Did Nerf just... Nerf its guns?
Remember when Keurig used digital rights management (DRM) to force its coffee machines to only accept company-approved coffee pods?
Now, foam dart toy brand Nerf, by Hasbro, is trying something similar. A new line of foam dart blasters called Nerf Ultra promise to launch specially-designed darts 120 feet — but the system won't work with knockoff darts, The Wall Street Journal reports. How exactly the blaster detects an incompatible dart is still unclear.
Knockoff Nerf darts have become ubiquitous in the industry thanks to their simple design that makes them "easy to copy," Hasbro VP Michael Ritchie told the WSJ.
The new DRM could make Hasbro a bucket of money. Twenty of the new Ultra darts will put you back ten bucks — for the same amount you can pick up 200 previous-generation knockoff darts on Amazon.
Knockoff blasters have also been flooding the market, undercutting Nerf and causing them to lose some of their market share, the WSJ reports.
Whether or not the new Ultra lineup of blasters and darts will manage to keep the third-party industry at bay is unclear. As The Verge put it: "If the new darts are good, the community will find a way."
READ MORE: Parents, Beware: Nerf’s Newest Blasters Won’t Fire Knockoff Darts [The Wall Street Journal]