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Announcing my new game: Hot Wheels id

By on July 17, 2019
Hot Wheels id AppStore icon

I am delighted to announce my new role and my new game!

You may have noticed that I have been quieter on GAMESbrief recently. Part of that is that I published The Pyramid of Game Design at the start of this year, which was pretty busy.

Cover art
Hot Wheels id

But the bigger reason was that since September 2018, I have been Game Director on an exciting new mixed-play experience: Hot Wheels id.

Hot Wheels wants to build a new type of play experience, one that blends the best of free-to-play game design with modern, technologically advanced toy design. The result is Hot Wheels id.

Image result for hot wheels id gameplay
Hot Wheels id City Base Layer

It consists of a digital app that you can download right now on iOS and Android. It’s a free-to-play racing game with over 600 races chock-full of progression, upgrading and earning, as you would expect from any F2P game.

But Hot Wheels id also comes with physical play. You can buy Hot Wheels id cars. Each has an NFC chip inside it. Scan the car, and it comes alive in the app, becoming part of your game.

Hot Wheels id Smart Track

The car is only part of the equation. Add in the Hot Wheels portal or Smart Track, and you get a whole new experience. The app knows which configuration of Smart Track you are using. It knows which car you are using. It knows how far it has driven, how fast it has raced, how many loops it has completed. And it remembers. 

These cars can be levelled up. You can compare them to prove whose car is best. You can compare different stats ranging from most races won to furthest miles driven.

Mattel (the owners of Hot Wheels) have been very focused on making sure that the digital and physical experiences are both awesome, but that they combine to create a mixed play experience that is innovative and exciting.

For me, it combines so many things I love:

  • Using free to find your audience, earning the right to talk to them again and enabling superfans, the central thesis of The Curve.
  • Thinking about enabling superfans, when we have both digital experiences and purchasing new Hot Wheels cars to support.
  • Ethical free-to-play design without lootboxes, while still providing long term engagement and value for players.
  • Helping a company steeped in the physical world to navigate the challenges of an online play experience.
  • Using my work on the Session (one of the two key tenets of The Pyramid of Game Design) to bring kids into a digital play experience and then nudge them out to a physical play experience
  • Being a cool Dad 🙂

It’s been really fun working intensely on a single game with a talented team on two continents. I love consulting, but I’ve found the deep dive on Hot Wheels id challenging and rewarding.

Check out the game in the digital stores, the toy in physical stores and the video below. If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them!

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: