Ariella’s Blog

Surprise and Delight, Rinse and Repeat

Can you believe this video has garnered almost 1 BILLION views? Ryan ToysReview is a phenomenon. Since 2014, “unboxing” channels on Youtube have changed the face of children’s television and altered the way kids discover new toys.  Mega star, Ryan, now 8 years old, generated 22 million dollars last year from his unboxing videos and…

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Multiplayer AR – Good, Bad, Ugly

AR is an impressive technology but until the launch of ARKit 2.0 last year, single-user experiences were the norm. Unfortunately, these early apps neither retained customers, nor monetized. (We know this from first-hand experience!) Since then, multiplayer apps, where people can share a virtual experience in real time, have gained steam. Players can affect the same environment…

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A Year of “Firsts”

Happy Holidays 2018! Last year around this time I announced that I was joining HitPoint Studios as President, after 20 years at Legacy Games. It was a momentous decision, made easier by the fact that Paul Hake, HitPoint’s CEO, and I had worked together on numerous projects previously. So how’s it gone? 2018 was, simply put, a…

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AR or Bust – What’s Next for Schools?

What determines if an EdTech product is successful? The criteria are daunting. (1) It must teach something faster or better than is possible otherwise. (2) It must be relevant to the curriculum and teachers’ needs. (3) It must be affordable and accessible to all schools and students. (4) Ideally, it engages the student through experiential,…

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Augmented Reality in the Classroom – Lessons Learned

Many companies with glitzy AR apps have come and gone; many educational use cases have been tried and discarded. Is Augmented Reality just the latest in an endless stream of educational technologies that don’t add up to more learning? Maybe. Beautifully rendered virtual images of the periodic table and human anatomy or spinning globes have failed to become standard…

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A True Turing Test

When the first smart speaker was announced by Amazon in 2014, I was unambiguously enthusiastic about its potential with kids. I immediately approached Amazon, then later Google about creating skills/actions for Alexa and Google Home. Sadly, I was told by both companies that they weren’t interested in children’s content because of privacy/COPPA concerns. Since my…

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The Five Year Pivot

I was thinking about how to summarize this podcast about my life and career, and kept coming back to “Shit Happens, Pivot.”  Basically I founded three companies in the interactive business, then went through gut-wrenching change about every five years in order to stay solvent. There were no roadmaps, no mentors…so naturally I made every…

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Advice for Toy Inventors – Notes from Toy Fair 2018

I just returned from my favorite conference of the year, Toy Fair. I still enjoy many traditional toys (skip to the end of the post if you want to see my personal favorites), but this year I attended, along with HitPoint’s CEO, Paul Hake, to get feedback on our first connected toy prototype. It was…

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