While Hasbro's existing catalog is already brimming with toys for childhood recreation, it has just announced an initiative that could bring a new level of personalization to playtime. Joining forces with 3D-printing marketplace Shapeways, the company has launched SuperFanArt, a site that lets fans design and print toys based on Hasbro's much-loved product range.
To kick things off, the popular My Little Pony series has been customized by a hand-picked selection of 3D artists from the Shapeways community. These five artists have re-imagined characters from the equestrian toy-line and uploaded them to the SuperFanArt site for browsing. From here, customers can order figurines and have Shapeways print and ship them to their door.
Further to granting these initial licenses, the company plans on extending this partnership to more fan artists and My Little Pony-devotees. They will then look to cover other products in the Hasbro range, which includes Transformers, Star Wars figurines, and classic boardgames such as Monopoly and Scrabble. This could see the variety of Hasbro content greatly expand and the creation of designs that would have never come to pass without the advent of 3D printing.
While fan-created My Little Ponies may be something of a niche, such forward-thinking ventures highlight the potential of 3D printing. The technology has opened up all kinds of possibilities, but one very real implication is the issue of intellectual property theft. So much so, research firm Gartner predicts that by 2018, 3D printing will result in the loss of more than US$100 billion in intellectual property each year.
Collaborative efforts like SuperFanArt, where consumers are empowered and enticed by an element of authenticity, rather than the convenience of reproducing their own knock-offs, could see established brands such as Hasbro get the jump on the Pirate Bays of tomorrow.
The first line of My Little Ponies designs will be on show at Comic-Con San Diego from July 24 to 27. You can check out the designs in the gallery and find out more about becoming a SuperFanArt featured artist via the source link below.