- Mattel launched a mobile racing game as the toymaker seeks to extend its Hot Wheels brand of toy cars into the digital world and appeal to tech-savvy teens. The free-to-download "Hot Wheels: Infinite Loop" challenges players to race against other gamers worldwide, according to a company announcement.
- The game lets players earn upgrades and collect popular Hot Wheels cars to race on a virtual track with hazards, loops and sharp turns. Mattel developed the game with Creative Mobile, the maker of "Drag Racing" and "Nitro Nation."
- "Hot Wheels: Infinite Loop" is currently available for iOS, and Mattel plans to release an Android version soon. Android users can pre-register to receive rewards like in-game skins for virtual cars.
Mattel's "Hot Wheels: Infinite Loop" game aims to extend the decades-old brand of toy cars into the digital world as mobile gaming becomes an increasingly popular form of entertainment. Mattel appears to be positioning the game to appeal to teens and young adults who grew up playing with Hot Wheels cars and are now interested in interacting with the toys on a mobile device.
While the ascendance of smartphones has been cited for a decline in American car culture among teens, racing games have shown enduring popularity. By letting gamers compete with each other on digital platforms, Mattel may appeal to Generation Zers who are raised on smartphones and are more likely to connect with others on social media apps like Snapchat, streaming platforms like Twitch or multiplayer games like "Fortnite."
Mattel is entering a crowded market, with more than 1.6 million games on Google Play and 1.1 million on Apple's App Store last year, per researcher App Annie. Games are the third-most popular category of app after social media and shopping apps, a survey by researcher Newzoo found. Brand recognition for Hot Wheels likely will help it to stand out from the pack and potentially boost downloads.
Mattel is monetizing the new game with in-game ads, sales of virtual goods and subscriptions of $10.99 a month for its Infinite VIP Club. Rewarded ads let players earn virtual currency for watching sponsored content. Spending on this type of in-game ads will grow 16% to $3.25 billion in the U.S. this year from $2.8 billion in 2018, eMarketer forecasts.