and Teens in
A KZero Worldswide report
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 1
V irtual worlds are not just for adults. In fact, kids, tweens
and teens (KT&T) worlds account for a significantly
higher proportion of users than all the major ‘grown-up’
worlds combined - and these user-bases are growing
This KZero Worldswide virtual worlds case study identifies,
explains and analyses the major virtual worlds with youth-
Brand and marketing activities in
t h e s e d i g i t a l i n t e r a c t i ve
environments are also rationalised
and assessed, along with strategies
for companies looking to enter this
This case study is ideal for companies seeking to create new
KT&T virtual worlds as well as marketers wishing to open
dialogues with hard-to-reach youth demographics.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 2
Virtual worlds explained The rapid take-up of virtual worlds is also a factor of
general progression in the ﬁeld of IT. Broadband
2007 was the year in which virtual worlds, or penetration has increased rapidly in recent years and
metaverses, caught the attention of mass media. Led prices for these services are falling.
primarily by Second Life, virtual worlds were widely
reporting on due to the number of brands across Coupled to this is the increase in computing power
diﬀerent sectors which entered and created presences and decrease in the cost of computers, thus enabling a
and campaigns in-world. far greater experience (in a virtual world) compared to
simply reading information or watching a video from a
But what is a virtual world? In essence, it’s an online
static website. The graph below shows a KZero
3D environment where people (avatars) can interact
forecast for unique users of virtual worlds in the KT&T
with each other by communication (text or voice
chat), collaboration and shared experiences.
And, although Second Life was the poster child for 250m
virtual worlds in 2007, as the case study will prove, it’s 200m
kids, tweens and teens (KT&T) which have really
embraced metaverses much faster than ‘grown-ups’.
That’s not to mean that grown-up worlds are not
important or do not play a role in the future 2007 2008
development of virtual spaces. They will, and as we’ll 2009 0m
see through 2009 and 2010, a wide range of diﬀerent 2011
uses and applications will be created. And, as virtual worlds for KT&T become more popular,
However, as overall user (or resident) numbers the number of worlds available to them is growing
demonstrate, KT&T worlds present signiﬁcant with mainstream brands and companies now actively
marketing and branding opportunities for both placing their brands and products into them in a
marketers and companies wishing to create their own variety of innovative ways.
Demonstrating the growth in this sector, there are
now over 150 virtual worlds either live or in
Why are they growing? development.
KZero uses the term ‘Pages to Places’ to refer to and
explain the migration and popularity of virtual worlds. This case study identiﬁes and explains the virtual
worlds available as well as demonstrates how real
In the context of KT&T, todays’ children are introduced world brands are deploying marketing activities.
to computers at an extremely early age (both at
school and home) and have a much more open mind The following section details virtual worlds in the
than adults when it comes to new computing KT&T sector, both live and in development.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 3
In terms of the actual activities in Club Penguin, the
crux of this virtual world is the ability to play (mini)
games with other people in the form of Penguins.
Players are able to chat with other players in a
Positioned as a safe virtual world for kids to play, moderated format.
interact with friends and have fun letting their
imaginations soar, Club Penguin is a browser-based Club Penguin is ad-free, meaning no advertising of
metaverse with over 28m registered accounts. The third-party products or services are allowed in-world.
recommended ages range for Club Penguin is six - 14.
Population growth was extremely rapid, aided mostly
by word of mouth viral activity in playgrounds and in
Geared as an educational virtual world, where
late summer 2007 the company was acquired by the
registered ‘citizens’ come from all over to learn, create
Walt Disney Corporation in a deal worth $350m.
and have fun together, Whyville has over 5m
registered accounts. The recommended ages range for
Whyville is eight - 15.
Whyville was created by Numedeon Inc, with
collaboration from the California Institute of
Technology and focusses hard to create constructive
educational activities with subjects ranging from
science and maths through to art and economics. It is
The world itself is available via standard web
browsers, as opposed to a downloadable client and
oﬀers two types of membership. Children can use Club
Penguin for free, as a non-member.
This level of access allows children to go anywhere in
the world (except to member parties) and purchase
(using in-game currency) a limited number of items.
Subscribed members get additional beneﬁts such as
additional game items and up to 14 diﬀerent game An in-world currency, the Clam, is in place in Whyville.
characters - known as Puﬄes. Subscription costs Users (Whyvillians) accumulate Clams by
$5.95, $29.95 or $57.95 for monthly, six months or participating in activities. Clams can then be used to
annual access respectively. access enhanced features in-world such as the ability
to own their own virtual business or to purchase ‘face
parts’, furniture or other goods.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 4
In April 2007, the Gaia Cinemas feature was added,
allowing Gaians to sit in virtual movie theatres and
watch ﬁlms and other forms of programming. Gaia
allows third-party companies to enter the world to
Gaia Online is a anime-themed browser-based virtual create marketing-led initiatives and user experiences.
environment launched in 2003 by Gaia Interactive.
Registered accounts currently stands at over 18m.
Gaia Online is positioned as an ‘online hangout’ and
openly encourages and facilities avatar customisation.
Gaia Online is a tween world, allowing anyone over
the age of 13 to join for free. There is only one type of Based on the popular stuﬀed animal range of toys
membership (free). from Webkinz (a Ganz company), Webkinz World is an
interactive website (broswer-based) allowing children
to ‘adopt’ a virtual version of their pet. Webkinz was
launched in 2005.
Every Webkinz animal sold comes with an eight-
character code. This code allows access to the virtual
Webkinz world where there are over 5m members.
The age range for participation is six to 13.
Adopting a virtual pet provides each user with
Kinzcash, the in-world currency and then allows them
A major aspect of Gaia Online are forums. The
to spend it in the W Shop on food and clothing for
company claims that there are over 1 billion posts on
the Gaia forums and that 300,000 members log-in to
Gaia every day, spending an average of two hours on
Users of Gaia (Gaians) can earn Gaia Gold (the in-
world currency) by participating in activities such as
events based around holiday celebrations. Over 190m
Gaia Gold is exchanged every day in-world.
Gaians are also able to purchase (using real money)
‘Monthly Collectables’ - special items added to their
inventory.There is also a gaming element to Gaia
Activities in-world include the collection of virtual
Online, in the form of ﬂash-based games such as
items as well as participation in virtual TV shows via
Fishing, Jigsaw and Rally. Players are rewarded by
the Webkinz studio.
participation with Gaia Gold.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 5
Competitions such as the ‘Pet of the Month’ are also The in-world currency is the Neopoint, earned by
held with accessories oﬀered as prizes. In addition to playing games and in fact, the economy is an
the ‘pet management’ aspect, Webkinz also provides a important aspect of the world, within a stock market
learning environment with interactive games such as (the Neodaq) and the ability for users to open virtual
Lunch Letters and Quizzy’s Word Challenge. shops and sell products.
As a brand-led world, Webkinz does not allow (at Neopets allows third-party advertising and marketing
present) third-party marketing. and has worked with a high number of brands in the
entertainment and consumer sectors.
Announced in July 2007, Nickelodeon Kids (owner of
Neopets) have stated that Neopets would be
transformed in Neostudios, with an aim of investing
Similar to Webkinz, Neopets is an interactive website $100m into the virtual world space. The ﬁrst of the
(browser-based) for virtual pets. Originally launched new worlds will be called World of Neopia, and is still
in 1999, Viacom bought the company in 2005 for in development.
$160m. Neopets has over 54m registered accounts in
total and is open to all ages
Habbo is a browser-based virtual Hotel created and
owned by the Sulake Corporation where teenagers
socialise with each other using personalised avatars.
Over 135m avatars (accounts) have been created since
launch in 1999.
Within the environment (called Neopia), users can
look after up to four pets and buy associated items for
There are two levels of membership, free and
premium. A premium account, costing £7.99 per
The virtual Hotel features 'public' rooms where all
month provides additional features.
players can chat and private 'guest' rooms created by
players. Teenagers are able to furnish their Habbo
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 6
guest rooms with items of virtual furniture and may
choose to adopt and look after a virtual pet. Habbo
also features a number of mini-games within the
Habbo has an in-world currency, Coins, available for
purchase with real money and awarded as prizes.
Habbo allows entrance from third-party brands and
companies for marketing (and other) purposes. The
minimum age to create a Habbo account is 13. The minimum age to create an account in There is 13,
with no upper age limit. Basic membership is free
with premium accounts allowing voice chat and event
hosting costing a one-time fee of $9.95.
Virtual world There is positioned as an online getaway
where you can hang out with your friends and meet Brand and marketing activity is allowed in There.
new ones. The company was originally founded in
1998 and is a downloadable application.
In April 2004 it was purchased by Makena Kaneva Inc was founded in 2004 as a 3D virtual world
Technologies and has enjoyed growth since. There are by Chris Klaus and Greg Frame. The company focuses
currently over 2.5m registered accounts (estimated). on providing a virtual space combined with social
There is aimed at teenagers and young adults with an networking capabilities and is a downloadable
average user age of 22. This slightly older tween application.
world is often referred to as a younger Second Life Kaneva is oﬃcially still in beta, although it is
(the average age of a Second Life resident is 32). estimated to have over 2m registered accounts to date.
Whereas most kids and tween worlds focus on
including gaming within the virtual space, There
concentrates on being an immersive social space - a
shared experience that allows people to interact in an
Users also have a higher degree of customisation tools
than in younger worlds and development of virtual
items is allowed.
The in-world currency is the There Buck, purchased
using real money. A core feature of Kaneva is the ability to integrate
web-based media such as video and pictures into an
apartment setting given to all members.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 7
As such, this world is one of the ﬁrst to actively
attempt to bridge the gap between social networking
sites and a 3D virtual environment.
The in-world currency is known as credits which can
be purchased via credit card from the website. Credits
can be used to purchase items within the world.
Additionally, avatars can earn rewards by completing
tasks and participating in events.
Kaneva accepts marketing from third party brands.
The average age of a Kaneva resident is estimated in
the 17 - 21 age range and the minimum age is 14.
Stardoll is one of few places on the Internet developed
with an emphasis on girls' self-expression through
fantasy and fashion play (although several new virtual
worlds are looking to emulate Stardolls’ success by
Stardoll was founded in Sweden in 2004 and is a launching similar platforms).
website/virtual environment that allows users to dress
The in-world currency is called the Stardollar (one
up virtual mannequins in a range of diﬀerent fashion
USD equals eight Stardollars) and new members
and celebrity styles.
receive 25 Stardollars. Additional clothing items are
available by purchasing currency via credit cards.
Stardoll has over 33m registered accounts and is
Stardoll accepts third-party marketing and brands
obviously tailored more towards girls than boys.
such as DKNY and Sephora are already promoting
Taken from the website, ‘Stardoll is a virtual paperdoll
community site for everyone who enjoys fashion,
design and making friends. At Stardoll you can create
your own MeDoll or choose from our ever growing
collection of celebrity dolls and dress them up in our
wide selection of fashions. Every celebrity doll has a SmallWorlds is a browser-based virtual world
wardrobe full of unique clothes and there are new dolls currently open to the public created by Outsmart. It
released every week. The membership is completely was fully launched in late 2008.
FREE and most of our members are girls between the
ages of 7 and 17.’ SmallWorlds allows users to create and customize
their own rooms and worlds, and ﬁll them with a
wide variety of items and activities for them and their
friends to enjoy together.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 8
From the website: ‘SmallWorlds is a new generation of The primary focus of IMVU is the ability to use
virtual world that runs inside your web browser, personalized 3D avatars and environments that let the
without the need to download or install any other user interact with the person they are chatting with.
software. SmallWorlds combines media, web content,
and casual games into a highly accessible & compelling Membership is free, although virtual items (over 2m
3D world that integrates seamlessly with the rest of the created) require the in-world currency - credits, to
web, bringing Virtual Worlds into the mainstream.’ purchase them.
The secondary focus of IMVU is allowing the members
to develop content that can be purchased by other
members for use in personalizing their avatars and
With their online friends and acquaintances, they can
share experiences like playing games, watching
YouTube videos, listening to their favourite bands,
browsing through photo galleries, and so much more.
SmallWorlds brings together the best aspects of
online games, instant messaging, social networks and
digital media, and wraps them into a persistent virtual
world that is never more than a hyperlink away.’ Third-party marketing is allowed and according to the
company there are over 35m registered accounts.
It is not currently known if Smallworlds will accept
third-party marketing but due to the presence of a
Partners section on their website, it is expected to be
Use of SmallWorlds is free although a premium
version will be available on full launch to purchase
virtual items. The minimum age is not currently Built using the technology created by Makena for
known. There, Virtual MTV is a suite of virtual worlds serving
various MTV TV programmes. vMTV was launched in
2006 and is estimated to have over 4.5m registered
vMTV is designed to create a virtual place for viewers
IMVU is a 3D chat environment created in 2004 by of programmes such as Laguna Beach, The Hills, Kaya,
IMVU Inc. Pimp My Ride and and The Real World.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 9
given an apartment which can be customised as well
as control over their appearance. ‘spaces’ in Home
dedicated to games (with ten-pin bowling, pool
tables and retro arcade games), media Furthermore,
Sony is creating various ‘spaces’ in Home dedicated to
games (with ten-pin bowling, pool tables and retro
arcade games), media (with streaming videos of
upcoming PS3 games and Sony movies) and retail
A key aspect of vMTV is competitions and MTV works areas.
hard to integrate aspects of their real world shows in-
Selected, complementary third-party marketing is
allowed in Home, the ﬁrst campaign coming from Red
Bull allowing players to race around an aerial circuit in
Clothing and fashion-related items are available for
a Red Bull racing plane.
purchase (using a credit-card). In early 2009, vMTV
was re-branded to MTV 3D and a new browser-based
world was named vMTV.
Lego Universe is a virtual world being created for
Lego’s core audience of kids aged 8 -12. It is not
known when this world will be launched but it is
Playstation Home is a virtual world currently being anticipated to be early 2010.
developed by Sony (in beta) and will reside on the
PS3 gaming console. Home launched in December of Lego Universe is expected to leverage the building
2008. aspect of Lego and allow players to construct the
world using their own imagination.
In essence, Home is intended to be a place PS3 owners
visit before and after they are playing games on the
“LEGO Universe ties together all aspects of our
community and line of products in an online
It is a highly graphical environment maximising the environment that can be enjoyed by LEGO fans of all
capabilities of the console. Within Home, players are ages.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 10
By merging the online world of social interaction with VizWoz caters for all tastes and interests in the teen
the LEGO concept of play, LEGO Universe will provide sector including ﬁlm, music, sport and fashion, is the
our community with an entirely new way to experience ﬁrst in online safety to have its very own police force
LEGO and connect with other players in a fun and 'VizCops', and is set to become the future of chat and
imaginative setting” gaming."
Third-party marketing is not expected to be available. Vizwoz is free to play and also has a premium-
subscription model available providing enhanced
features to residents. Third-party marketing will be
allowed in Vizwoz. Vizwoz has 750,000 registered
Launched in March 2008, Vizwoz is a 2.5D browser-
based virtual world aimed at early teens.
The world is based around socialising with diﬀerent
zones and areas available to explore. Taken from a
statement from the founder: A new aspect of virtual worlds is starting to emerge
known as ‘Vertical Worlds’. These are platforms created
"VizWoz is a stimulating, interesting and safe virtual to address a speciﬁc interest or genre. The ﬁrst genre
world for kids and teenagers to explore, meet friends, being explored on this basis is sports and one example
make friends and hang out whilst stretching their of this is Empire of Sports.
imagination and creativity.
VizWoz appeals to both boys and girls who log on,
create their own character and move from room to
room chatting, playing games and hanging out with
friends for free.
Empire of Sports launched in December 2008(beta)
and is a downloadable application. It is a 3D world
based around playing sports.
Taken from their website:
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 11
“A world where you can realize your wildest dreams The minimum age for FS is between ten and 13. Third-
awaits. Embark on a journey that will take you from party marketing is allowed, the ﬁrst brand entering
ambitious amateur to the heights of sports stardom. being Puma.
Empire of Sports, the ﬁrst true multi sports gaming
Empire of Sports" is not a MMORPG, it's something new.
It's both familiar yet far beyond what you have seen so
OurWorld is a browser-based virtual world currently in
far. You will immediately feel at home while you
beta and is expected to launch in November 2009. The
experience a brand new realm of sports entertainment.”
target market is kids with the average age of 16 and
Kids and tweens will be allowed access and third- aims to combine casual games, socialising and quest-
party marketing is expected to be allowed. based activities. The CEO and VP is on record as
"We think people want to have fun, chill out, meet
other people. We're all about cooperation. The more
Another vertical world is Football Superstars (FS). This
people you play with in your room, the more currency
world was launched in November 2008 and is a
virtual world and gaming experience purely based on
football (soccer). These diﬀerent characters that you'll start meeting
throughout the exploration of the world, we want to
tease some of these things, so you can unlock new
environments or meet the designers," explained VP and
Executive Wanda Gregory. "It's kind of a fun
environment, and it's based on what kids want: that
freedom and how you can personalize yourself. Kids
come on and they don't want to get oﬀ."
Whereas existing football games on consoles allow It is not currently known if third-party advertising will
the player to control the entire team, FS will instead be permitted. OurWorld has 2m registered accounts.
oﬀer the functionality for people to play in one
position as part of a team made up of people all
online at the same time.
When players are not competing in matches, they will Woogi World launched in Q3 2008 and was developed
be able to live the life of a virtual footballer, engaging by the nonproﬁt Children’s Way Foundation.
in a world of luxury items, social events and training Woogiworld.com is virtual world for elementary
exercises. school children, with the average age of 7.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 12
It is important to know that this educational virtual
world for elementary school kids aims to teach its
young users good character traits, Internet skills,
leadership, community service and health.
Handipoints is another virtual world aimed at younger
children, with the average age being 7 years old. The
In Woggi World, users adopt a Woggi, and use this
site is all about “making work fun.”
Woggi to learn and play in-world. In -world, Woggi’s
earn watts, the in-world currency, which are then
used to buy clothing for the Woggis and other items.
Activities and games in Woggi World are based around
topics such as nutrition, economics, mathematics,
reading and many more.
“In this virtual community children’s “real world” chores
earn them big prizes and new adventures in a safe
online environment that is controlled and monitored by
Digital Dollhouse launched in Nov 2008 and is an parents.”
immersive playspace accessed via browser.
“HandiLand is very similar to Club Penguin and
In Digital Dollhouse members can create themed Webkinz in ways that you can adopt and dress up a
rooms in a house (starting with the Dream Victorian). cartoon cat, walk around to diﬀerent towns and interact
Near photo-realistic household goods and items can with other kids.”
be arranged in the rooms.
A big aspect of Handipoints are their Chore Charts.
Kids use these chore charts in-world to list their real-
life chores, and when they complete their chores, they
win points in-world allowing them access to games
This platform is suitable for brands in the home
furnishing, luxury goods and interior design categories
(brand marketing is allowed).
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 13
JumpStart is a virtual world targeted at kids with the
average age of 6 years old. JumpStart is adventure
based learning for kids. EcoBuddies’ goal is to normalize environmental
concepts for children who are ﬁve to 12 years of age
JumpStart is an award-winning adventure based 3D and provide them with a world of games, fun, and
virtual world that is super-personalized, widly friends.
imaginative and really fun, but do not let that fool you
- it also teaches math, reading and critical thinking EcoBuddies focuses on educating children about
skills so kids get a real jump start in life. environmentalism. The website is based on
ecosystems with the ﬁrst ‘launched’ world mirroring
Jumpstart has over 1m registered accounts. the west coast of British Columbia, Oregon,
Washington, and California.
Chapatiz was launched in 2005. In the world of
Chapatiz, children ages six to 12, play online in a safe
Kids’ avatars, named ‘Buddies’ in-world (in the form of
lovable hamsters), ﬁrst enter a hub, seemingly in the
middle of the earth, and then travel through a tube to
the west coast.
The world of EcoBuddies is ﬁlled with fun and
adventure for children. Their Buddies can currently
Chapatiz is a free online game. Users can chat, make
buy houses and furniture, dress in a large selection of
friends, create their own avatar and make it evolve.
costumes, and in the future will be able to purchase
Users of Chapatiz can play all by themselves or with
pets and other curios. There is also a large selection of
other members; they can also create groups or even
games for Buddies to play, such as bowling, hang-
gliding, blasting comets, and dancing.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 14
While the world seems to have a large social
component, it's being billed as an MMORPG with
customizable avatars, guilds, skill systems, and a
Xivio is an online virtual world where kids can meet,
There's combat and puzzle solving, but also crafting,
play, shop and collaborate. Kids can design their own
houses to customize, and puzzles. Targeted at females
avatar, apartment, play games, collect rare items,
in their pre-teens to twenties, the downloadable
attend parties and more.
world is free to play, but will monetize oﬀ of the Item
Mall, which "allows players to use real money to
The Guardians on Xivio (avatars with halos), have
purchase special items and upgrades for characters."
special abilities within the world of Xivio. Guardians
are able to warn, mute, remove, and/or ban users not
following safe chat guidelines, or for using profanity.
They also contribute to rating user uploaded media,
blogs and journal entries, music, and videos.
Excerpted from the website description:
Buildabearville.com was launched in 2007 by Build-
“The 3D Virtual World Experience. Full of colorful, A-Bear Workshop. Currently, Buildabearville.com has
interesting things to do! Chat, music, Blog, Share Pics over 5m registered users. This virtual world is targeted
and Videos. No download required!” at children with an average age of nine years old.
The in-world currency is called Vio and with Vios, users Similar to Webkinz strategy, after buying their new
can purchase cool items from the Xivio Catalog. plush toy at a retail store in real life, kids can log on to
Buildabearville.com and bring their bear to life in the
One earns Vios by spending time on Xivio or inviting virtual world.
friends to sign-up and join Xivio world. Xivio is safe for
children to use; the average age is 8. In-world, kids can earn virtual currency by
participating in games and quests. Currency can be
used to buy clothes and furniture for their Cub Condo
homes, among other items.
Hello Kitty Online is a virtual world in which children,
primarily girls aged eight and up, play with their
avatars, blog, email, share videos and much more. It is
a product of Sanrio and Typhoon Games.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 15
Whirled launched in the beginning of 2008 by San
Francisco developer Three Rings, targets children age
13 and up.
Poptropica is a virtual world for kids to travel, play
Whirled is a web-based social world fueled at every games, compete in head-to-head competitions and
turn by player created content - everything from communicate safely. Kids can also read books, comics
avatars, to games, to pet monsters, can be custom and more.
designed and 'remixed' by players using easy Flash
Whirled is currently in live, open-beta testing.
Action All Stars is a browser based, sports themed
virtual world for children ages six - 14.
Some information from the company website states: Poptropica was created by the Family Education
Network and launched in September 2007.
“The foundation of ActionAllStars.com is built upon four Poptropica’s virtual world targets children with the
"C's": Compete, Collect, Customize and Chat. A average age of nine - 10 years old. There are currently
combination of sports news and fun, pick-up-and-play over 76m registered users.
games, in addition to a leveling and challenge-based
system inﬂuenced by real-world sporting events, keeps
the experience fresh and relevant for everyone.”
Chobots is an entertaining virtual world, a family
game aimed at creating an interesting, safe and
learning environment for children aged eight and up.
Chobots remains free to play overall, but monthly
subscriptions will oﬀer extra beneﬁts, including
exclusive clothes, upgrades for users virtual houses,
In the future Chobots plans to roll out extra furniture,
pet upgrades, and new areas for subscribers.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 16
Dizzywood is a fun free game for kids where they can
play free games, explore unique and imaginative
Moshi Monsters was created with the intention to
areas, and meet new friends in a safe environment.
produce a ground-breaking new entertainment
experience that would be fun, safe and educational for
Dizzywood oﬀers children ages eight to 12 the
kids of all ages.
opportunity to create their own adventure, cooperate
with other players in exciting games and challenges,
Visitors to the site can adopt their very own pet
and have fun while learning.
Monster, give it a name and design its color scheme.
Each Monster has a lively personality that develops
Dizzywood launched in November, 2007 and currently
the more it is played with.
has over 1m registered users. It's currently free to use
and there are no advertisements on the website.
Franktown Rocks was created by Brainwave Studios, a
high tech children’s entertainment company, and is for
children ages six - 12.
Monster owners can nurture their pet by solving daily
puzzle games to earn Rox, the in-game currency. Rox
can be used to buy weird and wonderful things in the
virtual shop to keep Monsters healthy and happy.
Monster owners can make new friends and connect
with existing friends through a wide variety of safe
Franktown Rocks was set out to create a music based
social networking features such as Monster blogs,
virtual world where children can play games, have
Newsfeeds, pinboards and buddy lists.
fun, learn about music and interact in a safe
Moshie Monsters has almost 4m users to date.
The company opened Franktown Rocks for public
testing in May 2008 and oﬃcially launched in October
2008. Third-party marketing is allowed.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 17
MinyanLand, home of Hoofy the Bull and Boo the
Bear, is a virtual world in which kids get to play games
and make friends, while learning about earning,
saving, spending and giving.
MinyanLand is free for users. Each user of MinyanLand When a user has adopted their pony, they he or she
starts out with $50,000 in MinyanMoney and a Condo will need to care for it so they can take it on virtual
worth $50,000. rides along Wiggins’, the in-world town, roads and
trails. Every few weeks a new trail opens for users to
Players, or Critters, visit the ATM in the Bank of ride and explore.
MinyanLand to invest their money and check their
account each time they log in to see if they’ve saved or Taken from the website:
not. By doing real-life chores assigned by parents,
users have the chance to earn more MinyanMoney or “In Club Pony Pals, like the real world, ponies are not
a virtual allowance. ATV's. Riding a pony means a rider has to keep track of
when they or their pony are hungry or tired.
A quote from their website:
Ponies teach their riders to have healthy boundaries, to
“We created MinyanLand as a platform to entertain accept responsibility with self-conﬁdence and to believe
and educate a young generation so they understand in themselves. Good riders know they can handle
the concept of a market and the basics of economics whatever comes their way.
and ﬁnance on a real world level. The economic system
of MinyanLand mimics the real-life pricing of general
goods and services. As players participate in the system,
their actions will aﬀect the overall MinyanLand
economy. This is how they will learn.”
Planet Cazmo is a virtual world set inside an alien
solar system that is inspired by music, hip-hop and
Club Pony Pals virtual world is based on the Pony Pals
other Earth cultural phenomenon.
books by Jeanne Betancourt. Club Pony Pals is a place
In Planet Cazmo, users create their own Cazmo or
to adopt a virtual pony. Players, ages seven and up, are
avatar and customize it with diﬀerent styles of
able to choose their pony’s color and name.
clothing, hair, eyes and more.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 18
Once a user creates their Cazmo, he or she can begin Constantly updated avatars, furniture items and other
by hanging out in town and making new friends by articles of daily use make it easy for the users to present
chatting in real time, or he/ she can jump right into a themselves and play to the gallery.
quick game of Space Race 5000 to earn Cazmo Coins,
the in-world currency. One may even choose to go The users create their world to their own taste and
and talk to the Mayor and decide to take on his quest. liking and thus become directors of settings and scenes
Customization is made possible in Planet Cazmo by without restrictions.”
decorating one’s own personal Cazmo house. Each
Cazmo can choose from a growing inventory of chairs,
sofas, stereo systems, televisions, rugs, lamps and
more. MyMiniLife is a new form of entertainment and social
play experience that allows people to express
The average age of Planet Cazmo users is 13. There are themselves and connect in an artistic and fun way
currently 3m registered users on Planet Cazmo. through the online design of their own personal
Taken from the website:
“MyMiniLife allows people to expand their life, relax
and be creative by designing and decorating their
dream surroundings whether it is their everyday house,
Club Cooee is a 3D internet communication platform vacation home, ideal business, log cabin, dorm room,
for teenagers - think of it like a chatworld as opposed Manhattan loft, Tuscan villa and more.”
to a virtual world. It is currently in open beta and
launched at the end of 2008.
Taken from the website:
“The core of Club Cooee is an innovative and worldwide
unique 3D messenger capable of depicting a realtime
and live environment on the user’s Windows desktop –
without a surrounding programme window.”
The users can network online and interact with each
other in situations they created themselves. They can Users of MyMiniLife can construct and customize their
chat, watch movies and pictures, listen to music, play spaces and homes by building properties and
together and much more. Their own creativity is top neighborhoods. They can upload and sell useful
priority. objects such as furniture, and buy objects using
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 19
Spineworld is a multiplayer fantasy world where kids
can style their avatar, meet friends, play games, own a
pet, furnish an apartment and have fun.
It launched in April 2008 and is designed for young
teens aged 11 - 15 years old.
Participants of the virtual Muslim world customize
Taken from the Spineworld website: their avatar or Pal, they can purchase presents for
“Spineworld is an ever evolving story that moves friends with virtual money and seclude themselves to
forward in chapters, similar to a book. Chapter marks a prayer rooms, or dress up traditionally.
major change or addition to the worlds, new areas and Every character must satisfy their needs in areas of
species are constantly being discovered.” happiness, spirituality, shape and skills concerning
individual tasks. Muxlim Pal creators claim that it is
not a religious world, but its goal is to promote the
Muslim way of life.
Taken from the blog Tech Crunch about Muxlim Pal:
“The idea is that something tailored to the Muslim
world would be allowed through the IP-blocks of
countries like United Arab Emirates which currently
stops access to virtual worlds and online games
Spineworld has 2.8m registered users to date considered unsuitable or oﬀensive to Muslim culture.
The virtual world will “allow the opportunity to wear a
hijab (or head scarf), and go to prayer rooms.”
The revenue model will be VIP accounts, virtual gifts,
virtual furniture/clothes, themes/styles, proﬁle
applications, advertising, branded communities and
Muxlim is a Muslim-oriented virtual world. It was physical merchandise like t-shirts.”
created in late 2008 by the social network
Muxlim.com that has been live since 2006.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 20
Through Muxlim Pal users can have their online “Roiworld.com is a style portal that provides visitors
persona shop, play sports, go to concerts and socialize with a virtual wardrobe where fashion knows no
around the virtual town. As the pal prays or engages bounds. The site promises users access to over 65,000
in other religious activities its spirituality meter rises. fabulous clothing items; from minis to gowns, women
Elements deemed un-Islamic, like drugs and sexual will explore, experiment and discover their own sense of
references, are banned from the virtual world. style in a fun online game setting.
The predicted average user age of Muxlim Pal is 14 Roilife boasts the most sophisticated and artistic virtual
years. dress-up design talent in the world. Roiworld.com
provides the perfect setting for women to escape, have
fun and share their personalized style ideas with a
social network of their fashion-savvy friends.”
WeeWorld is a virtual world for tweens and teens. It is
a social network built for fun where users can meet
and interact with WeeMees (the in-world avatars),
invite friends, send messages, play games and create
personal online cartoon pages.
WeeMees are the in-world avatars, or a cartoon that
tends to look just like the user creating it. They are Taatu launched in the beginning of 2005 in Belgium
thought of as one’s own personal avatar or icon. and The Netherlands, and currently has 1.2m
WeeMees can be customized on the WeeWorld site or registered users. Its focus is for Dutch and French
on AIM.com. speakers and targets the 12 - 25 age group.
WeeWorld launched in 2006 and currently has 27m Taatu members chat with friends, listen to music,
users. watch videos, play games, meet real-life celebrities,
organize in-world parties and have fun.
In the world of Taatu, members create their identity by
customizing their Taatu, or avatar, and their personal
3D space. Users can generate content and share it with
other Taatus from their own space in-world.
Roiworld is a virtual world with a focus on style with
fashion games and dress-up games. The only gaming In-world advertising and brand marketing is allowed
destination is designed for teen girls and women. on Taatu.
Taken from the website:
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 21
Meez Nation launched in June 2008 and currently has
over 12m users. Meez is a thriving social
entertainment community of teens and college-aged
RocketOn launched in 2008 and allows users to take youth that create 3D avatars, play casual games,
their avatar everywhere they go online. connect with others in virtual worlds, share media and
participate in the virtual economy.
Members of RocketOn can adopt virtual pets, play Taken from the launch press release:
party games, go on virtual dates and participate in
treasure hunts and quests. “Meez Nation is designed to let everyday users easily
Quoted from their website: connect with others and share experiences. Residents
can chat with one another, watch YouTube videos
“You can now play with friends, socialize and explore together, listen to music and leave answering machines
virtual spaces on any webpages. You can join in messages.
treasure hunts across the web, meet friends on your
favorite sites, and ﬁnd virtual goodies as you browse.” By typing various text triggers such as "LOL," "OMG" or
"dance," Meez users can launch animations to amuse
others in Roomz. There are also numerous interactive
objects spread around Meez Nation to inject fun into the
scene, including walls that can be tagged with graﬃti
Frenzoo is a unique 3D avatar and dress-up games and a Tesla coil that zaps users.”
virtual community for fashion and lifestyle.
In addition to all this, Meez Nation provides unique
Users, or ztylists, design clothes and accessories and promotional opportunities for musicians, artists, and
sell them in their own 3D shop. Ztylists style their brand advertising to reach the enthusiastic population
avatars and join fashion games to win fame and coins of Meez.
(the in-world currency).
Frenzoo helps designers and brands showcase their
creations in beautiful, interactive and animated 3D,
allowing users to get deep impressions on their work.
Frenzoo is free for everyone to join and the website is Outspark launched in January 2008 and currently has
oﬀered in multiple languages. The average user age over 5m users. The average user age is 19. Outspark is
on Frenzoo is 17. a gaming 3D virtual world, oﬀering multiple games.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 22
Outspark games are free to play, but it allows players
to customize their characters via an innovative online
store. Items are designed for individual games.
Furthermore, the games feature dynamic content that
change on a daily basis to further entertain players
and drive the community’s engagement.
Outspark oﬀers a broad range of multiplayer titles
including fantasy role-playing and advanced casual
games like sports and racing, where players can meet, Registration and basic usage is free to all people
socialize and have fun with friends. wishing to join sMeet, but some premium services are
available by purchasing sMeet Coins. The average user
Third-party marketing and advertising is allowed on age is 18; minors are allowed access to some of
Outspark. sMeet’s content.
sMeet currently has 1m registered accounts.
What do kids want to do?
sMeet launched in the end of 2006 and is currently
live and open to the public. On sMeet users can watch Companies targeting kids and tweens across many
videos, listen to the radio, test their knowledge in diﬀerent sectors have opportunities in virtual worlds.
quizzes and meet new friends. Users can also take part
in ‘Meet & Greets’ with celebrities and talk on the But before one starts to think about potential
telephone. strategies it’s extremely important to understand how
kids and tweens use virtual worlds and other social
Taken from the sMeet website: networking environments.
“sMeet combines virtual 3D environments with live Firstly, kids are web-savvy, in many instances more
communications and entertainment functionality into than adults. A recent Ofcom report (April 2008)
an innovative mixture, creating a world of rich suggested that a quarter of eight to 11 year olds have
experiences for you and your friends (social network). a proﬁle on a social network.
The focus is on social interaction between you and your
group of friends, where the way you communicate and And whilst these environments are not strictly
the creativity with which you design your “avatar” play speaking virtual worlds, this is an indication into the
central roles.” future direction of kids activities online.
The Market Research Director at Ofcom stated:
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 23
"Social networks are clearly a very important part of • Social climbers: Competitive and outward
people's lives and are having an impact on how people children focussed on their social position in the
live their lives. Children's lives are very diﬀerent from environment. Slight bias towards boys.
what they were 20 years ago. Social networks are a
way of creating a social bond." • Collector-consumers: Interested in acquiring
and accumulating virtual items and rewards with
So what types of activities do kids want to do in a perceived value. Likely to be older children.
• Self-stampers: Identity-driven show-offs
First and foremost, they are social chat environments. wanting to make their mark. Likely to be older
Kids use virtual worlds to chat with their friends and children.
make new ones.
• Fighters: Interested in death, violence and
They also like to play games. Websites such as destruction. Likely to be older boys.
Miniclips with over 24m registered members have
proved that gaming is an extremely popular past- • Power users: Proposition advocates keen to
time. assist others by sharing their knowledge.
‘Relationship exploration’ is also popular. By this, it • Nurturers: Interested in looking after their avatar
means giving kids something (a pet for example) to and pet (if applicable). Likely to be younger boys
look after. Building on his theme, kids and tween and girls, plus older girls.
worlds are also popular when the residents can
experiment with dressing up (avatar customisation).
So, in summary, kids and tweens like to play, chat,
experiment and look after things. • Life-system builders: Creatively-driven children
interested in creating new objects, items and
Types of player/member environments. Likely to be younger children.
A research study carried out by the BBC from Dec 07 to This research provides good insight and therefore
Jan 08 investigated how children interacted and guidance for marketers considering virtual entrance as
engaged with a virtual world in development. well as the positioning of worlds in development.
This study identiﬁed the following eight types of The options for marketers
Bearing in mind the key activities detailed above,
• Explorer-investigators: Confident and curious marketers considering entrance into a virtual world
children driven by quests and challenges. need to understand how their brand or product can be
placed alongside these activities.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 24
Being able to create educational environments is also
This might take the form of providing features or showing early signs of being extremely popular.
‘gadgets’ in-world that give the residents a service or
experience not currently available. Kids and tweens do not overtly want to be ‘taught’
during their spare time but if education can be
As shown in the following sections, providing clothing transformed into a fun experience then engagement is
and accessories for avatars is also a popular strategy far higher.
for both brands and the residents.
The following sections provide examples of how the
Drawing on and leveraging real world assets is also ﬁrst wave of brands in kids and tween worlds are
worth considering. This can take several forms. creating new relationships with their target markets.
Firstly, many real world companies have extremely Making education fun
strong brands in the real world. Being able to leverage Several companies and brands have experimented
these brands and associated values and features could with using virtual worlds as a way to provide
lead to successful campaigns. A great example of this educational experiences for kids and tweens.
is the upcoming Lego Universe platform. Furthermore, K Zero predicts further growth during
2009 for educational applications in virtual worlds.
Being able to tie in to media assets such as ﬁlms and
TV product is also a strategy worth investigating. The ﬁrst example here is from Bankinter, the ﬁfth
largest bank in Spain. Bankinter opened a virtual bank
branch in Whyville to teach children about the basics
of ﬁnance in August 2007.
Being able to create virtual environments or at the
very least virtual items facilitates the building of
virtual groups and associations online full of kids and
tweens. These can be developed as an extension of the
Bringing real-world events into the virtual world can
also work. This is typically known as ‘Simulcasting’ Commenting on the Bankinter project, a Bankinter
when a virtual version of a live event is broadcasted. General Manager) stated:
This has the primary beneﬁt of bringing kids and “Opening a virtual bank in Whyville is absolutely a
tweens closer to something they may not be able to natural for our bank whose fundamental approach to
experience in the real-world. business is based on the education of our customers.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 25
The ﬁnancial services currently available in our branch
in Whyville are just the ﬁrst step in establishing a “Whyville Scion Solutions is a perfect example of
thoroughly modern and diverse set of ﬁnancial services motivated, engaged learning. The Scions are a huge hit
and instruments for Whyville’s citizens.” with our kids. They want cars! But most citizens just
don’t have enough clams.
We’ve set up the motivation for them to learn what it
means to take out a loan. They’ll learn about interest
rates, down payment, credit history, and, perhaps most
important of all,being responsible. If you default on
your loan, you’ll lose your car, and your credit history
Proving that this initiative resonated with the
Whyvillians, 25% of the entire world currency, the will be ruined so that you can’t take out another loan.
Clam, was deposited into the bank in the form of saving
accounts or certiﬁcates of deposits (CoD’s) within three Educators and researchers know that students learn
months of the campaign launch. best when they really care about the topic. That’s
exactly what we try to do in Whyville.”
On a related theme, Toyota Financial Services (TFS)
has also deployed a ﬁnance-related initiative in Speciﬁcally, this campaign involved the creation of the
Whyville with their ‘Scion Solutions’ project in October Scion Solutions Oﬃce with the presence of a Loans
2006. Advisor on-hand to explain the various aspects of
This campaign was a follow-up eﬀort to Toyota’s ﬁrst
foray into Whyville with their virtual Scion brand, the
xB. The virtual car proved to be very popular with Why We anticipate educational and learning-based virtual
residents but not all of them could aﬀord to purchase worlds to be a growth area in late 2009. In particular,
them. the ﬁeld of peer-to-peer learning presents some
The demand to accessorize
A trend seen across all virtual worlds, regardless of the
targeted age range is the demand by people to
customise their avatars.
Just as in the real world, ‘virtual people’ want to dress
Commenting on the campaign, the President of up their avatars to express their personalities. As a
Numedeon Inc said: result, all virtual worlds oﬀer the functionality to
change hair styles/colours, skin types and clothing.
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 26
Contact lens company Acuvue has also placed their
brand into a virtual world opting to go into There.
This campaign was an element within a project
initiated by CosmoGIRL magazine.
CG teamed up with ABC’ America’s ‘Prom Queen’ show
to host a virtual prom.
For real-world brand owners in the clothing, fashion Residents of There were able to visit the venue and
and accessory sectors, this presents a massive purchase virtual contact lens to accessories their
opportunity to only present their brands into the kids avatars.
and tween marketplaces but also generate brand-new
revenue streams derived from micropayments. Further support here was provided with events and
There are several brands already immersed into virtual
avatar customisation, with Stardoll being a prominent Simulcasting and events
metaverse facilitating it. In 2007, Turner Broadcasting Services (TBS) signed an
agreement with virtual world Kaneva to being their
Within Stardoll there’s an area called ‘Starplaza’ - think media content in-world.
of it as a virtual shopping mall. Several brands have Under this agreement, one of the ﬁrst activities was
shops inside Starplaza and sell virtual versions of real augmented into the 2008 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
world clothes and other items.
Taking place in LA, the awards show broadcasted in
Two examples are DKNY and Sephora. Both virtual real-time the footage from the red carpet into a
stores have designs based on real world stores and speciﬁcally-designed venue in Kaneva. This allowed
show clothes on mannequins. The Group Managing residents to watch the action as it happened.
Director of LVMH (parent company of Sephora)
commented: Taken from the press release:
“The millions of members of the Stardoll community are “In addition to watching the Screen Actors Guild
a group of great relevance to the future of our brands Awards Red Carpet Pre-Show at tbs.com and tnt.tv,
and it is exciting to be able to interact with them in their fans worldwide can now walk the SAG red carpet inside
space. In bringing the exceptional style and oﬀerings of the 3D virtual world of Kaneva.
DKNY and Sephora to Stardoll, we hope to further
enhance the experience for their members and to gain Set to take place in the 3D TNT backlot inside Kaneva,
valuable insight into the virtual world that will beneﬁt the event will allow fans to create and dress their
our brands and our current and future customers,” avatars in high fashion, walk the carpet, watch live
interviews of the hottest celebrities on the Hollywood
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 27
red carpet on multiple in-world screens, mingle and They have taken several of their shows and re-created
chat with friends and even participate in a red carpet the environments virtually, allowing residents to
photo shoot.” explore these venues and socialise with other fans in
the same place at the same time.
This particular strategy may well evolve into a genuine
revenue opportunity for brand owners. The ﬂagship venue in vMTV is Virtual Laguna Beach.
Taken from the launch press release:
As the concept of event re-creation and simulcasting
gathers pace and popularity, it could be possible to "Viewers can hang out at the beach or shop at the local
actually charge a ‘virtual entrance fee’ to attend these surf store and interact with one another in ways that
events. mirror the on-air program," a press release from MTV
Networks touted. "Just as the cast gears up for the
What’s really exciting in this instance is the possibility winter formal, so too can viewers within 'Virtual Laguna
for unlimited numbers of people to attend the events. Beach' prepare for the big night, ﬁnd a date online and
select the tux or prom dress for their onscreen identity."
Extending the relationship
The point here is that being able to shift viewers from
Many people say that kids live in ‘their own personal passive viewing into an interactive environment
worlds’ most of the time anyway! means they spend more time ‘engaged’ with a brand.
With the advent of virtual worlds, this concept can And time is the key factor here. Spending time with a
actually be taken to the next stage by creating brand means you create a sense of association with it
environments based on real world places and/or - a relationship between two entities.
ﬁctional places shown on TV or in ﬁlm.
And, by this relationship being ‘fed’ by virtual context
and interaction, one has to assume that the individual
vMTV is probably the pioneer of extending the
then becomes more likely to watch the program the
relationship between viewers and programs with their
next time it’s on.
suite of virtual worlds.
So, think of virtual worlds as a technique of driving
return viewing audiences and extending the program
relationship, if done correctly of course.
There’s also a sense of inclusion related to being able
to walk around a location you would normally only
experience by watching the program - it brings you
closer to the content.
Another upside is the opportunity to introduce third-
party brands into an already branded space. Laguna
Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 28