whatever the hot new video game is, it will be considered lame even if there are real cars driving around.  Now if you could make your own cars or tinker with them somehow (think LEGO or even Warhammer), that would be different but that's not a factor here.

  • Reply 7 of 24
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    It depends on how big they can make the tracks.  Obviously, the demo they showed at WWDC was a fairly simple track, but if they come out with bigger tracks much like the big slot car setups, this could get interesting.  It's either going to be a big hit or a failure after the first 6 months.  I see this as a potential big Christmas toy, but not sure what else they have up their sleeves.  Hopefully a lot more.

  • Reply 8 of 24
    $199 gets you a video game console...
  • Reply 9 of 24
    My prediction is that we will see them in 2 years at Big Lots for $29.99
    C'mon $199.00 REALLY?! I saw the lame demo and was not impressed.
    Would rather play Mario Kart than this silly thing.
  • Reply 10 of 24
    I think this will be a great success. The next step will be small groups of battling robots, like robot wars. And then robotic pets that interact with each other. This is just the first step and it makes normal physical track based games like Scalextric look constrained.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,360member
    Definite fail. Silly price, you have a large physical track to store, need room to play it, you have to imagine the guns and the board is flat.

    Compare that with ios games like Table top racing (TTR) which was free and the opposite of above.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    I almost never comment on anything, but in this case, I must. I owned an electric car race track set when I was a kid and I would play on it for hours. When I would burn up a car, I would either rebuild it or buy a replacement. This was truly one of the best toys I had ever owned. I think this product be extremely successful and the price range is not much different than my set was, relatively speaking, based on inflation.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    woahh.
    that looks gr8!!
    There should be more customisable cars.
  • Reply 14 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,306member
    bcode wrote: »
    Apparently these guys have some pretty hopeful investors... I could be wrong, but this just doesn't seem like a product that flies off the shelves.

    I agree. I'd rather have a genuine Scaletrix ... again! :)

    700
  • Reply 15 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,306member
    malax wrote: »
    Yeah, I'm not sure that kids (or people in general) care that much whether something is real/physical or virtual any more.  If the gameplay isn't better than Halo 5 or whatever the hot new video game is, it will be considered lame even if there are real cars driving around.  Now if you could make your own cars or tinker with them somehow (think LEGO or even Warhammer), that would be different but that's not a factor here.

    I agree and not only that, the whole point of a game like this is that all cars are driven by people. I simply don't see what point having some of the cars self driving. Having said that, when no friends were there as a kid, I used to race against the slightly slower car I turned into a drone. I'd put a weight on top so it would stay on the track and with a rubber band holding the throttle fully down. Oh the memories, I can smell the spark's ozone (yeah, yeah I know ozone is odorless but you know what i mean) and the ultra light oil burning ... :D

    It seems like some very clever science that needs to find a better use to me.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,224moderator
    barley wrote: »
    I think this will be a great success. The next step will be small groups of battling robots, like robot wars. And then robotic pets that interact with each other. This is just the first step and it makes normal physical track based games like Scalextric look constrained.

    The demo at WWDC looked like it would be interesting for about the same time as the 5 minute demo:


    [VIDEO]


    but you never know, kids are entertained by pretty basic things. This would most likely be suitable for the 3-6 age range where a proper games console isn't competing. By the time they get to 8, they're all grown up and killing hookers and gangsters in GTA:

    http://kotaku.com/grand-theft-auto-blamed-after-eight-year-old-shoots-gra-1201375715

    Young kids are mesmerised by these mundane repetitive toys and the prices on some toys are crazy:

    http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-Harry-Potter-Hogwarts-Castle/dp/B003CZ1AHW

    $340 for this:

    1000

    The biggest toy company in the world Mattel made over $3b profit last year. Anki might be hitting a point where kids are either too young to interact with the digital controls meaningfully or too old that they are losing interest in physical toys and moving to digital games instead but there will probably be some overlap in that age range. Sometimes grandparents buy the toys so it's an added hurdle trying to figure out if the family would have an iOS device they'd be willing to use to control it. Normal toys are all standalone so it doesn't matter.

    If the company making Anki is small, even 10-100k units per year would likely be a good result and I'm sure they'll find that audience.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,306member
    Marvin wrote: »
    The demo at WWDC looked like it would be interesting for about the same time as the 5 minute demo:


    [VIDEO]


    but you never know, kids are entertained by pretty basic things. This would most likely be suitable for the 3-6 age range where a proper games console isn't competing. By the time they get to 8, they're all grown up and killing hookers and gangsters in GTA:

    http://kotaku.com/grand-theft-auto-blamed-after-eight-year-old-shoots-gra-1201375715

    Young kids are mesmerised by these mundane repetitive toys and the prices on some toys are crazy:

    http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-Harry-Potter-Hogwarts-Castle/dp/B003CZ1AHW

    $340 for this:

    1000

    The biggest toy company in the world Mattel made over $3b profit last year. Anki might be hitting a point where kids are either too young to interact with the digital controls meaningfully or too old that they are losing interest in physical toys and moving to digital games instead but there will probably be some overlap in that age range. Sometimes grandparents buy the toys so it's an added hurdle trying to figure out if the family would have an iOS device they'd be willing to use to control it. Normal toys are all standalone so it doesn't matter.

    If the company making Anki is small, even 10-100k units per year would likely be a good result and I'm sure they'll find that audience.

    I am sure their technology will used somewhere eventually and make them very successful, but I think they have still to find the perfect use. Amazon's storage and shipping warehouses for automated carts maybe?
  • Reply 18 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,306member
    evilution wrote: »
    Definite fail. Silly price, you have a large physical track to store, need room to play it, you have to imagine the guns and the board is flat.

    Compare that with ios games like Table top racing (TTR) which was free and the opposite of above.

    Plus, unlike a good virtual car, you can step on these and break them
  • Reply 19 of 24

     

    I like this URL because it removes all faith I have in humanity.

  • Reply 20 of 24
    I cannot believe this product would sell. This is a good example of overengineering. No one wants to pay 200$ for a racing toy. I was surprised Apple let them on the stage.
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