New Report on Virtual Worlds Lists 7 Must-Have Features for Kids

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Interactive Agency Helps Marketers to Design Effective Online Worlds. Of the 35 million online kids in the US, one in four spend significant time in virtual worlds. A new report from interFUEL draws from the hands-on experience of this interactive agency which has created virtual worlds and online content for Shining Stars, Nickelodeon, MTV and Sesame Street.

Interactive agency interFUEL has released a special report that describes seven features any virtual world must have to attract kids, tweens, and teens.

Today's kids are growing up with virtual worlds, where visitors control an on-screen avatar to interact with others, chatting, creating, or shopping at will. Companies like Disney, Lego, and Mattel --- as well as unknown startups --- are pouring millions of dollars into these online worlds. These worlds promise to draw big crowds and extend brand loyalty.

And kids love them. In fact, about 1 in 4 of about 35 million online kids in the US go to virtual worlds often. This number is expected to climb to 1 in 3 in 2008, and 1 in 2 by 2011, according to a recent report from research firm eMarketer.

Google says two of the fastest-rising search terms for 2007 were for the online worlds Webkinz and Club Penguin. All this points to what the New York Times recently called "a virtual gold rush."

But any company trying to reach a younger audience through this new type of social network faces many pitfalls. A poor user experience can actually damage a brand if it bores its visitors.

The new report from interFUEL draws from the hands-on experience of this interactive agency which has created virtual worlds and online content for Shining Stars, Nickelodeon, MTV and Sesame Street. It pinpoints seven must-have features for a virtual world that will truly engage kids, tweens, and teens:

  • Mom's approval, since the ultimate decision to admit a child rests with the parents.
  • Safety, under the law, and in the eyes of parents and children.
  • Fun, fun, fun!
  • Fresh content, so that visiting the world becomes part of a child's routine.
  • Ways to connect and socialize with other kids.
  • A feeling of control over the child's appearance, personal space, and resources.
  • Means to encourage self-expression.

This report describes each of these must-have features in detail, with examples from half a dozen worlds now online. It also describes four business models for operating any virtual world.

Interested online marketing professionals may request the report from http://www.interfuel.com/specialreport.

For more information, the full report, or screen shots of online worlds, contact:
David Holifield, President, interFUEL
Office: (805) 642-2200 Pacific Time
Cell: (805) 890-8941 Pacific Time
http://www.interfuel.com

About the Company
interFUEL is an award winning interactive agency specializing in web and application development and interactive design. The company develops websites, enterprise web-based applications, and online entertainment and education for the youth market. Founded in 1995, the California-based company is headquartered in Ventura and operates additional offices in New York and Chicago. interFUEL is privately held, and among its clients are Bratz, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Warner Brothers.

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David Holifield
interFUEL
(805) 642-2200
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Mel Bergman
interFUEL
(805) 642-2200
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