Barbie’s app-connected Dreamhouse suffers major glitch on Christmas


Mattel’s attempt to bring Barbie into the internet age with an app-connected, voice-controlled Barbie Hello Dreamhouse left many users out in the cold on Sunday.

The toy allows children to control the functions in the tiny house (opening doors, controlling its elevator, turning lights on) using voice commands.

But on Sunday, Christmas morning, a number of users have reported problems using the toy’s voice command, with many saying they got a message reading “Error Code 18” when trying to use the toy.

“Santa brought a Hello Dreamhouse but all we’re getting is an error code,” wrote one user on Twitter, while yet another wrote, “#hellodreamhouse error code 18 is spoiling Christmas morning. Can you help? No info in directions for this one! #help.”

According to one user, the Hello Dreamhouse instruction manual says that the “Error Code 18” message refers to a wireless network issue. The same manual suggests moving the toy house closer to a router or modem for a stronger signal. However, when that user followed the manual’s guidance, it didn’t resolve the issue.

In response to user concerns, ToyTalk, the company behind the tech powering the Hello Dreamhouse, released the following statement to users:

“Today, a small number of users are experiencing service issues due to the extremely high volume of demand we’ve seen with the Barbie Hello Dreamhouse. Our engineers have identified and resolved many of these issues, however intermittent problems may still exist as we continue to increase capacity. If you’re still experiencing issues, we recommend that you power cycle the Barbie Hello Dreamhouse by turning the Dreamhouse off for 15 seconds and then powering it back on.”

Nevertheless, long after Christmas morning had passed, some users still reported problems with the tech-enabled toy. /It’s unclear whether or not the issue impacted all users, as some have shared images of freshly unwrapped Dreamhouse toys on social media with no complaints of the aforementioned error code.

So while the good news is that we’ve finally reached the era of mainstream tech-powered toys, it turns out that if the toy is too popular, it may suffer the same problems as other tech services slammed with massive user activity.

For its part, ToyTalk has issued apologies to those affected by the glitch. Neither ToyTalk nor Mattel immediately responded to a request for comment from Mashable.

“We’re very sorry for any trouble this may have caused you and your family,” the emailed statement to users continued, “and we thank you for your patience and understanding. Happy Holidays, The ToyTalk Team.”


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