Can Video Games Be Considered Toys?

A thing you can play with. Is that automatically a toy?

This is the thing we’re trying to answer in today’s article where we’re debating an interesting subject suggested by our readers: are video games toys?

Interestingly, many people consider video games toys. Just because you can “play games” and you can “play with toys”. But there’s equally more people who consider video games something else than toys.

Even Best Buy seems to have conflicting beliefs. According to a report from the Consumerist, when one Best Buy customer tried to use a coupon that was intended for the purchase of toys to buy some video games, he was not allowed. However, the company lists video games under the “Games & Toys” category on their website…

So how is it, in the end? Can we consider video games part of the toys category or vice-versa?

For those who consider games part of the toys category, there are a few arguments that we’re listing below:

– the term “toys” is extremely vague nowadays and it basically refers to a means of playing a game. The actual game itself can be considered a toy since we’re talking about physical products (consoles, discs for the games – even though these are starting to lose popularity).

Those who consider video games to be more – or at least something else than toys – have, among others, these valid reasons:

– Video games let you play. They are not toys, as other games like hide an seek and so on can’t be considered toys, even though you do play these!

– Toys are simple tools. In order to turn them into something entertaining, you need to use your imagination or operate them somehow. The toy – the physical object – doesn’t mean much without the human component, but it’s still easy to identify it as one. Toys are obvious.

– Toys rarely come with goals. Some have pointers, some have obvious goals, but most toys don’t have goals like video games do. Go there, achieve that, level up your character, follow this route.

I personally believe that considering video games toys is wrong. Video games and toys are very different. Even though they sometimes meet the same requirements and seem to provide for the same values or needs, they are still extremely different.

Video games are media, in the end. They offer entertainment, more like TV does – but to a greater level of interaction.

What do you think about this, though? Should we consider video games toys or not?