Thursday, 25 April 2013

There's a new Tek on the block

This is something I have been following closely since the New York Toy Fair 2013.
 
A lot of followers have emailed me to ask what I think, will I pick it up and test it out?
 
-- but before I can answer that, there are a few things I need to find out...

So what do we know so far?
  • Up to 75ft ranges
  • 75 round clip capacity
  • Stunning aesthetics and colours
  • Projected release Aug-Sept 2013
  • Havok will retail around $34.99
  • Ammo refill packs of 25 for $4.99
  • HammerHead (pistol) around $19.99
  • Real Life Video Game app is free and available for iOS and Android
Interesting research - All acquired from NPD Data:
  • Households with kids ages 4-14 own an average of 10 different devices. With kids using an average of 5 of those devices.
  • Portable Video Game systems are the most popular devices personally owned by kids ages 4-14, with 6 years of age being the average age of adoption.
  • Boys spend an average of 10.8 hours per week playing video games.
  • Gaming is by far the most popular activity performed on a smart device, with an average of 6.5 gaming apps downloaded on a device
 
So when you see comments like this - you can't but help not want to take notice:
"Tek Recon blasters are similar to playing a first person shooter video game in real life." - Mashable
“Tek Recon is turning the entire world into a video game” - Laptop Magazine
"If you combine the worlds of Nerf and Halo, you would get something like the Tek Recon." - CNET

Now rather than have you folks digging around and speculate - I've gone straight to the horses mouth!
 
Credit: Laptopmag -- Tek Recon Havok blaster
   
MylastDart: Firstly, many thanks for getting in touch!
Tek-Recon: Glad to answer any questions and appreciate your interest in our product. Your knowledge of the market and similar blaster product is very exciting for us.

MLD: I have to say, I absolutely love the new site and I'm excited to find out more on Tek-Recon and what it has to offer!
Tek-Recon: That’s great, thanks! We’ve just begun setting up a presence online and have a lot more work to do. Appreciate the early support.

MLD: Now you don't feel like a company - in a good way! It really feels like a company "by fans for fans". As a brand, from marketing to management you seem very switched on, approachable and fresh. A rich pool of experience behind it all?
Tek-Recon: We’ve been working on the line for a long time, however we love feedback and appreciate comments that can help make our product better. Without fans we would not exist.

MLD: I have noticed how you actively interact with fans and Bloggers thru your Facebook page - something I have not actively seen from other brands. Also you've had some brilliant coverage from the likes of Mashable Tech, Bloomberg Television, Laptop Magazine, CNET to name a few. Amazing achievements to have under the belt before release!
Tek-Recon: Absolutely! We’re excited about Tek Recon and want to be out there shouting it from the rooftops, but understand we don’t have the loudest voices. For this reason, we love bloggers and media. We want to be connected with anyone who likes our product, and bloggers/media who spend their time within the blaster and video game/tech communities are people we want to hear from and whose knowledge we value. Basically, we want people talking about, sharing Tek Recon and really appreciate anyone (bloggers, press, etc) noticing that this is an exciting product that’s taking a category to the next level and worth their community’s time.
 
 
Credit: Laptopmag - Teck Recon Havok profile shot
  
MLD: 2013 has seen many brands announce new innovations and design for fans, you have been heralded as "A Game Changer" when it come to the world of Altered Reality (AR) - can you tell fans what more they can expect and it's features?
Tek-Recon: Creating a great new form of ammo, as well as feature packed blasters was a great start. We could have developed Tek Recon strictly as a blaster, but we wanted something more. We didn’t just want to create a better blaster, but wanted a better blaster WITH a revolutionary gameplay. That’s where we came up with the app. Other app blasters only feature single player augmented reality experiences where you sit in a chair and shoot a 90’s Sega Genesis styled alien. This bored us. As huge fans of all FPS’ we wanted to give kids the ability to play socially with their friends with all the amazing features video games provide, but in a real world game. Imagine playing a Halo styled game with your friends in real life!? Amazing! So we set out to build Tek Recon Command, our iOS and Android powered app. Here are just a few of its features:
  • User profiles complete with unique usernames and avatars
  • Armory to control and create game loadouts, including your blaster, scope, sound effect, and in-game powerups
  • Familiar multiplayer game modes including Isolation (every man for himself), Team Supremacy (team battle), and Capture the Flag (with GPS tracked flags that you scan when captured).
  • Radar which reveals teammates, as well as opponents when blaster is firing.
  • In game features such as live chat, on screen ammo counter, simple swipe vision modes (night vision, etc.), quick tap zoom + many more.
  • Power ups that give you unique abilities during game play.
In summary, Tek Recon on its own (Blaster with Ammo) is an incredible feature packed product that can be played on its own but we’ve included a FREE app and smartphone mount for those users who have an available smartphone, and want to enhance their blaster for Live Action GPS Team Battles. 
 
Credit: Laptopmag - a close up shot of the Altered Reality (AR) app
  
MLD: So in terms of social integration, will fans be able to upload a battle or pics to their YouTube / FB / Instagram / Twitter accounts?
Tek-Recon: Yes, social integration is a key component.
 
MLD: Could you tell readers how Tek-Recon came about, and how it is unique from any other toy blaster brand today?
Tek-Recon: Tek Recon has been years in the making. We found a need within the blaster market for innovation and new, exciting ideas. This has been evident with a number of brands that have recently entered the blaster aisles at stores around the world. We also noticed an opportunity with the power of smartphones and their ability to bring social gaming to real physical play patterns, such as blaster role-play. We’ve called this, Outdoor Online Gaming.
 With the ammo complete, the blaster was our next focus. Design is an obvious key feature, so we wanted to give the blaster an edgier more styled look that can be rolled out within the product line. The current vacuum metalized green and orange on both the HammerHead and Havok give each blaster an incredible look. The design stands out so well compared to other blasters that we’ve even opened up the packaging to show it off in store (as opposed to closing the box and relying on our graphic…which you’ll find competitors often exaggerate the beauty of their product, leaving you let down when actually unboxing). Competitors entering the market with new forms of ammo were also unable to create product that incorporated real trigger firing. We’ve given users both fast trigger and pump action firing allowing them to decide how to play. Custom firing calibration is included, meaning you can decide between rapid fire and long shot (alters the distance and strength required to stretch the ammo within the chamber). Finally, as mentioned above fitting a large number of rounds is key.
 
Credit: Laptopmag - Tek Recon Havok pump action grip
 
 
MLD: The ammo Tek-Recon uses is very unique - what was the idea behind it and is it biodegradable / reusable?
Tek-Recon: Before we wanted to even begin thinking about the app and the gameplay, we needed to create a product that on its own was a compelling purchase which provided quality performance, exceptional value, and improved specs.
This really began with our NRG Rounds (No Mess, Reusable, Gaming). Foam is great as its reusable and durable, however is large meaning capacity is limited. Jelly pellets, paint, and paper wads are great as they increase capacity substantially, however they’re messy and can’t be re-used (meaning you're constantly out buying more). 
We saw the opportunity for a new form of ammo that has great performance, large round capacity, accurate firing, ridiculous distance, creates no-mess, and is completely re-usable. LOTS of great features! We settled on our safe, stretchy rings which are named NRG Rounds. Just to give you an idea on some specs, our HammerHead fits 25pcs, while our Havok fits over 70; both shooting over 75ft!
NRG rounds are extremely hard to break, but also soft and stretchy enough that if hit it will not hurt.
Credit: Laptopmag - close up for the unique NRG projectile
 
MLD: To confirm - the ranges reaching over 75ft are being fired flat (straight) or angled (arc'd up)?
Tek-Recon: Angled slightly upwards.
  
MLD: How easy is it to load these NRG rounds? and how does the firing mechanism work?
Tek-Recon: During prototype testing, they are very easy to load as you simply drop the ammo into the cartridge chamber and it is guided to the bottom, meaning no room for error or mis-aligned rounds. Havok requires a muzzle that can be removed, however if jamming occurs, tilting the blaster or removing the clip solves this. There has been very little jamming in our testing. 
  
MLD: Eye protection and safety are paramount to Tek-Recon - will all blasters come with eye protection kit? If not, will fans be able to buy additional sets?
Tek-Recon: Definitely, safety is very important and although we’ve made sure the product is safe, any item hitting your eye will likely hurt. Therefore eyewear will be available and sold separately.
 
MLD: At the heart of all the Tek-Recon videos, I can see how you promote active play between friends and family. There certainly seems a lot of buzz - did you anticipate such a reception?
Tek-Recon: Absolutely, Bloomberg put it best when they said very bluntly “Tek Recon is the perfect product for Moms who want to get their kids off of the Xbox, and the perfect product for Kids who never want to stop playing Halo.”
Getting kids up and active is a great benefit of Tek Recon, however our goal was creating a compelling product with an insanely fun gameplay, active play is a great benefit of this.
We know kids love blasters as well as games like Halo and Call of Duty. As we’re the first company to blend these game styles, we sense a huge opportunity here with kids, teens, and even adults! All we can do is make the product and the app as fun and feature packed as possible in hopes that our fans enjoy it. That’s been our main focus, making sure our Tek Recon is feature packed!
 
Credit: Laptopmag - 90 round NRG round magazine
 
MLD: Will there be any plans to hold official tournaments? If so/not when might fans expect to see them?
Tek-Recon: Right now we’re focusing on developing the product, app, and web finalization however it’s a great idea. Likely wouldn’t be until year 2 however if the demand is there, we’ll look to set it up asap whenever required. We’ve discussed tournaments but nothing in firm detail.
 
MLD: What is Tek-Recons stance on internal/aesthetic modifications?
Tek-Recon: Fans will do what they want with our product, however we don’t recommend custom modifications as they may make the product dangerous or unstable.
 
MLD: Can you confirm how much will the HammerHead and Havok cost? and can fans expect a global release for Americas, Asia, EU, etc?
Tek-Recon: MSRP is $19.99 for the HammerHead, and $34.99 for the Havok. We plan for somewhat of a global release at the time being US, Canada, Australia. (US and Canada are confirmed, Australia is pending as well as a number of other international markets).
 
Credit: Laptopmag: - Capture the Flag Base counters -
Scan QR code with mobile device to score points and update all players!
 
MLD: Can fans expect a sniper style blaster from Tek-Recon in the future range and any accessories to customise their blaster? If so will these be sold individually or in a Battle Sets? (i.e.. Scope, Sling, Utility Belt, Tactical Vest)
Tek-Recon: We can definitely look into it! We are very focused on a successful development and launch of this range first.

MLD: Will the Tek-Recon blasters use - or plan to use any batteries?
Tek-Recon: Currently there are no batteries required by our blasters.
 
 (Tek-Recon: I do apologize for referring to the blaster as a gun within the Laptop Magazine video.
 The product is a toy and is designed for a fun and safe play experience.)


 “Tek Recon is the perfect gift for parents who want to get their kids off the X Box for a few minutes and the perfect product for kids who never want to stop playing Halo” – Bloomberg Television
 
 
Brave Heroes emerge from the mist of battle - find out more here
  
I want to thank Tek-Recon for taking out the time from their super busy schedule for talking to me, and giving some much needed answers to fans.
 
So -- My answer? Tek Recon are one to follow closely in 2013 - I think the Game Changer in the blaster world is finally here. The laser tag concept is not new, but the way they're bringing together Digital Backyard Gaming with Live Action GPS Team Battles to another level. They are turning real life in to your own battlefield!
 
You can find out more by checking out, bookmark and subscribing below:
 

Tek Recon are now live on Kickstarter!! Become a Backer today to get your hands on the blasters early!

Oh before I go, I had to share this, it's so cute, EvanTube reviewing some of Tek4Kids other products!!

6 comments:

  1. Mh, "reusable ammo", provided that you find those small bands on the field. All blasters with Augmented Reality-function have been a letdown for me, being not much more than a geeky gimmick than a serious tool for competitive (adult) gameplay. Just my opinion, they do look great though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what's your idea of a serious tool for competitive (adult) gameplay. Or in other words, what do you think should be changed to make them serious tool for competitive (adult) gameplay.

      Delete
    2. what's your idea of a serious tool for competitive (adult) gameplay. Or in other words, what do you think should be changed to make them serious tool for competitive (adult) gameplay.

      Delete
    3. what do you think they should improve about these to make them more of a serious tool for competitive (adult) gameplay.

      Delete
  2. looks awesome, they sound nice and im looking forward to picking them up!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great job on the interview, and I will most definitely be picking these up, I had some concerns but it's all good now!

    ReplyDelete