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HomeAi in GamingMattel Introduces an AI-Enhanced Edition of the beloved Pictionary Game

Mattel Introduces an AI-Enhanced Edition of the beloved Pictionary Game


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is artificial intelligence better at playing Pictionary? Or better at selling the game? MattelMAT is about to find out.

Mattel announced today that it is releasing Pictionary Vs. AI, which updates the classic game by turning the image recognition part of the game over to an AI program trained to recognize drawings and ask “Is that a house?” (or a boat, or an alligator, or any of the other things game players draw while playing Pictionary.)

The toy industry has been using AI to create robotic and interactive toys for some time, but Mattel’s Pictionary Vs. AI is the first time the toymaker has added artificial intelligence tech to a classic board game.

“Pictionary Vs. AI continues to build upon our impressive portfolio by offering a new, modern way that fans can engage with the brand, combined with hilarious quick draw gameplay they’ve always loved,” said Ray Adler, vice-president and global head of games at Mattel, in announcing the new game.

In classic Pictionary gameplay, teams compete to see which can guess drawn clues more quickly and accurately. The game is inspired by charades, but the clues are sketched, not acted out.

In Pictionary Vs. AI, the AI does the guessing, and players score by predicting if AI will guess correctly or not.

The AI version of the game is launched after the players scan a QR code with a mobile phone. The AI in the game utilizes Google’sGOOG Quick, Draw! artificial intelligence that has been trained by scanning millions of user-submitted drawings. The AI data is then paired with computer vision to guess sketches made on erasable whiteboards included with the game.

The game is being unveiled at the Code Conference in Orange County, California, which is being held today and tomorrow.

The game has been certified by the U.S. Entertainment Software Rating Board as Privacy Certified, and is compliant with COPPAPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), according to Mattel.

Consumers will be able to pre-order the $24.99 game on the Mattel e-commerce site Mattel Shop starting tomorrow. It will be available online from AmazonAMZN, WalmartWMT, and TargetTGT starting Oct. 2.

Pictionary was created by Robert Angel, along with graphic designer Gary Everson, and first sold in 1985 by Angel Games. The rights to the game were acquired by HasbroHAS in 1994, and then sold to Mattel in 2001.

According to Mattel, citing 2022 statistics from research firm Circana, Pictionary ranks as the #3 family board/action game globally.

Toymakers are embracing AI, both as a way to enhance existing toys and as a way to create new ones. Toy Fair, which opens in New York this weekend, is hosting a session on how the toy industry can use generative AI as part of its educational program.

Allan Wong, chief executive of VTech Holdings, predicted in a recent interview in Financial Times that within the next five years, the ChatGPT chatbot could be used in teddy bears and other toys to enable them to read stories to children, talk to them, and answer in-depth questions.

In today’s announcement, Sven Gerjets, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Mattel, hinted that more AI-enhanced versions of classic games may be in the works. “There are many play patterns to explore around new tech to enhance engagement with physical toys,” Gerjets said.

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Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama, a lifelong enthusiast of Artificial Intelligence, has been exploring technology and the digital realm since childhood. Known for his creative thinking, he's dedicated to improving AI experiences for all, making him a respected figure in the field. His passion, curiosity, and creativity drive advancements in the AI world.
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