Reading Time: 3 minutesPart of growing up is leaving the trappings of childhood behind (see, Christopher Robin) and moving on to the interests beyond the pale, for instance, MMO gaming for Tweens. It happens.
Welcome to Woozworld, which claims to be the hottest virtual world for kids today, and with 13 million registered users it’s hard to argue the point. Woozworld empowers kids’ creativity and social skills while playing with others, entering contests, and all the fun of the Internets! The Tweens will love it.
According to Woozworld, the game and avatar-based social network is built upon “a convergence of several trends: the evolution of gaming from a solitary activity to a social one, the continuing popularity of social networking and a growing interest in three-dimensional Web. Woozworld is a place where Tweens and their parents can feel free and safe, where they can explore and experience, go on quests, play, build, learn and share.”
Tweens are welcomed into Woozworld and after picking their avatar they can start creating Unitz, which are the spaces players design to show their interests and personality, and then visited by others in the Wooz—Woozworld started with 50 virtual spaces, today they have over 30 million!
According to Woozworld: “Woozworld has acknowledged the fact that kids have changed the way they play, both online and off, so they’ve changed how they play with kids.”
What makes Woozworld different?
“Compared to other online sites that mostly feature licensed games or episodes of their latest TV shows, Woozworld lets kids create their own world. Once the creating is complete kids invite their friends to check it out, which leads to the real differentiator for Woozworld.com.
“As the first and only virtual world that began on the web and is now making the transition to mobile via a platform agnostic game, the complete Woozworld experience will be available in “Unity” whether kids are on a PC/Mac at home, their smart phones, on the way to school or on a tablet heading to grandma’s house. To be clear, “unity” is being defined in which no matter what platform (laptop, phone, tablet) a Tween is using they’ll be able to bounce from one to the next and pick up their place in Woozworld where they left off the day before.”
It really is a fun concept, and it is free to join (there is a charge for some aspects of the game), but be warned that some of the cool factor they provide–for instance, Woozworld works with real music labels to provide kids with new music–has a very serious purpose on the business side. By introducing kids to new bands and/or songs they are utilizing the players “as a pseudo focus group for bands prior to the release of their next album, or even a new band that’s about to be launched.”
Kids are also used as a focus group in helping to develop an online play and physical toy combination known as the Intergalactic Wrestling Association.
From Woozworld: “Simply put, this [the Intergalactic Wrestling Association] will be the first game ever released where Tweens have input in the actual details and experiences. As the game is in development Tweens will be able to vote on characteristics from names and personalities to accessories and uniforms and so much more. For the first time ever, this is truly a game created by Tweens, for Tweens and will be available beginning this Fall.”
The focus group aspect is both an ingenious way to tap directly into the demographic that the products (music label, wrestling association) target, but, in my humble opinion, is also a bit hypocritical in regard to Woozworld‘s stance that the competition in kid MMO gaming relies too heavily on licensed products—at least those products were made for the kids, not by them without any financial reciprocation.
But that’s business for you.
The bottom line is that Woozworld provides a fun, safe, and engaging environment for Tweens that have aged out of the gaming and social networks aimed at a younger audience, but aren’t ready for the Facebooks and World of Warcrafts of the world. That’s a space that needs to be filled, and Woozworld does it.