Posts Tagged 'MMO'

“Three Virtual Worlds from Europe Worth Watching”

There is a big hype in the US around Virtual Worlds. Virtual Worlds Companies Funded from October 2006 to October 2007 include Club Penguin (acquired by Disney), Doppelganger (ventured by Greycroft Partners and Charles River Ventures and Prism), Double Fusion (Norwest Venture Partners, Time Warner, Accel), Electric Sheep Company (Gladwyne Partners and CBS), Emergent (Jerusalem Venture Partners, Worldview Technology Partners, Adena Ventures, Walker Ventures, Copan, and Cisco Systems), Gaia (Benchmark and Redpoint), HiPiHi (NGI Group), K2 Network (Intel Capital), Media Machines (Mohr Davidow Ventures), Network Game Interaction (GSR Ventures), Media Machines (Mohr Davidow Ventures), Trion World Network (Canyon Partners, Time Warner, GE/NBC Universal’s Peacock Equity Fund, and Bertelsmann Digital Media), Winking (NIF SMBC Ventures Asia). According to Virtual Worlds Management $1 billion has been invested in 35 virtual worlds companies since last October.I strongly believe it’s hard for non-European companies to enter the European virtual world market, based on diversity of cultures.

But what (else) is going on in Europe? What could be next bigger deals there? Beside Sulake (finish) with HABBO Hotel, what’s hot? Here you are:

clipped from gigaom.com
Even across the Atlantic, you get the same sense of a mini dot com boom in virtual worlds, and the explosion of start-ups mainly looking to capitalize on the success of Second Life on the one hand (3D, open-ended spaces for adults) or Habbo Hotel (2D, controlled environments for kids) on the other– either as would-be competitor, middleware technology provider, or third-party marketing/services firm serving the existing market.Since it’s based in Europe, however, the VWF gave me a chance to glimpse promising, EU-centric MMOs that will probably take extra time to reach the States:– MoiPal: Tamagotchi-esque MMO for cellphones There’s been a relative dearth of virtual worlds centered around mobile phone networks, surprisingly enough, but MoiPal from Finland’s Iron Star Helsinki is looking to fill that opening. Founder Joakim Achren gave a quick tour of MoiPal on one of my panels: basically, you create and foster an avatar who exists in your phone, and you send it out to accomplish tasks and interact with other avatars while you’re offline, then check updates at the game’s website– a clever integration of mobile functionality with asynchronous play.– Papermint: MMO for hip girlsFrom Austrian-based Avaloop, Papermint is now being localized to English, offering a social world that’s been visualized with a quirky, hip flair. (Think Zwinky for cool kids and thanks to its look, perhaps an even larger fanbase of older players.) It was presented at VWF by lead artist Dr. Barbara Lippe, who with her cerebral background, pixie looks, and blue hair, I’m hereby dubbing the Bjork of the virtual world industry.– Moshi Monsters: The next Webkinz-ish breakout?

I was also impressed by Moshi Monsters, from the London studio behind last year’s innovative alternative reality game Perplex City. Like Webkinz, the kid-focused MMO that counts nearly 4 million active users, you own a physical analog of a virtual pet, but Moshi Monsters seems to come with more customized controls and functionality, and the ugly-cute creatures will probably attract a larger and slightly older crossover market of boys and girls.

There were many other virtual worlds/MMOs I missed, and other tech demos I’ll probably feature in future writing. As is often the case, indefatigably great game blogger Alice Taylor also has an imminently readable report from the scene.

Image credit: MoshiMonsters.com. Disclosure: I was a partly-sponsored moderator for the VWF– given the gut-punchingly bad exchange rate of the US$ to the British pound nowadays, emphasis on “partly”.

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papermint

Papermint.com link …fortunately Papermint is part of the i5invest portfolio.



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