When I was younger I read an essay that told how the leaders of Soviet Russia enforced a standard of low quality in the creation of their toys. The reason for doing this was to instill low quality expectations from future Russian Citizens. While this was obviously a propaganda piece designed to make me think less of communist Russia, it resonates with me because I’m forced to do tech support on my son’s toys. The toy provoking this blog entry is the EA Sports Voice Command Pitching Machine. I’m going to put a new set of batteries in the thing and give it one more chance but given that it started out with new batteries in the first place I’m not holding out much hope. Now, this is in contrast to the Nintendo Wii and the Easton Junior Pitchback Elite. The problem with the Wii is that it’s made so well that he cannot unplug the Nunchuk attachment. The pitchback is a solid toy that does one thing but does it extremely well.
Jay’s growing up in a Mac/Linux/TiVo world so when toys disappoint like this it really bugs him. When I look at his face I have to ask if we are doing our children any good when we provide them with poor quality toys. In consumer goods I believe that your choice is: cost, feature set, quality: pick two. It’s hard watching my son learn this.