Hot Wheels Wants to Reinvent Itself – But Why?

The most popular toy in the world is going digital. Why is Hot Wheels reinventing itself? Plus, five other toys that we think don't need to change.

An array of Hot Wheels cars
Photo by David Chickering for Mattel

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Or is there?

If we’re talking Hot Wheels, that’s up for debate. The brand is reportedly trying to reinvent itself by focusing more on digital features, Fast Company reports. That may come as a surprise to many fans of the brand, especially since its cars are known as the No. 1 toy in the world and the average kid owns 50 Hot Wheels cars, the article notes.

But interest in toys wanes as kids reach the tween years, and they spend much more time on screens.

The Hot Wheels makeover

That’s why Mattel’s new Hot Wheels ID cars – which will look almost identical to its current racers – will each have an NFC chip so it can connect to the cloud, giving the cars a digital identity kids can connect with an app.

With that app, “Kids will see their top speeds, lap times and how they stack up to the world’s Hot Wheels drivers,” Fast Company explains.

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Here’s how Mattel explains the new design on the Hot Wheels website: “For 50 years, kids have bragged about their Hot Wheels cars. ‘My car’s faster.’ ‘My car can jump farther.’ ‘My car can do 100 laps.’ Now they can prove it. Every speed clocked. Every loop tracked. Every collection recorded. Each vehicle has a unique ID, with its very own data, so kids can prove their racing skills to everyone!”

If that’s your kids’ speed, we hope they enjoy the new tech. But it got us thinking about which other classic old-school toys could be looking to reinvent themselves one day soon – and the ones we hope will never change.

5 more toys we hope stick around

Here are a few classics we’re hoping stay just the way they are.

Photo from Lego

1. Lego

This timeless toy appeals to kids of all ages and needs no improvement. And since Lego is the world’s largest and most profitable toy manufacturer, according to The Chive, we don’t think they’re going anywhere.

Photo from Amazon

2. Velcro food

Kids are all about the “satisfying” sound effects of slime (and apps that replicate playing with slime!), and we think these classic wooden play food items – in this case, by Melissa & Doug – meet that same criteria. Young kids love cutting the fruit with a fake knife and hearing that Velcro crunch.

Photo from Amazon

3. The Cozy Coupe

This retro-looking but still-on-the-market toy by Little Tikes is celebrating more than 30 years as a staple in the homes of so many families. No digital upgrades needed – after all, it could cause distracted driving.

Photo from Amazon

4. Your favorite Gloworm

Countless babies have drifted off to sleep to the sounds of the Playskool Lullaby Gloworm. This toy has been an “expert snuggler” for more than 25 years, according to Playskool. We hope it’ll be around for another 25 – just as sweet and simple as it is now.

Photo from MOMA Store

5. Rubik’s Cube

There’s more than 40 years of history behind the original Rubik’s Cube, and we can see why it stands the test of time. While kids lose interest in toys at earlier ages, most teens and even adults are still happy to pick up a Rubik’s Cube and try the seemingly-impossible task of getting it right. No screens or internet connection required (except to share your results when you solve it!).

What classic toys do you hope stay the same – or actually could use a digital upgrade? Tell us in the comments!

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